“The hardship comes when you run to your farm supply store and they don’t have [ivermectin] on the shelves anymore because of all of this.”

BY SOFIA ANDRADE

Folks who are skeptical of masks and vaccines but still believe in COVID have turned to a variety of pseudoscience tools since the start of the pandemic, including bleach, UV rays, and … livestock dewormer. The latter, the antiparasitic ivermectin, is lauded by some as a panacea to a pandemic that has killed upward of 4 million people around the globe—and you can find it at your nearest farm supply store.

In humans, ivermectin is used to treat parasitic worms, scabies, and extreme cases of lice. It first became touted as a COVID cure in April 2020 after Australian researchers published a study claiming the antiparasitic could kill the coronavirus within 48 hours when used in large doses in laboratory settings. (Pharma giant and ivermectin manufacturer Merck later warned that the studies promoting ivermectin as a cure for COVID had a “concerning lack of safety data.”) Now that the delta variant is causing COVID rates in the U.S. to rise astronomically yet again, more people are again looking to the drug as a cure. But the evidence often cited by its proponents comes from questionable studies—one of the largest studies in support of the drug as a COVID treatment was recently withdrawn over ethical concerns, and a review of other studies by the medical research organization Cochrane concluded against the use of ivermectin.

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