Many desperate South Africans are, again, turning to hearsay to make up their minds about Covid-19, warns Dr Peter Oberem, chief executive of Afrivet. He says many are rejecting vaccination and turn to ivermectin again as the country battles a fourth coronavirus wave.
With the fourth wave of Covid-19 now truly upon us, so much is being said by so many that it is quite difficult to separate the apocryphal from the truth. In this regard, I watched a very interesting debate recently on Judge for yourself hosted by Judge Dennis Davis.
His two guests, who debated the merits of mandatory vaccination against Covid, were Professor Shabir Madhi, an eminent and eloquent vaccinologist from the South African Medical Research Council (SAMRC) and an ACDP politician who spoke out against making vaccination mandatory.
The latter also strongly supported the use of ivermectin for the prevention and treatment of Covid in people, citing some metanalyses and the attitude and policies of the Japanese people and government who strongly support the use of ivermectin.
Truth, half-truths and lies
What this debate brought home was the clear divide between scientists and believers. It also brought home the fact that our regulatory authorities have not, it seems, taken it upon themselves to research the existing data, develop an opinion and make a clear pronouncement on the efficacy of the drug in treating Covid.
Their authoritative guidance is important in this rather murky milieu of truth, half-truths and lies – they are the people trained and qualified to make such calls.
In the absence of this essential clarity, many desperate souls will again turn to hearsay and apocryphal stories to make up their minds. Many will sadly reject vaccination and turn to ivermectin again. There is now a legal and safe way for these people to obtain ivermectin on prescription from their doctors.
There is no need to turn, as was so prevalent during the first three waves of Covid, to formulations of ivermectin developed for animals. Despite our many warnings of the past in the media, in pamphlets accompanying every package of stock remedies and veterinary medicines leaving our Afrivet warehouse, and on posters supplied by Afrivet to the farmers’ cooperative retail stores, warning people not to use ivermectin formulated for use in animals, there were massive peaks in our sales coinciding with the three waves. Clearly this was not all from bona fide farmers.
Impact of La Niña phenomenon
We, again, strongly advise those who are still convinced that ivermectin is the answer to the Covid woes (we strongly advise vaccination, instead) to contact their medical doctors for advice, and if they agree, to get a prescription for a product formulated for humans and not to utilise ivermectin formulated for animals.
With the advent of the La Niña phenomenon, consequent good early rains and predicted good rains for the remainder of the rain season in the summer rainfall areas of the country, parasites and parasite-borne diseases will flourish.
Mosquitoes, midges, other flies and ticks which transmit diseases such as rift valley fever, blue tongue, horse sickness, lumpy skin, redwater, tick-borne gallsickness and heartwater. Helminths (worms like wireworm) also flourish under these warm and humid conditions.
The bad and sad news is that there seems to be a serious shortage of vaccines against many of these parasite-borne diseases from the government-owned local producer, OBP. Farmers’ only option is thus to rely on controlling the parasites to prevent transmission to their unvaccinated and hence susceptible livestock. Ivermectin is one of the useful stock remedies for controlling resistant ticks as well as for the control of roundworms such as wireworm.
Fortunately, there will be sufficient stocks of ivermectin to meet the challenge as is the case with the vaccine for the prevention of the effects of wireworm in sheep.
- Dr Peter Oberem is the chief executive of Afrivet. Photo: Supplied/Food For Mzansi
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