Published 3: 54 p.m. ET April 16, 2020 | Updated 4: 56 p.m. ET April 16, 2020
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DETROIT – The U.S. Food and Drug administration and Michigan state agencies have recently issued warnings against taking ivermectin – a pill to treat parasites – as a coronavirus cure or prevention for pets or people.
Ivermectin is the latest drug making the social and mainstream media rounds in the fight against the pandemic after its mention in studies, but the Michigan departments of agriculture and health and human services are warning against its use – or promotion.
“We cannot emphasize this strongly enough: this study was not tested in humans or in animals,” State Veterinarian Nora Wineland said Wednesday. “As intriguing as the results may be, at this point, they mean little to nothing in the actual prevention or treatment of COVID-19 in either animals or humans.”
The fear is that people may attempt to purchase the drug on the black market or attempt to take a version of it that is prescribed for pets for the prevention of heartworm disease and to treat parasites.
It also is sometimes used to treat head lice and scabies, microscopic mites that live on the skin.
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“FDA is concerned about the health of consumers who may self-medicate by taking ivermectin products intended for animals, thinking they can be a substitute for ivermectin intended for humans,” a FDA release says.
Other drugs that are being looked and tested to fight against the pandemic include remdesivir, chloroquine, hydroxychloroquine, and azithromycin, according to the pharmaceutical publication Laboratory Equipment.
However, there is no approved preventative medicine for coronavirus.
“We understand Michiganders’ concerns about COVID-19 and the desire to find a cure quickly,” said Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, the state’s chief medical executive and chief deputy for health. “However, there are no approved preventive medications for COVID-19 in humans, and we do not want anyone being harmed by taking medications inappropriately.”
She added that staying home, washing hands frequently, wearing a homemade mask if you go out, and covering coughs and sneezes are the best ways to slow the spread of the deadly virus.
Contributing: Joel Shannon, USA TODAY. Follow Frank Witsil on Twitter: @fwitsil
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