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Covid-19: UK government must “get its act together” as modelling suggests 85 000 deaths in second wave, experts say

BMJ 2020; 371 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.m4242 (Published 30 October 2020) Cite this as: BMJ 2020;371:m4242

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Re: Covid-19: UK government must “get its act together” as modelling suggests 85 000 deaths in second wave, experts say

Dear Editor

Primary care and COVID-19. Reducing community transmission: what is the next step?

We celebrate the fact that there have been no new diagnosed cases of Covid-19 for 10 consecutive days state-wide in Victoria and few new cases nation-wide in Australia. However, it seems certain that localised clusters of community transmission will be part of the ongoing landscape in most places. As we enter this hoped-for maintenance mode of suppression and containment of localised outbreak, we need to ask whether Australia is prepared with trials of strategies, including medicines, for close contacts of people with COVID-19, to prevent or reduce transmission to them or to reduce disease severity? Similarly, are trials of community-based prophylaxis part of the ambulatory strategies that are sorely needed in all settings, including the UK, where this week’s BMJ predicts perhaps up to 85,000 deaths in the present COVID wave(1), and will they be components of the Biden-led COVID-19 initiative in the USA?

Such trials of prevention and disease mitigation should include Ivermectin. An apparent benefit of Ivermectin, alone, or in combination with other drugs, has been reported in many counties and regions, e.g. Peru, Brazil, Bangladesh, India, Egypt, Florida, etc., and in various target groups- the very ill, the mildly ill, exposed contacts, the general public, health care workers and household members. There is already vast global experience in the use of Ivermectin for a variety of other indications, it is easily administered by mouth, is readily available, cheap and very safe. The benefit/cost ratio will be very high even if the drug reduced transmission or severity of only a portion of COVID-19 infections. Such trials should part of a comprehensive community-based management strategy, along with the standard measures and vaccines.

1. Covid-19: UK government must “get its act together” as modelling suggests 85,000 deaths in the second wave, experts say; Source: BMJ 2020; 371 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.m4242

Competing interests: No competing interests

09 November 2020
Wendy E Hoy
Professor/Physician /Nephrologist/Population health researcher
Centre for Chronic Disease, SoCM, Faculty of Medicine, The University of Queensland