Social media posts drawing attention to a new meta-analysis claiming that ivermectin is not a viable option to treat COVID-19 patients were met with both agreement and harsh criticisms.
“In comparison to standard of care or placebo, #ivermectin did not reduce all-cause mortality, length of stay or viral clearance in RCTs in COVID-19 patients with mostly mild disease… Ivermectin is not a viable option to treat COVID-19 patients.”https://t.co/25XKjFCLab pic.twitter.com/LsLqYHgoHS
— Ilan Schwartz MD PhD (@GermHunterMD) June 28, 2021
A meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials "did not reduce all-cause mortality, length of stay or viral clearance in RCTs in #COVID19 patients with mostly mild disease. Ivermectin is not a viable option to treat COVID-19 patients."
— Isaac Bogoch (@BogochIsaac) June 28, 2021
While it appears some would like to see this analysis that concludes “ivermectin is not a viable option to treat COVID-19 patients” as the “final nail in the coffin” when it comes to use of the drug to treat COVID-19 patients, others were quick to question the analysis using more than a tweet.
The British Ivermectin Recommendation Development (BIRD) Group responded to the contradictory meta-analysis with a series of tweets, a statement posted to Telegram, and a press release on their website.
From @BIRDGroupUK: Excellent critique of a badly designed and executed meta of ivermectin. The ‘study’ leaves out larger trials, contains technical errors…comes to unsupported conclusions about IVM.
I trust Tess Lawrie’s team. Meticulous. Honest. Accurate. https://t.co/zxJ1s6Wgqx
— Mary Beth Pfeiffer (@marybethpf) June 29, 2021
As the group states, they have onus to respond as they are “authors of a recently published peer-reviewed meta-analysis with a very similar title.” In their response, titled Rebuttal to Roman et. al., the BIRD Group focuses on “a number of problems which need to be urgently addressed to avoid misleading the public.”
These problems include:
- Selectively small sample size
- Missing studies
- Corrections made to article but ignored in the conclusions
- Absurd confidence levels
- Bias, statistical questions, ignoring existing evidence
The BIRD Group has also issued the following statement:
Bird Group strongly requests that that the article is withdrawn whilst the mistakes are reviewed or a warning placed on the journal page to warn others of the incorrect information within.”
It should be noted that only days ago, on June 17, a peer-reviewed study titled “Ivermectin for Prevention and Treatment of COVID-19 Infection: A Systematic Review, Meta-analysis, and Trial Sequential Analysis to Inform Clinical Guidelines” was published in the American Journal of Therapeutics, a title curiously similar to the analysis released on June 28: “Ivermectin for the treatment of COVID-19: A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials.”
The June 17 study’s authors concluded that “large reductions in COVID-19 deaths are possible using ivermectin” and that ivermectin “is likely to have a significant impact on the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic globally.”