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UVA Health Joins National Trial Testing Ivermectin and Fluvoxamine for Treatment of COVID-19

UVA Health has joined a nationwide study evaluating Ivermectin and Fluvoxamine – two repurposed medications – in the search for effective, safe treatments for mild-to-moderate COVID-19. The “repurposed medications” are already approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for the treatment of other diseases or conditions.

ACTIV-6, “The Randomized Trial to Evaluate Efficacy of Repurposed Medications,” is a nationwide double-blind study expected to enroll nearly 15,000 participants from across the U.S. A double-blind study means that both study participants and researchers do not know which medication participants are receiving as part of the trial. Information on the two repurposed medications:

  • Ivermectin, used to treat parasitic infections. Study participants would receive a carefully calibrated dose of the medications. Originally developed by Merck scientists  thousands of analogs of the lead compound were synthesized and tested and the result, Ivermectin, offered a highly effective treatment for several parasitic diseases affecting a variety of animals. Following its approval for human use in 1987, Merck established a worldwide program to donate ivermectin as “Mectizan” to treat river blindness, greatly reducing the prevalence of this debilitating disease. In 2015, Merck scientist William Campbell shared the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for his role in developing ivermectin.
  • Fluvoxamine, a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI), often prescribed for depression. Fluvoxamine was identified as a potential COVID-19 treatment based on sepsis research conducted by UVA Department of Neuroscience researcher Alban Gaultier, PhD, and former graduate student Dorian A Rosen, PhD.

“While we have some great new drugs for COVID-19 in outpatients, like Paxlovid and sotrovimab, supplies are limited and it’s still important to find potential new treatments,” said Patrick E.H. Jackson, MD, principal investigator for the clinical trial at UVA Health. “Because the drugs we’re studying are cheap and widely available, they could have a huge global impact if we find they’re effective for COVID treatment.”

Eligibility and Trial Participation

To be eligible, participants must be 30 years old or older, have had a positive COVID-19 test within the past 10 days, and have at least two symptoms of the illness for seven days or less. Symptoms include fatigue, difficulty breathing, fever, cough, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, body aches, chills, headache, sore throat, nasal symptoms, and/or new loss of sense of taste or smell.

Participation involves taking the medication and keeping track of symptoms over 90 days through online surveys. Medications are shipped at no cost to participants.

Residents from throughout Virginia and across the U.S. can get more information on how to participate in the trial by visiting activ6study.org or calling 833.385.1880. Volunteers in the trial can participate from home.

The study is part of the National Institutes of Health-funded Accelerating COVID-19 Therapeutic Interventions and Vaccines (ACTIV) led by the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences.

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