In a no-nonsense warning to farmers, the MD of animal health company Afrivet, Dr Peter Oberem, warns that it is illegal to recommend the use of a parasiticide called ivermectin for the treatment of Covid-19.
Speaking to Dawn Noemdoe and Duncan Masiwa, the hosts of Food For Mzansi’s award-winning podcast, Farmer’s Inside Track, Oberem says, “It is a criminal act to recommend off-label use of any product, including ivermectin-containing stock remedies, for use in humans.”
His warning comes as authorities have begun clamping down on the dispensing of ivermectin, which is used to treat and kill parasites in animals.
Many agriculturists claim that ivermectin is a potential treatment for Covid-19. Some even claim that SARS-CoV-2 vaccines approved in the race to end the pandemic, is but a money-making scheme when ivermectin is readily available.
Oberem says, “A top pulmonologist (and Frontline Covid-19 Critical Care Alliance president), Dr Pierre Kory, has appeared before the US senate to appeal for recognition of the positive role that ivermectin can play in the prevention and treatment of Covid-19. The WHO has done a preliminary review of available data and has confirmed ivermectin’s efficacy in Covid-19 treatment.”
However, the South African Health Product Regulatory Authority (SAHPRA) says in terms of safety and efficacy, there is no evidence to support the use of ivermectin as a cure for the coronavirus. The Ministerial Advisory Council says the use of ivermectin is “risky, unethical and unjustified” and poses a range of adverse effects when use in humans.
In 2015, Japanese scientist Satoshi Omura received the Nobel Prize in Physiology and Medicine for his discovery of ivermectin more than 30 years ago.
Oberem says, “Given the worldwide impact of Covid-19, SAHPRA should make it their business to find evidence about the safety of ivermectin, one way or the other.”
SAHPRA reiterates that in South Africa, ivermectin is neither indicated nor approved for use in humans. “There is no confirmatory clinical evidence available for the use of ivermectin in the management of Covid-19. It could potentially lead to harmful effects or even death.”
Many other podcast highlights
Besides the podcast interview with Oberem, this week’s Farmer’s Inside Track also has other highlights for the agricultural sector.
Book of the week: Food For Mzansi fans chose Do. Fail. Learn. Repeat. The Truth Behind Building Businesses by entrepreneur Nicholas Haralambous as their book of the week.
App of the week: We chat to Mombasa-based James Konde, who manages farmer training and app development for the Haller Farmers App. It improves the livelihoods of smallholder farmers by providing them with affordable, organic and environmentally friendly farming practices. All of the techniques shared within Haller Farmers are low-cost and widely replicable across Africa.
Farmer’s tip of the week: Sussex breeder Annalea van Niekerk has solid advice on handling livestock. Make sure you are calm and deliberate when working with livestock and approach animals from the front.
Mzansi Flavour: The man who brought us boujee jaffles, Chad January, shares his secret to the perfect home-cooked meal in this week’s Mzansi Flavour segment.
Agribusiness: Since agriculture was last year’s shining star, could 2021 be the perfect time to grow your agribusiness? Before you make any hasty decisions, we get advice from John Hudson, Nedbank’s head of agriculture.
The HEALTH SQUARED Agri Update: Dr Kobus Laubscher, agricultural economist, and Marcia le Roux from Agility Channel discuss data-driven employee wellness and productivity measurements. Listen to the podcast for the full segment and also read “Farm productivity: Data-driven employee wellness is key.”