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Ivermectin Prophylaxis Used for COVID-19 Reduces COVID-19 Infection and Mortality Rates: A City-Wide, Prospective Observational Study of 223,128 Subjects Using Propensity Score Matching.

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Abstract

Updated manuscript: In January 8, 2022, we posted an updated version of our manuscript, with a few corrections. The most relevant correction was the analysis of the COVID-19 infection rates among ivermectin users and non-users. Third-party, independent analysis was performed on the two datasets used for the present analysis. The detailed description of the employment of the data used is illustrated in Figure 1 of the main manuscript. We also updated the Supplement Appendix 1 in the same date. Changes are highlighted in bold for an easier visualization. || Abstract. Background: Ivermectin has demonstrated different mechanisms of action that potentially protect from both COVID-19 infection and COVID-19-related comorbidities. Based on the studies suggesting efficacy in prophylaxis combined with the known safety profile of ivermectin, a citywide prevention program using ivermectin for COVID-19 was implemented in Itajai, a Southern city in Brazil in the state of Santa Catarina. The objective of this study was to evaluate the impact of regular ivermectin use on subsequent COVID-19 infection and mortality rates. Materials and methods: We analyzed data from a prospective, observational study of the citywide COVID-19 prevention with ivermectin program which occurred between July 2020 to December of 2020 in Itajaí, Brazil. Study design, institutional review board approval, and analysis of registry data occurred after completion of the program. The program consisted of inviting the entire population of Itajaí to a medical visit in order to enroll in the program and to compile baseline, personal, demographic and medical information. In the absence of contraindications, ivermectin was offered as an optional treatment to be taken 2 consecutive days every 15 days at a dose of 0.2mg/kg/day. In cases where a participating citizen of Itajai became ill with COVID-19, they were recommended to not use ivermectin or any other medication in early outpatient treatment. Clinical outcomes of infection, hospitalization, and death were automatically reported and entered into the registry in real time. Study analysis consisted of comparing ivermectin users with non-users using cohorts of infected patients propensity score matched (PSM) by age, sex, and comorbidities. COVID-19 infection and mortality rates were analyzed with and without use of propensity score matching. Results: Of the 223,128 citizens of Itajaí considered for the study, a total of 159,561 subjects were included in the analysis; 113,845 (71.3%) regular ivermectin users and 45,716 (23.3%) non-users. Of these, 4,311 ivermectin users were infected, among which 4,194 from the city of Itajaí (3.7% infection rate) and 3,034 non-users (from Itajaí) were infected (6.6% infection rate), a 44% reduction in COVID-19 infection rate (Risk ratio (RR), 0.56; 95% confidence interval (95%CI), 0.53 – 0.58; p < 0.0001). Using PSM, two cohorts of 3,034 subjects suffering COVID-19 infection were compared. The regular use of ivermectin led to a 68% reduction in COVID-19 mortality [25 (0.8%) versus 79 (2.6%) among ivermectin non-users; risk ratio (RR), 0.32; 95% confidence interval (CI), 0.20 – 0.49; p < 0.0001]. When adjusted for residual variables, reduction in mortality rate was 70% (RR, 0.30; 95%CI 0.19 – 0.46; p < 0.0001). There was a 56% reduction in hospitalization rate (44 versus 99 hospitalizations among ivermectin users and non-users, respectively; RR, 0.44; 95%CI, 0.31 – 0.63; p < 0.0001). After adjustment for residual variables, reduction in hospitalization rate was 67% (RR, 0.33; 95%CI 023 – 0.66; p < 0.0001). Conclusion: In this large, propensity score matched study, regular use of ivermectin as a prophylactic agent was associated with significantly reduced COVID-19 infection, hospitalization, and mortality rates.
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Ivermectin Prophylaxis Used for COVID-19 Reduces COVID-19 Infection and
1
Mortality Rates: A City-Wide, Prospective Observational Study of 223,128
2
Subjects Using Propensity Score Matching.
3
4
Lucy Kerr, MD, ARDMS1, Flavio A. Cadegiani, MD, MSc, PhD2,3, Fernando Baldi,
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PhD4, Raysildo Barbosa Lôbo, PhD5, Washington Luiz Olivato Assagra6, Fernando Carlos
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Proença7, Pierre Kory, MD, MPA3, Jennifer A. Hibberd, DDS, DPD, MRCDC8, Juan J
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Chamie-Quintero9
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1Instituto Kerr de Ensino e Pesquisa, São Paulo, Brazil
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2Corpometria Institute, Brasilia, Brazil
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3Front-Line Covid-19 Critical Care Alliance (FLCCC), USA
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4Department of Animal Sciences, State University of São Paulo, São Paulo, Brazil
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5Department of Genetics, Ribeirão Preto Medical School, University of São Paulo, Ribeirão
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Preto, Brazil.
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6Centro Técnico de Avaliação Genômica C.T.A.G, Ribeirão Preto, Brazil
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7Itajaí City Hall, Itajaí, Brazil
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8University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada
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9Data Analysis, Universidad EAFIT, Cambridge, USA
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*Corresponding author:
21
Flávio A. Cadegiani, MD, MSc, PhD
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Corpometria Institute
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SGAS 915 Centro Clínico Advance, Rooms 260/262/264, Brasília, DF, Brazil
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f.cadegiani@gmail.com, flavio.cadegiani@unifesp.br, flavio@flccc.net
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+55 61 981.395.395
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Key-words: COVID-19, SARS-CoV-2, ivermectin, prophylaxis, prevention,
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coronavirus
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Acromyums: COPD = Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease; CVD = cardiovascular
32
disease; MI = Myocardial infarction; T2D = Type 2 Diabetes
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2
Abstract
41
42
Background: Ivermectin has demonstrated different mechanisms of action that
43
potentially protect from both COVID-19 infection and COVID-19-related comorbidities.
44
Based on the studies suggesting efficacy in prophylaxis combined with the known safety
45
profile of ivermectin, a citywide prevention program using ivermectin for COVID-19 was
46
implemented in Itajai, a Southern city in Brazil in the state of Santa Catarina. The
47
objective of this study was to evaluate the impact of regular ivermectin use on subsequent
48
COVID-19 infection and mortality rates.
49
Materials and methods: We analyzed data from a prospective, observational study of
50
the citywide COVID-19 prevention with ivermectin program which occurred between
51
July 2020 to December of 2020 in Itajaí, Brazil. Study design, institutional review board
52
approval, and analysis of registry data occurred after completion of the program. The
53
program consisted of inviting the entire population of Itajaí to a medical visit in order to
54
enroll in the program and to compile baseline, personal, demographic and medical
55
information. In the absence of contraindications, ivermectin was offered as an optional
56
treatment to be taken 2 consecutive days every 15 days at a dose of 0.2mg/kg/day. In
57
cases where a participating citizen of Itajai became ill with COVID-19, they were
58
recommended to not use ivermectin or any other medication in early outpatient treatment.
59
Clinical outcomes of infection, hospitalization, and death were automatically reported
60
and entered into the registry in real time. Study analysis consisted of comparing
61
ivermectin users with non-users using cohorts of infected patients propensity score
62
matched (PSM) by age, sex, and comorbidities. COVID-19 infection and mortality rates
63
were analyzed with and without use of propensity score matching.
64
Results: Of the 223,128 citizens of Itajaí considered for the study, a total of 159,561
65
subjects were included in the analysis; 113,845 (71.3%) regular ivermectin users and
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45,716 (23.3%) non-users. Of these, 4,311 ivermectin users were infected, among
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which 4,197 from the city of Itajaí (3.7% infection rate) and 3,034 non-users (from
68
Itajaí) were infected (6.6% infection rate), a 44% reduction in COVID-19 infection
69
rate (Risk ratio (RR), 0.56; 95% confidence interval (95%CI), 0.53 – 0.58; p <
70
0.0001). Using PSM, two cohorts of 3,034 subjects suffering COVID-19 infection were
71
compared. The regular use of ivermectin led to a 68% reduction in COVID-19 mortality
72
[25 (0.8%) versus 79 (2.6%) among ivermectin non-users; risk ratio (RR), 0.32; 95%
73
confidence interval (CI), 0.20 – 0.49; p < 0.0001]. When adjusted for residual variables,
74
3
reduction in mortality rate was 70% (RR, 0.30; 95%CI 0.19 – 0.46; p < 0.0001). There
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was a 56% reduction in hospitalization rate (44 versus 99 hospitalizations among
76
ivermectin users and non-users, respectively; RR, 0.44; 95%CI, 0.31 – 0.63; p < 0.0001).
77
After adjustment for residual variables, reduction in hospitalization rate was 67% (RR,
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0.33; 95%CI 023 – 0.66; p < 0.0001).
79
Conclusion: In this large, propensity score matched study, regular use of ivermectin as a
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prophylactic agent was associated with significantly reduced COVID-19 infection,
81
hospitalization, and mortality rates.
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Introduction
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Ivermectin has been demonstrated to have not only extensive anti-parasitic actions1,2, but
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alsoanti-viral, anti-bacterial, and anti-protozoan properties. Ivermectin has been long
112
proposed for use as a repurposed antiviral agent4-6. Indeed, antiviral effects of ivermectin
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have been reported against both RNA and DNA types of viruses, including HIV-1,
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Yellow fever (YFV), Japanese encephalitis, tick-borne encephalitis, West Nile, Zika
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(ZKV), Dengue fever, Chikungunya (CHIKV), Venezuelan equine encephalitis and the
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Pseudorabies virus3,5,7, as well as functioning in regulation of proteins involved in
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antiviral responses8.
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Additional actions of ivermectin described include agonism activity to the X-LBD
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binding receptor (FXR), with multiple potential metabolic benefits9,10; neuronal
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regeneration11,12, prevention of muscle hypoxia13, anti-inflammatory activity to
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Interferon (INF)14, nuclear factor-κB (NF-κB), lipopolysaccharide (LPS)15 and JAK-
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STAT pathway, PAI-116,17; generation of P21 activated Kinase 1 (PAK-1)18,19; reduction
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of Interleukin-6 (IL-6) levels15; allosteric modulation of P2X4 receptor20; inhibition of
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high mobility group box 1 (HMGB1)21,22; suppression of mucus hypersecretion,
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diminished recruitment of immune cells and production of cytokines in the lung23.
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ivermectin is also described to induce Th1-type immune response against protozoans24,
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and anti-coagulant action through binding to the S protein of some viruses25.
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The hypothesis that ivermectin could be protective against COVID-19 is
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substantiated by its multi-pathway, anti-inflammatory effects15,26 and multi-antiviral
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mechanisms. COVID-19 pathogenesis is largely understood as an inflammation-mediated
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hemagglutinating infection disrupting pulmonary, vascular and endothelial systems,
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leading to a multi-systemic disease. In vitro and in-silico, ivermectin has demonstrated
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anti-SARS-CoV-2 activity through more than 20 direct and indirect mechanisms2,27,28.
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Ivermectin has demonstrated preliminary protective effects against SARS-CoV-2
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infection in terms of reducing times to clinical recovery, rates of disease progression and
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mortality2,29,30. However, more robust studies with larger sample sizes are still
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5
recommended to confirm the possible beneficial effects ivermectin confers in COVID-
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19.
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Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the use of inexpensive options based
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on a consistently beneficial signal of efficacy, a well-established safety profile,
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favourable cost-effectiveness, ivermectin is a highly attractive intervention for the patient
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centred medicine practiced by frontline clinicians, with use aligning strongly with the
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bioethical principles for medical practice outlined in Article 36 of the Helsinki
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declaration31.
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However, despite this favorable risk/benefit profile and absense of therapeutic
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alternatives, ivermectin has yet to be approved for prophylaxis and treatment of COVID-
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19 by agencies throughout the world, including FDA (Food & Drug Administration;
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United States of America), EUA (European Medicines Agency; Europe) and ANVISA
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(Agência Nacional de Vigilância Sanitária – Brazilian Health Regulatory Agency;
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Brazil).
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The ability to prescribe ivermectin or any other off-label drug for COVID-19 has
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long been at the discretion of frontline physicians once all risks, uncertainties, potential
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benefits, and patients’ rights are exposed, and informed consent has been obtained. Of
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particular note, in Brazil, this follows the medical autonomy to determine the best
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therapeutic strategies for individuals, as per the Medical Code of Ethics of the Brazilian
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Board of Medical Doctors; the Federal Council of Medicine Conselho Federal de
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Medicina (CFM), that determines the obligations and rights of medical doctors in
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Brazil32.
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Since vaccines for COVID-19 were not available in Brazil until 2,021, and the
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lack of prophylactic alternatives in the absence of vaccines, Itajai, a city in the
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Southern Brazilian state of Santa Catarina, initiated a population wide government
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program for COVID-19 prophylaxis. The medical-focused decision parameters
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established are based on the distribution of ivermectin to whole populations in different
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countries. To ensure the safety of the population, a well-controlled computer program
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was developed to compile and maintain all relevant demographic and clinical data. The
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use of ivermectin was optional and based on patients’ preferences given its benefits as a
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preventative agent was unproven.
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This study’s objective is to assess the impact on important clincal outcomes when
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ivermectin is used as prophylaxis for COVID-19. The prophylaxis program occurred in
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addition to the standard non-pharmacological strategies of masking and social distancing,
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as part of a citywide program conducted in outpatient settings.
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Material and Methods
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Study population
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This was a prospective, observational study. Although study design, IRB approval, and
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data analysis occurred after completion of the voluntary prophylaxis program, all data
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were collected prospectively in real-time with mandated reporting to the registry of all
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events as they occurred during the citywide governmental COVID-19 prevention with
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ivermectin program, from July 2020 to December 2020, developed in the city of Itajaí, in
191
the state of Santa Catarina, Brazil. Demographic and clinical data was reported from
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medical records of patients followed in a large outpatient setting; a provisional outpatient
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clinic set in the Convention Center of Itajaí, and several secondary outpatient settings, as
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part of the Universal Health System (SUS).
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The objective was to determine the number of patients affected by COVID-19
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(positivity rate of rtPCR-SARS-CoV-2), risk of death due to COVID-19 (whether
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infected or not), and COVID-19 mortality rate (risk of death from COVID-19) of those
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who used and did not use ivermectin prophylactically for COVID-19. This data was
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analyzed stratified by age, sex, presence of comorbidities, and correlated demographic
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characteristics.
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The present retrospective analysis of the prospectively collected data was
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approved by the CONEP - National Research Ethics Council (CONEP) under the number
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4.821.082 with the project number CAAE: 47124221.2.0000.5485. Although study
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design, IRB approval, and data analysis occurred after completion of the voluntary
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7
prophylaxis program, all data were collected prospectively in real-time with mandated
208
reporting to the registry of all events as they occurred during the citywide governmental
209
COVID-19 prevention with ivermectin program, from July 7, 2020 to December 2,
210
2020, developed in the city of Itajaí, in the state of Santa Catarina, Brazil.
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Study procedures and data collection
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Optional, voluntary prophylactic use of ivermectin was offered to patients during regular
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medical visits between July 7, 2020 and December 31, 2020 in 35 different sites,
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including 34 local SUS health centres and a large temporary patient setting. Doctors
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working in these sites were free to prescribe ivermectin prophylactically. Subjects that
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did not use ivermectin either refused or their primary care physicians opted not to offer
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ivermectin.
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The program was conducted in all 35 sites, 24/7, with the initial enrollment in the
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program occurring during a two-week time frame, due to the large number of subjects to
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evaluate in the entire population of Itajaí. In order to avoid underreported data, strict
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procedure sequencing was followed: 1. Registration and recording of patient data,
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documented by assistants; 2. Weighing subjects (Subject weight was essential to calculate
227
the appropriate dose of ivermectin); 3. Brief medical evaluation of past medical history,
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comorbidities, use of medications and contraindications to drugs; 4. Medical prescription
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of prophylactic doses of ivermectin, according to medical judgment and following a
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subject’s informed consent related to potential benefits, risks, and side effects. Regarding
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drug interactions with ivermectin, use of warfarin was a contra-indication for
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prophylaxis with ivermectin due to drug interactions. Subjects under chronic use of
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glucocorticoids, protease inhibitors and anti-epileptics were recommended to
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schedule regular medical visits every six to eight weeks. Subjects were recommended
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to inform medical doctors about the use of ivermectin, in case one or more of the
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following medications were prescribed: warfarin, azithromycin, dexamethasone,
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prednisone or prednisolone (Hydrocortisone or cortisone are not commercially
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available in regular pharmacies in Brazil).
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All details of this citywide program and campaign had been previously agreed
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upon between the city local department of the National Healthcare System (SUS), city
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mayor, and local public prosecutors.
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The following data were analyzed, adjusted as confounding factors, and used as
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variables for balancing and matching groups for the employment of propensity score
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matching (PSM) in the present study: age, sex, past medical history, previous diseases;
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myocardial infarction (MI), stroke: existing comorbidities; type 2 diabetes (T2D), asthma,
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chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), hypertension, dyslipidemia,
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cardiovascular diseases (CVD), cancer (any type), and other pulmonary diseases: habits
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(past or current smoking). Additional data analyzed included self-reported comorbidities
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and medications used.
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Patients who presented signs or the diagnosis of COVID-19 before July 7, 2020,
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were excluded from the sample. Other exclusion criteria were contraindications to
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ivermectin and subjects below 18 years of age. The dose and frequency of ivermectin
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treatment was 0.2mg/kg/day; i.e., giving one 6mg-tablet for every 30kg. for 2 consecutive
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days every 15 days.
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During the study, subjects who became infected with COVID-19 were diagnosed
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with a positive rtPCR-SARS-CoV-2 and then underwent a specific medical visit to assess
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COVID-19 clinical manifestations and severity. All subjects were recommended not to
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use ivermectin, nitazoxanide, hydroxychloroquine, spironolactone or any other drug
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claimed to be effective against COVID-19. The city did not provide or support any
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specific pharmacological outpatient treatment for subjects infected with COVID-19.
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They were questioned for the presence of common COVID-19 symptoms. These
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included chills, high-grade fever, cough, myalgia, fatigue, anosmia, ageusia, sore throat,
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headache, nasal congestion, sneeze, runny nose, hemoptysis, nauseas, vomiting,
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abdominal pain, diarrhea, cutaneous rash, arthralgia, chest pain, eye pain and pinkeye,
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and presence of alert signs, including shortness of breath, signs of hypoxia, signs of
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coagulation abnormalities and an altered level of consciousness. Systolic and diastolic
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blood pressure, heart rate, respiratory rate, oxygen saturation, and axillar temperature
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were measured. The same signs and symptoms, and vital signs were collected at each
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following medical visit during COVID-19. Individual data was compiled and reviewed
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by the researchers.
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Registry data of all patient records from the city of Itajaí between July 7, 2020 and
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December 2, 2020, including those who used ivermectin and did not use ivermectin were
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reviewed. Subjects who tested positive for COVID-19 during the study were considered
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for this analysis, whether they used ivermectin or not. Of the infected subjects, two groups
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were considered: subjects who used ivermectin prophylactically (treated group) and
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subjects who did not use ivermectin prophylactically (untreated group). Any missing data
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from patients were actively searched by the investigators, via phone or in person. Since
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this is a citywide program, all recorded data must have matched the exact number of
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COVID-19 cases and deaths of the city. This strict interval avoids differences in terms of
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periods of exposure.
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Due to the uncertainty of reinfection with COVID-19, subjects with a history of
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previous COVID-19 did not participate in the program although they were still permitted
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to use ivermectin prophylactically. Limiting parameters of the government system
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allowed the recording of a first episode of COVID-19 infection only. Subjects below 18
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years old and subjects with diagnosis of COVID-19 before July 7, 2020 were
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excluded from all datasets and analysis.
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From the registry of the city population (223,128 inhabitants), subjects below
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18 years old (61,583 subjects) were removed. Of the 161,545 subjects above 18 y/o
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from the city of Itajaí, we removed the 1,984 COVID-19 cases that occurred before
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July 7, 2020, among subjects above 18 y/o, remaining 159,561 subjects. Subjects
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above 18 y/o were considered those who were born before June 30, 2002.
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A total of 147,223 subjects participated in the program of ivermectin
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prophylaxis used for COVID-19. Of these, 24,304 subjects were below 18 y/o. Of the
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122,919 ivermectin users above 18 y/o, 8,346 were from other cities, and 728 had
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COVID-19 before July 7, 2020, although they used ivermectin afterwards. In total,
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113,845 subjects that participated in the program remained in the dataset. The
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45,716 non-participants, remaining subjects among the 159,561 subjects were
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considered as the ivermectin non-users.
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Finally, city-wide COVID-19 hospitalization and mortality rates of Itajaí were
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compared between the period before the program (before July 7, 2020) and during the
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program between July 7, 2020 and December 2, 2020) aiming to evaluate whether a
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program of prophylaxis with ivermectin for COVID-19 would cause a positive impact in
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the overall numbers of the city, despite only partial adoption. Chances of dying from
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COVID-19 in the overall population, according to use or non-use of ivermectin
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(irrespective of COVID-19 infection) were only calculated prior to matching. Conversely,
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mortality rate, i.e., among those who were infected by the SARS-CoV-2, was calculated
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for both pre and post-matched cohorts. Analysis of hospitalization and mortality rates
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before matching, mortality rate in subpopulations among ivermectin users, among
319
ivermectin non-users, and mortality rate ratios between iveremctin users and non-users in
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subpopulations, before and after propensity score matching, and STROBE checklist are
321
presented in the Supplement Appendix 1.
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Statistical analysis
325
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The full underlying data for the present analysis was analyzed by two independent
327
statisticians, and discrepancies evalauted by a third statistics expert. In this outpatient
328
study of those who tested positive for SARS-CoV-2, mortality rate was evaluated
329
according to each parameter, that adjusted against other variables (for multivariate
330
regression analysis) and used for balancing and matching groups, including age intervals,
331
sex, history of smoking, prophylactic ivermectin use, T2D, asthma, COPD,
332
cardiovascular diseases and other pulmonary diseases, hypertension, current cancer (any
333
type), history of stroke and/or MI. Groups, baseline characteristics, and mortality rates
334
were presented before matching and after matching.
335
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Before matching, a generalized linear mixed model was employed, assuming the
337
binomial distribution for the residues and including the fixed classificatory effects of each
338
of these parameters. Age intervals were adjusted for the evaluation of ivermectin
339
prophylactic use as an independent predictor of death from COVID-19. Unadjusted and
340
multivariate Poisson- adjusted probabilities to survive from COVID-19 (p-value),
341
according to each parameter were provided.
342
11
343
PSM was performed for mortality risk between ivermectin and non-vermectin
344
users. COVID-19 infection rate and risk of dying were also calculated matching for
345
variables. After PSM, a second adjustment (‘double adjustment’) with multivariate linear
346
regression was performed for residual variables33,34.
347
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The statistical approach for missing data depended on the percentage of missing
349
data for each parameter. However, due to the registry system design mandating that all
350
data variables be filled to be formally included in the registry, only erroneously entered
351
(illogical) data were found. In such instances, medical record review was performed to
352
obtain the accurate data.
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The program used for the analysis was the Statistical Analysis Software
355
(SAS/STAT) (SAS Institute Inc., Care, North Carolina, USA).
356
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For transparency reasons, two datasets will be made public upon peer-
358
reviewed publication, of the 7,345 COVID-19 cases and of the 113,845 participating
359
subjects considered for the present analysis.
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Results
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Figure 1. Underlying data for the study on ivermectin prophylaxis used for COVID-19.
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365
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368
Population of Itajaí in 2020
Population above 18 y/o
COVID-19 cases
above 18 y/o until
July 7, 2020, among
ivermectin users that
started ivermectin
after July 7, 2020.
Ivermectin users
Other cities
IVERMECTIN PROPHYLAXIS FOR COVID-19
Ivermectin users from
Itajaí above 18 y/o
Below 18 y/o
Ivermectin users from Itajaí
above 18 y/o without
COVID-19 until July 7, 2020
Population of Itajaí above 18 y/o
without COVID-19 until July 7, 2020
223,128
161,545
COVID-19 cases until July 7, 2020
- Total = 2,611
- Above 18 y/o = 1,984
(161,545 1,984 =) 159,561
147,223
24,304
Ivermectin users above 18 y/o
122,919
8,346
114,573
113,845
728
Above
18 y/o
Ivermectin users + Ivermectin non-users
Ivermectin users
COVID-19 cases until July 7, 2020
above 18 years old that did not use
ivermectin after July 7, 2020
1,256
Ivermectin users
113,845 (71.3%)
Ivermectin non-users
45,716 (28.7%)
X
Positive cases above 18 y/o
among ivermectin users
4,311
Positive cases among ivermectin
users above 18 y/o from Itajaí
4,197
Positive cases above 18
y/o among ivermectin
users from other cities
114
Below 18 y/o
61,583
Population of Itajaí in
2020 without COVID-
19 until JUly 7, 2020
220,517
Ivermectin users
113,845
Population of Itajaí above 18 y/o
without COVID-19 until July 7, 2020 that did
not use ivermectin after July 7, 2020
(159,561 113,845 =) 45,716
Positive cases above 18 y/o
among ivermectin non-users
3,034
COVID-19 cases after July 7, 2020
Positive cases among ivermectin
non-users above 18 y/o from Itajaí
3,034
Positive cases above 18
y/o among ivermectin non-
users from other cities
0
Cases in
ivermectin users
4,197 (3.7%)
Cases in
non-ivermectin users
3,034 (6.6%)
44% in
COVID-19
infection
rate
(Risk ratio, 0.56;
95% confidence
interval 0.53 –
0.58; p < 0.0001)
13
369
A detailed description of the data considered for the present analysis is
370
illustrated in Figure 1. Of the 220,517 citizens of Itajaí without COVID-19 until July
371
7, 2020, 159,561 were above 18 years old. Of the 159,561 citizens above 18 y/o without
372
COVID-19 until July 7, 2020, 113,845 (71.3% of the population above 18 years old)
373
received ivermec tin before being infected by COVID-19. A total of 45,716 citizens
374
(28.7%) did not receive or did not want to receive ivermectin during the program,
375
including as a prophylactic or as treatment after having COVID-19.
376
377
Of the 113,845 prophylaxed subjects from the city of Itajaí, 4,197 had a positive
378
rtPCR-SARS-CoV-2 (3.7% infection rate), while 3,034 of the 37,027 untreated subjects
379
had positive rtPCR-SARS-CoV-2 (6.6% infection rate), a 44% reduction in COVID-19
380
infection rate (Risk ratio (RR), 0.56; 95% confidence interval (95%CI), 0.53 - 0.58;
381
p < 0.0001). An addition of 114 subjects that used ivermectin and were infected were
382
originally from other cities but were registered as part of the program, in a total of
383
4,311 positive cases among ivermectin users. For the present analysis, the 4,311
384
positive cases among subjects that used ivermectin and 3,034 cases among subjects
385
that did not use ivermectin were considered. After PSM, two cohorts of 3,034 subjects
386
were created.
387
388
Baseline characteristics of the 7,345 subjects included prior to PSM and the
389
baseline characteristics of the 6,068 subjects in the matched groups are shown in Table
390
1. Prior to PSM, ivermectin users had a higher percentage of subjects over 50 years old
391
(p < 0.0001), higher prevalence of T2D (p = 0.0004), hypertension (p < 0.0001), CVD (p
392
= 0.03), and a higher percentage of caucasians (p = 0.004), than non-users. After PSM,
393
all baseline parameters were similar between groups. Figure 2 summarizes the main
394
findings of this study.
395
396
Table 1. Baseline characteristics of subjects enrolled in study before matching and after
397
propensity score matched.
398
Pre-Matching
Propensity Score Matched
Ivermectin
users
(n = 4,311)
Non-
ivermectin
users
p-value
Overall
(n = 6,068)
Ivermectin
users
(n = 3,034)
Non-
ivermectin
users
14
(n = 3,034)
(n = 3,034)
Age
Mean ± SD
43.5 ± 14.9
39.8 ± 14.2
< 0.0001
39.7 ± 14.0
3967 ± 13.8
39.8 ± 14.2
< 30 y/o
886
(20.5%)
844
(27.8%)
1,691
(27.9%)
844
(27.9%)
847
(27.8%)
30-50 y/o
2121
(49.2%)
1582
(52.2%)
3,155 (52.0%)
1,573
(51.9%)
1,582
(52.1%)
> 50 y/o
1304
(30.3%)
608
(20.0%)
1,222
(20,1%)
614
(20.2%)
608
(20.1%)
Sex
0.31
Female
2359
(54.7%)
1624
(53.5%)
3,231
(53.2%)
1,607
(53.0%)
1,624
(53.5%)
Male
1952
(45.3%)
1410
(46.5%)
2,837
(46.8%)
1,427
(47.0%)
1,410
(46.5%)
Race
Caucasians
3245
(75.3%)
2192
(72.2%)
0.004
4,398
(72.5%)
2,206
(72.7%)
2,192
(72.3%)
Afro-
Brazilians
109
(2.5%)
100
(3.3%)
0.052
193
(3.2%)
93
(3.1%)
100
(3.3%)
Mixed
901
(20.9%)
682
(22.5%)
0.10
1,364
(22.5%)
93
(3.1%)
100
(3.3%)
Asian-
Brazilians
56
(1.3%)
60
(2.0%)
0.023
113
(1.9%)
53
(1.8%)
60
(2.0%)
Type 2
diabetes
0.0004
Yes
151
(3.5%)
63
(2.1%)
141
(2.3%)
78
(2.6%)
63
(2.1%)
No
4160
(96.5%)
2971
(97.9%)
5,927
(97.7%)
2,956
(97.4%)
2,971
(97.9%)
Asthma
0.067
Yes
20
(0.5%)
6
(0.2%)
21
(0.3%)
15
(0.5%)
6
(0.2%)
No
4291
(99.5%)
3028
(99.8%)
6,047
(99.7%)
3,019
(99.5%)
3,028
(99.8%)
COPD
0.72
Yes
7
(0.2%)
6
(0.2%)
12
(0.2%)
6
(0.2%)
6
(0.2%)
No
4304
(99.8%)
3028
(99.8%)
6,056
(99.8%)
3,028
(99.8%)
3,028
(99.8%)
Hypertension
< 0.0001
Yes
362
(8.4%)
166
(5.5%)
343
(5.6%)
177
(5.8%)
166
(5.5%)
No
3949
(91.6%)
2868
(94.5%)
5,725
(94.4%)
2,857
(94.2%)
2,868
(94.5%)
CVD
0.03
Yes
41
(1.0%)
15
(0.5%)
32
(0.5%)
17
(0.6%)
15
(0.5%)
No
4270
(99.0%)
3019
(99.5%)
6,036
(99.5%)
3,017
(99.4%)
3,019
(99.5%)
Other
pulmonary
diseases
0.53
Yes
10
(0.2%)
5
(0.2%)
9
(0.1%)
4
(0.1%)
5
(0.1%)
No
4301
(99.8%)
3029
(99.8%)
6,059
(99.9%)
3,030
(99.9%)
3,029
(99.9%)
Cancer
(any type)
0.66
15
Yes
20
(0.5%)
12
(0.4%)
22
(0.4%)
10
(0.3%)
12
(0.4%)
No
4291
(99.5%)
3023
(99.6%)
6,046
(99.6%)
3,024
(99.7%)
3,022
(99.6%)
Current
smoking
0.76
Yes
63
(1.5%)
47
(1.5%)
95
(1.6%)
48
(1.6%)
47
(1.6%)
No
4248
(98.5%)
2987
(98.5%)
5,973
(98.4%)
2,986
(98.4%)
2,987
(98.4%)
History of MI
0.26
Yes
11
(0.3%)
4
(0.1%)
8
(0.1%)
4
(0.1%)
4
(0.1%)
No
4300
(99.7%)
3030
(99.9%)
6,060
(99.9%)
3,030
(99.9%)
3,030
(99.9%)
History of
stroke
0.56
Yes
11
(0.3%)
10
(0.3%)
21
(0.4%)
11
(0.4%)
10
(0.3%)
No
4300
(99.7%)
3024
(99.7%)
6,047
(99.6%)
3,023
(99.6%)
3,024
(99.7%)
COPD = chronic obstructive pulmonary disease; CVD = cardiovascular disease; MI = myocardial infarction; SD = standard deviation
399
400
401
Figure 2. Summary of the findings.
402
403
404
405
Citywide program of COVID-19
prophylaxis with ivermectin
(Itajaí, Brazil)
113,845 participants
from Itajaí used ivermectin
(71.3%)
Pre-matched
COVID-19 infection
rate risk ratio
0.56 (0.53 0.58)
[p < 0.0001]
45,716 participants
did NOT use ivermectin
(28.7%)
158,934 participants
3,034 participants
had COVID-19
8.2% infection rate
44 hospitalized patients
due to COVID-19
1.6% hospitalization rate
99 hospitalized patients
due to COVID-19
3.3% hospitalization rate
Post-matching
COVID-19 hospitalization
rate risk ratio
0.44 (0.31 0.63)
[p < 0.0001}
Post-matching
COVID-19 mortality
rate risk ratio
0.32 (0.20 0.49)
[p < 0.0001}
IVERMECTIN USE NON IVERMECTIN USE
4,197 participants
from Itajaí had COVID-19
3.7% infection rate
44%
56%
68%
COVID-19
infection rate
COVID-19
hospitalization
rate
COVID-19
mortality
rate
X
3,034 subjects
with COVID-19
3,034 subjects
with COVID-19
Balancing and
matching groups
25 deaths from
COVID-19
0.8% mortality rate
79 deaths from
COVID-19
2.6% mortality rate
114 participants
from other cities
had COVID-19
(Total: 4,311 cases)
16
406
407
408
409
410
411
Hospitalization and mortality rates in ivermectin users and ivermectin non-users in
412
propensity score matched analysis
413
414
As described in Table 2, after employing PSM, of the 6,068 subjects (3,034 in each
415
group), there were 44 hospitalizations among ivermectin users (1.6% hospitalization rate)
416
and 99 hospitalizations (3.3% hospitalization rate) among ivermectin non-users, a 56%
417
reduction in hospitalization rate (RR, 0.44; 95%CI, 0.31 0.63). When adjustment for
418
variables was employed, reduction in hospitalization rate was 67% (RR, 0.33; 95%CI 023
419
– 0.66; p < 0.0001).
420
421
There were 25 deaths among ivermectin users (0.8% mortality rate) and 79 deaths
422
among non-ivermectin users (2.6% mortality rate), a 68% reduction in mortality rate (RR,
423
0.32; 95%CI 0.20 – 0.49). When PSM was adjusted, reduction in mortality rate was 70%
424
(RR, 0.30; 95%CI 0.19 – 0.46; p < 0.0001).
425
426
Table 2. Propensity socre matched hospitalization and mortality rate among ivermectin users and
427
non-users.
428
Overall
IVM users
Non-
IVM
users
PSM
mortality risk ratio
(95%CI) and
p-value [p]
Adjusted PSM
mortality risk ratio
(95%CI) and
p-value [p]
COVID-19
infection
Infected population (n)
6,068
3,034
3,034
-
-
COVID-19
hospitalization
Hospitalization due to COVID-
19
143
44
99
-
-
Hospitalization rate*
(in case of COVID-19) (%)
2.3%
1.6%
3.3%
0.44 (0.31 0.63)
[< 0.0001]
0.33 (0.23 0.46)
[<0.0001]
COVID-19
death
COVID-19 deaths (n)**
104
25
79
-
-
Mortality rate
(among infected subjects) (%)
1.7%
0.8%
2.6%
0.32 (0.20 0.49)
[< 0.0001]
0.30 (0.19 0.46)
[< 0.0001]
IVM = ivermectin; PSM = propensity score matching; CI = confidence interval; *Only subjects hospitalized in public hospitals; **All deaths, including
429
from public and private hospitals, and in-home.
430
431
17
432
433
434
435
436
437
438
439
Determinants of COIVD-19 mortality through propensity score matched analysis
440
441
Table 3 describes resulting risk factors for COVID-19 death amongst the overall
442
population through PSM analysis. Risk factors for mortality in COVID-19 included aging
443
(p < 0.0001), male sex (p = 0.015), T2D (p < 0.0001), hypertension (p < 0.0001), asthma
444
(p = 0.011), COPD (p < 0.0001), other pulmonary diseases (p = 0.048), history of MI (p
445
= 0.034) and history of stroke (p < 0.0001). To detect independent risk factors, post-PSM
446
adjustment for variables showed that ivermectin (p < 0.0001; 70% reduction in mortality
447
risk) and female sex (p = 0.022; 38% reduction in mortality risk) were protectors, whereas
448
T2D (p = 0.041; 79% increase in mortality risk), hypertension (p = 0.008; 98% increase
449
in mortality risk), and, marginally, other pulmonary diseases (p = 0.061; 468% increase
450
in mortality risk) and history of stroke (p = 0.054; 97% increase in mortality risk) were
451
identified as independent risk factors.
452
Table 3. Propensity score matched COVID-19 mortality rate according to each characteristic, in
453
overall population, ivermectin users, and non-users.
454
Propensity Score Matched Groups
Variable
Overall
(n = 6,068)
Death (%)
Unadjusted
COVID-19 mortality risk
ratio and p-value [p]
Multivariate adjusted
COVID-19 mortality risk
ratio and p-value [p]
Ivermectin use
- n (%)
0.32
(0.20 0.49)
[< 0.0001]
0.30
(0.19 0.46)
[< 0.0001]
Yes
3,034
25 (0.8%)
No
3,034
79 (2.6%)
Age - n (%)
[< 0.0001]
[< 0.0001]
< 30 y/o
1,691
1
(0.1%)
30-50 y/o
3,155
12 (0.4%)
> 50 y/o
1,222
91 (7.4%)
Sex- n (%)
0.62
0.64
18
(0.42 0.91)
[0.015]
(0.44 0.93)
[0.022]
Female
3,231
43
(1.3%)
Male
2,837
61
(2.2%)
Race - n (%)
[0.24]
[0.44]
Caucasians
4,398
79
(1.8%)
Afro-Brazilians
193
6
(3.1%)
Mixed
1.364
17
(1.3%)
Asian-Brazilians
113
2
(1.9%)
Type 2 diabetes
- n (%)
10.0
(6.32-15.8)
[< 0.0001]
1.79
(1.03 3.12)
[0.041]
Yes
141
20
(14.2%)
No
5,927
84
(1.4%)
Hypertension - n
(%)
8.83
(5.99 13.0)
[< 0.0001]
1.98
(1.19 3.30)
[0.008]
Yes
343
36
(10.5%)
No
5,725
68
(1.2%)
Asthma
- n (%)
5.64
(1.49 21.4)
[0.011]
1.74
(0.52 5.81)
[0.36]
Yes
21
2
(9.5%)
No
6,047
102
(1.7%)
COPD
- n (%)
15.0
(5.52 40.7)
[< 0.0001]
1.71
(0.68 4.31)
[0.25]
Yes
12
3
(25.0%)
No
6,056
101
(1.7%)
Cardiovascular
diseases - n (%)
7.54
(2.96 19.3)
[< 0.0001]
1.22
(0.44 3.37)
[0.70]
Yes
32
4
(12.5%)
No
6,036
100
(1.7%)
Other pulmonary
diseases - n (%)
6.54
(1.02 41.9)
[0.048]
5.68
(0.92 35.0)
[0.061]
Yes
9
1 (11.1%)
No
6,059
103 (1.7%)
Cancer
(any type)
- n (%)
2.67
(0.3918.3)
[0.32]
1.97
(0.30 12.9)
[0.48]
Yes
22
1
(4.6%)
19
No
6,046
103 (1.7%)
Current smoking
- n (%)
1.23
(0.314.92)
[0.77]
0.36
(0.08 1.70)
[0.20]
Yes
95
2 (2.1%)
No
5,973
102 (1.7%)
History of MI
- n (%)
7.35
(1.16 46.5)
[0.034]
1.91
(0.17 21.6)
[0.60]
Yes
8
1 (12.5%)
No
6,060
103 (1.7%)
History of stroke
- n (%)
17.6
(8.7235.7)
[< 0.0001]
1.97
(0.99 3.92)
[0.054]
Yes
21
6 (28.6%)
No
6,047
98 (1.6%)
COPD = Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease; CVD = cardiovascular disease; MI = myocardiac infarction
455
456
In a comparison of city-wide COVID-19 hospitalization rates prior to and during
457
the program, COVID-19 mortality decreased from 6.8% before the program with
458
prophylactic use of ivermectin, to 1.8% after its beginning (RR, 0.27; 95%CO, 0.21
459
0.33; p < 0.0001), and in COVID-19 mortality rate, from 3.4% to 1.4% (RR, 0.41; 95%CI
460
0.31 – 0.55; p < 0.0001). (Table 4).
461
462
Table 4. Hospitalization and mortality rates registered in the city of Itajaí, Brazil, before
463
verus after the beginning of the citywide program with ivermectin use as prophylaxis for COVID-
464
19, independent of the ivermectin use status.
465
Overall
Until July
30th
After July
30th
Relative risk ratio
(95%CI)
p-value
Infected COVID-19 population (n)
9956
2663
7293
-
-
Infected non-hospitalized COVID-19 population (n)
9641
2481
7160
-
-
Hospitalized COVID-19 population (n)
315
182
133
-
-
COVID-19 hospitalization rate COVID-19 (%)
3.2%
6.8%
1.8%
0.27 (0.21 0.33)
<0.0001
Overall number of COVID-19 deaths
192
90
102
-
-
Overall mortality rate (%)
1.9%
3.4%
1.4%
0.41 (0.31 0.55)
<0.0001
466
467
468
469
470
471
20
472
473
474
475
476
477
478
479
480
481
482
483
484
485
486
487
488
489
490
491
492
493
494
Discussion
495
496
This prospective, citywide COVID-19 ivermectin prophylaxis program resulted
497
in significant reductions of COVID-19 infections, hospitalizations, and deaths. The
498
ivermectin non-users were two times more likely to die from COVID-19 than ivermectin
499
users in the overall population analysis. Since groups were compared for the exposure
500
during the same period, in a parallel manner, changes in transmission rates would
501
affect ivermectin users and non-users equally.
502
503
The city of Itajai, in the state of Santa Catarina, Brazil, started a citywide program of
504
prophylaxis with ivermectin in July 2020 as part of several initiatives to reduce the burden
505
21
of COVID-19. ivermectin was used, based on the existing literature at that time and on
506
the virtual absence of risks. The National Health System (Sistema Único de Saúde – SUS)
507
that functions as a full healthcare support to the entire population allowed the city to
508
establish a non-restricted population program. This program included a support structure
509
consisting of a large outpatient clinic located at the Convention Center of Itajaí. This
510
outpatient clinic became the main locale of assistance for COVID-19 patients, supported
511
by multiple public facilities where general practitioners regularly saw patients.
512
513
The use of ivermectin was optional unless contraindicated, and given upon
514
medical discretion. A structured medical-based program with a medical visit and
515
evaluation of basic demographic characteristics and comorbidities offered ivermectin as
516
an optional prophylaxis to those who agreed to participate in this preventive treatment
517
program. Health status was assessed and data was enterered prospectively throughout the
518
period of the program, in a fully digitzed system provided by the national health system
519
(SUS). Since the system existed prior to the pandemic, a significant number of the
520
population were already registered with their health information, including past and
521
current diseases, use of medications and other characteristics. The adaptations made to
522
the SUS for the pandemic preparedness, prior to the initiation of this ivermectin outpatient
523
program, allowed a structured, well-organized collection of the data that monitored any
524
missing values, reinforcing the reliability of the results.
525
526
An important conservative bias was present. Major risk factors for severe COVID-
527
19 and mortality due to COVID-19, including aging, diabetes, and hypertension, were
528
more present among ivermectin users, which may have underestimated the benefits
529
measured Ivermectin was demonstrated to be particularly effective in subjects above 49
530
years old in terms of reduction of absolute risk, which corresponds to the group at the
531
highest risk for COVID-19. This allows the understanding that prophylactic use of
532
ivermectin can be particularly impactful in older subjects. In addition, ivermectin seemed
533
to reduce the exceeding risk of hypertension, T2D, and other diseases.
534
535
In accordance with the literature, subjects with higher age, diabetes and males
536
were less likely to survive (p < 0.05 for all), only aging remained as an independent risk
537
factor after PSM (p < 0.0001). However, prophylactic ivermectin use appears to mitigate
538
22
the additional risk of COVID-19 death due to T2D, hypertension, and cardiovascular
539
diseases.
540
541
The narrative that using preventive & early treatment therapies will have people
542
relax their caution of remaining socially & physically distanced to allow more COVID-
543
19 related infections is not supported here. This study data demonstrates that the use of
544
preventive ivermectin significantly lowers the infection rate, ands benefits outweigh the
545
supposed increased risk of changes in social behaviours. Hence, we can speculate that the
546
prophylactic use of ivermectin could play an important role in the reduction of the
547
pandemic burden.
548
549
Even after adjustments to measure the most relevant variables that could influence
550
COVID-19 related outcomes, including age, sex, comorbidities, and habits, aiming to
551
avoid overestimation of the effects of ivermectin and to resemble a randomized clinical
552
trial, prophylactic ivermectin proved to be protective for the overall population, with a
553
reduction of 46% in death rate and p < 0.0001 after employment of PSM.
554
555
The protection provided by ivermectin when used prophylactically for COVID-
556
19 may have reflected in the reduction in COVID-19 hospitalization and mortality rates
557
observed in a populational level. Compared to before the beginning of the program,
558
COVID-19 hospitalization and mortality rates were reduced by 73% and 59%,
559
respectively (p < 0.0001 for both). These reductions were obtained when overall
560
population of the city of Itajaí, as well as overall number of COVID-19 cases,
561
hospitalizations, and deaths, were considered, irrespective of the percentage of patients
562
using ivermectin prophylactically. There were no changes in SARS-CoV-2 variants,
563
infectivity and pathogenicity between before and during the program.
564
565
When compared to all other major cities in the State of Santa Catarina, where
566
Itajaí is located, differences in COVID-19 mortality rate between before July 7, 2020 and
567
between July 7, 2020 and December 21, 2020, Itajaí is ranked number one, and far from
568
the second place35. These results indicate that medical-based optional prescription,
569
citywide covered ivermectin can have a positive impact in the healthcare system.
570
However, the present results do not provide sufficient support for the hypothesis
571
that ivermectin could be an alternative to COVID-19 vaccines.
572
23
573
Due to the large number of participants, this citywide program was unable to
574
supervise whether ivermectin users were using ivermectin regularly, although the
575
accumulated number of ivermectin tablets was strictly controlled. This occurred to
576
be a potential another conservative bias, since the effects of ivermectin on prophylaxis
577
could be underestimated due to adherence to the recommended frequency of ivermectin
578
use.
579
580
While ivermectin is a multi-target drug36, its maximum benefits occur when it’s
581
present at minimum concentration in a wide range of sites to inhibit multiple metabolic
582
and inflammatory pathways. However, although the dose of ivermectin employed in the
583
program was smaller than the minimum to reach the concentration required to act in these
584
multiple sites, the reduction in infection, mortality, and death rates in the infected group
585
that used ivermectin prophylactically was surprisingly lower. Long-term or accumulated
586
ivermectin could also play a critical role for its long-term protection against COVID-19.
587
588
Limitations
589
590
Being a prospective observational study which allowed subjects to self select
591
between treatment vs. non-treatment instead of relying on randomization, important
592
confounders may have been differentially present which could otherwise explain the
593
differnces observed. Given that the benefits measured occurred despite negative risk
594
factors being more present in the treatment group, this suggests the benefits are likely
595
accurate and unbiased. Further, studies relying on PSM techniques have been to shown
596
to consistently agree with those employing randomization37,38, again supporting the
597
likelihood the benefits measured are accurate, The prevailing type of SARS-CoV-2 in the
598
city was unknown due to the lack of genotyping surveillance during the period of the
599
program. Whether the prophylaxis proposed in this program would be as effective in other
600
SARS-CoV-2 variants is unclear. Also, there was not a strict control of whether infected
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subjects used any specific drug in case of COVID-19 infection, this allows the possibility
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that the differences may be explained by differences in the use of ivermectin or other
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medications as treatment.
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Final discussion
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24
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In this city-wide ivermectin prophylaxis program, a large, statistically significant
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decrease in mortality rate was observed after the program began among the entire
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population of city residents. When comparing subjects that used ivermectin regularly,
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non-users were two times more likely to die from COVID-19 while ivermectin users were
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7% less likely to be infected with SARS-CoV-2 (p = 0.003).
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Although this study is not a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical
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trial, the data was prospectively collected and resulted in a massive study sample that
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allowed adjustment for numerous confounding factors, thus strengthening the findings of
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the present study.
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Due to the well-established, long-term safety profile of ivermectin, with rare
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adverse effects, the absence of proven therapeutic options to prevent death caused by
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COVID-19, and while effectiveness of vaccines in real-life all-cause mortality analyses
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lacks, we recommend that ivermectin could be considered as a preventive strategy, in
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particular for those at higher risk of complications from COVID-19 or at higher risk of
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contracting the illness, not as a substitute for COVID-19 vaccines, but as an additional
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tool, particularly during periods of high transmition rates.
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Conclusion
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In a city-wide ivermectin program with prophylactic, optional ivermectin use for COVID-
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19, ivermectin was associated with significantly reduced COVID-19 infection,
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hospitalization, and death rates from COVID-19.
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Statements
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Conflict of Interest
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25
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The authors declare no conflict of interest regarding the drug, ivermectin, and potential
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commercial benefits of the expansion of its use for COVID-19, or any other related gains.
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Dr Lucy Kerr received funding from Vitamedic, that manufactures ivermectin, unrelated
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to this study. Dr. Flavio A. Cadegiani was contracted by Vitamedic for consulting services
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unrelated to this study, and donated the full budget for COVID-19 patient care and
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research. Other authors have no conflicts of interest.
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Data availability statement
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Dataset is available under reasonable request by institutions and organizations.
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Author contributions
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Lucy Kerr designed the study. Washington Luiz Olivato Assagra and Fernando Carlos
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Proença developed the computer program, compiled and ran the data. Raysildo Barbosa
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Lôbo, Fernando Baldi, Flavio A. Cadegiani and Juan J. Chamie designed and performed
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the statistical analyses. Lucy Kerr, Flavio A. Cadegiani, Fernando Baldi and Pierre Kory
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performed the analyses and interpretation of clinical and demographic data generated by
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the statistical analysis. Fernando Carlos Proença was responsible for the medical
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surveillance, subjects follow-up and other aspects related to the program administration
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of the present analysis. Raysildo Barbosa Lôbo and Lucy Kerr were responsible for
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resources, supervision and project administration related to the analyses. Pierre Kory,
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Juan J Chamie and Jennifer Hibberd reviewed the data and the manuscript. All authors
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contributed to the writing of the original draft and final reviewed manuscript. All authors
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have read and approved the manuscript.
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Funding
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The city of Itajaí acquired the ivermectin, provided the medical and assistant staff and the
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sites where the citywide programs were conducted. No other funding sources were
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obtained.
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Acknowledgements
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We acknowledge Dr. Volnei José Morastoni, the city mayor of Itajaí, state of Santa
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Catarina, Brazil, for developing and enabling the citywide program of ivermectin for
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COVID-19 prophylaxis. We also acknowledge all the staff that worked at the citywide
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program for COVID-19 prevention with ivermectin in Itajaí, state of Santa Catarina,
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Brazil. Also, those who direct- or indirectly offered pro bono support for the subjects that
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participated in the program, compilation of data, or were involved in any other step that
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led to the present analysis.
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Table 1. Baseline Characteristics of Subjects Enrolled in Study.
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Table 2. Infection, horpitalization, death, and mortality rate among ivermectin users and
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non-users.
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Table 3. COVID-19 mortality rate according to each characteristic, in overall population,
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ivermectin users, and non-users.
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Table 4. Hospitalization and mortality rates registered in the city of Itajaí, Brazil, before
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verus after the beginning of the citywide program with ivermectin use as prophylaxis for
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COVID-19, independent of the ivermectin use status.
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Figure list
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Figure 1. Underlying data for the study on ivermectin prophylaxis used for COVID-19.
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Figure 2. Summary of the findings.
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Considering the urgency of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, detection of various new mutant strains and future potential re-emergence of novel coronaviruses, repurposing of approved drugs such as Ivermectin could be worthy of attention. This evidence-based review article aims to discuss the mechanism of action of ivermectin against SARS-CoV-2 and summarizing the available literature over the years. A schematic of the key cellular and biomolecular interactions between Ivermectin, host cell, and SARS-CoV-2 in COVID-19 pathogenesis and prevention of complications have been proposed.
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