A selection of ivermectin treatments for livestock.

Ivermectin COVID-19 Treatment Controversy

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Overview

Ivermectin is a medication used to fight parasite infestations in both animals and humans. In August 2021, the FDA officially advised against using ivermectin as a way to treat COVID-19 after a growing number of reports that people were using ivermectin drugs intended for livestock when they could not obtain prescriptions despite scientific evidence for its effectiveness against the coronavirus in humans being experimental. These reports led to a series of memes in late August, which were used to troll online communities that had been dedicated to ivermectin.

Background

Ivermectin is on the WHO's list of essential medicines as a way to treat parasitic worms. According to a 2020 article in Trends in Parasitology[1] by Martin et.al., ivermectin works because it kills invertebrates without having the same effect on mammals unless the dose is too large.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, some early studies suggested ivermectin as a possible treatment for the virus, though further trials have led the WHO[2] to call these results "inconclusive" and advise against using ivermectin to treat COVID-19, which could be dangerous in humans at the needed dosage levels.[3] Beginning in 2020, people who opposed taking the COVID-19 vaccines began to recommend and seek out ivermectin as an alternative way to treat the disease.[4]

Development

An early source of visibility for ivermectin as a drug that could allegedly both treat and prevent COVID-19 came on Bret Weinstein's "DarkHorse" podcast, where hosts Bret Weinstein and Heather Heying began supporting the practice in spring 2021. For example, on May 15th, Weinstein took a prescription dosage of ivermectin during a livestream of the podcast.[5]

On August 26th, 2021, the CDC[6] issued an official warning against using any ivermectin drugs, especially ones not made for humans, to treat COVID-19. According to the warning, many people who wanted to use ivermectin but could not find a prescription would use over-the-counter ivermectin drugs made for livestock as an alternative. As of July 2021, poison control centers across the U.S. had received five times as many reports of ivermectin overdoses than before the pandemic.

/r/Ivermectin Subreddit Trolling

Beginning the weekend of August 24th, 2021, Reddit users began targeting the subreddit /r/ivermectin,[7] which had been created on April 3rd, 2020, by people who supported the use of the medication to treat COVID-19. They flooded the subreddit with both official medical sources and memes.[8]


Kaleigh Rogers @KaleighRogers and speaking of..reddit's largest ivermectin fanboy sub has now been flooded with trolls posting memes mocking antivaxers (cc @oneunderscore_) 252 Truly the irony * ANTIVAXXERS "LOLIAM NOTSHEEPLE" ANTIVAXXERS: TAKE DEWORMER FOR FARM ANIMALSTOCURE MYSELE Ironic. 100 Comments Award Share O Save ... A Posted by u/drewcareysglasses 2 hours ago 73 Rage against the vaccine. Discussion SOME OF THOSE THAT WORK FORCES WANT THE PASTE THAT'S FOR HORSES 11:04 AM · Aug 27, 2021

Hubby Started Running Fever, I Have The Paste

On August 31st, 2021, a Facebook post in a group for people planning to treat COVID-19 with ivermectin went viral after being reposted on Twitter (seen below).



In the next few days, the nonsensical phrase "hubby started running fever, I have the paste" inspired numerous parodies and snowclones (examples seen below, left and right.


At least I have the gym and my stocks @danchovy in this house we say I have the paste. 田0 10:33 PM · Aug 31, 2021 · Twitter for iPhone ORIN ... @orin_jpg i'm saying "hubby started running fever. i have the paste" to myself in the same cadence as if it was part of "the dead flag blues" 7:24 PM · Aug 31, 2021 · Twitter Web App 10 Likes Tweet your reply Reply ORIN @orin_jpg · 15h Replying to @orin_jpg the skyline was beautiful on fire. hubby started running fever. i have the paste. ... ipg

Joe Rogan

On September 1st, 2021, podcaster and comedian Joe Rogan announced via a video (shown below) on Instagram[9] that he had tested positive for COVID-19 and was taking a range of medication, including ivermectin.



The announcement drew significant attention, especially since Rogan had previously voiced skepticism about the dangers of COVID and the benefits of vaccination (examples shown below, left and right, click to enlarge).


Josh Jordan O @NumbersMuncher · Sep 1 Joe Rogan: I'm not putting that COVID vaccine in my body! Who knows what it could do? Also Joe Rogan: I got COVID so I took monoclonal antibodies, Ivermectin, Little Debbie Cosmic Brownies, Z-Pak, some pills I found stuck in the cabinet, steroids, and long expired Crystal Pepsi. 1.8K 17 8.7K 47.7K Josh Sánchez @joshnsanchez · Sep 2 Up next on the Joe Rogan Experience, how ivermectin saved my life 7 27 20 91

Oklahoma Doctor

On September 1st, 2021, local Oklahoma news station KFOR published a story containing an interview with Dr. Jason McElyea, saying that so many people in rural Oklahoma were taking ivermectin not meant for human consumption that it was causing emergency room and ambulance backups.[10]

The story was picked up by multiple national news organizations, including Rolling Stone,[12] but multiple hospital systems that Dr. McElyea worked for issued statements saying that, while there were significant backups in the emergency room and ambulance care, ivermectin was not a principal factor. Dr. McElyea later claimed his statements had been taken out of context and mischaracterized in the initial news story.[11]

Several Twitter users took to the platform to discuss the story and its misinformation, including journalist Glenn Greenwald. On September 6th, 2021, Greenwald posted about the Rolling Stone article on his Twitter[13] making a correction after the story was proven false, noting that MSNBC anchor Rachel Maddow still hadn't corrected her original tweet about the inaccurate story, receiving over 11,700 likes and 4,000 retweets (seen below).


Rachel Maddow MSNBC @maddow "Patients overdosing on ivermectin backing up rural Oklahoma hospitals, ambulances" ""The scariest one l've heard of and seen is people coming in with vision loss,' he said." IVERMECTIN TE 1.87% aurvet Apple Flavored! MERIECTIN STEL Apple Flavored! OKLAHOMAS 001 PM FORCOM PATIENTS OVERDOSING ON IVERMECTIC BACKING UP RURAL HOSPITALS, AMBULANCES NEWS Patients overdosing on ivermectin backing up rural Oklahoma hospitals, ambul. A rural Oklahoma doctor said patients who are taking the horse de-wormer medication, ivermectin, to fight COVID-19 are causing emergency room and . 8 kfor.com 5:04 PM - Sep 2, 2021 - Twitter Web App 4,374 Retweets 2,879 Quote Tweets 9,283 Likes (() VERMECTIN PASTE 1.87%

Hubby Started Running Fever. I Have The Paste.

Hubby Started Running Fever. I Have The Paste is a quote from a post in an apparent Ivermectin COVID treatment Facebook group which spread on Twitter due to what users described as its surreal quality. The post was parodied in numerous tweets celebrating its oddity.



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Top Comments

Blue2
Blue2

Is it bad/evil of me to think to just let nature take their course?
Like, you can have so much warning labels and people going to do what they're going to do.
If they're not going to listen to common sense, at least they're not going to go in private rather than in public where they can hurt someone else, right?
I don't know.

+71

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