South Africa: Little to Lose - a Doctor Argues We Must Start Using Ivermectin Now

(file photo).

There is so little downside to using this drug, and huge probable benefit. If it doesn't work, we've lost little, other than hope. If it does, we've saved a life and, in some cases, a lifetime of disability.

The threat of death hangs in the very air we breathe. It has not felt so close or so frequent since my internship at the peak of the HIV pandemic. Similarities abound, as do differences - punishing hours, the exhaustion, the helplessness, the fear of infection.

In those days, to avoid infection from patients was simpler - double glove, avoid needlesticks. Now we wear masks, visors and gowns, like amulets warding off unseen demons.

My partner remarked: "It feels like internship without the rats and broken windows."

The government didn't care. President Thabo Mbeki withheld antiretrovirals, and nightly we wrapped his corpses. Now, Uncle Cyril's caring presence is there to comfort. But the South African Health Products Regulatory Authority (SAHPRA) raids medical facilities and prosecutes doctors for prescribing ivermectin, a safe drug, though partly tested on Covid-19.

Again, the government appears to bungle access to the vaccine, and forcibly withholds a potential treatment while we watch our...

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