The National Essential Medicines List Committee (NEMLC) Covid-19 Sub-Committee says there is insufficient evidence to recommend the use of Ivermectin to treat the virus.
This is after South African Health Products Regulatory Authority (Sahpra) agreed to facilitate a controlled, compassionate use of Ivermectin to treat Covid-19 patients.
Sahpra is yet to publish the guidelines for its use.
In a statement on Thursday, the NEMLC Sub-Committee noted that studies suggested that ivermectin might be of benefit in terms of management of Covid-19, however, it argued that the available evidence is “preliminary and of low quality”.
“The studies vary widely in terms of disease severity of participants, medicines with which ivermectin was compared and additional medicines that participants received.
“Several studies are currently underway exploring efficacy and safety of ivermectin in the management of Covid-19.
“The outcomes of these studies will provide the Department [of Health] with more scientific data to make informed decisions on the usage of ivermectin to manage the pandemic.”
The committee said it would continue to review and amend the recommendations of Ivermectin use until new data is available.
The committee further discouraged the use of ivermectin outside of well-conducted randomised controlled trials.
“The Sub-Committee remains committed to an evidence-based approach to the selection of safe and effective medicines for management of Covid-19.”
Doctors who register for Ivermectin usage would have to report to Sahpra on its rollout.
In South Africa, it is registered under the Department of Agriculture for use in animals. It illegal for people who do not have permits or are not trained to use it, to have it in their possession.
The decision by the Sahpra follows calls from organisations such as AfriForum for government to allow the use of Ivermectin to treat Covid-19.
Additional reporting by News24 Wire and Vhahangwele Nemakonde