Jose Morgenstern 1, Jose N Redondo 2, Alvaro Olavarria 3, Isis Rondon 4, Santiago Roca 5, Albida De Leon 6, Juan Canela 7, Johnny Tavares 8, Miguelina Minaya 9, Oscar Lopez 10, Ana Castillo 10, Ana Placido 11, Rafael Cruz 12, Yudelka Merette 12, Marlenin Toribio 13, Juan Francisco 13
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Background: Ivermectin is a drug that has been shown to be active against coronavirus disease 19 (COVID-19) in previous studies. Healthcare personnel are highly exposed to severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection. Therefore, we decided to offer them ivermectin as a pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) method.
Purpose: Primary outcome was to measure the number of healthcare workers with symptomatic SARS-CoV-2 infection and a positive reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) COVID-19 test in the ivermectin group and in the control group. Secondary outcome was to measure the number of sick healthcare workers with a positive RT-PCR COVID-19 test whose condition deteriorated and required hospitalization and/or an Intensive Care Unit (ICU), or who died, in the ivermectin group and in the control group.
Material and methods: This observational and retrospective cohort study was carried out in two medical centers, Centro Medico Bournigal (CMBO) in Puerto Plata and Centro Medico Punta Cana (CMPC) in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic. The study began on June 29, 2020, and ended on July 26, 2020. A Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) Propensity Score Matching procedure was applied in a 1:1 ratio to homogeneously evaluate 271 healthcare personnel that adhered to a PrEP program with ivermectin at a weekly oral (PO) dose of 0.2 mg/kg, and 271 healthcare personnel who did not adhere to the program were assigned as a control group.
Results: In 28 days of follow-up, significant protection of ivermectin preventing the infection from SARS-CoV-2 was observed: 1.8% compared to those who did not take it (6.6%; p-value = 0.006), with a risk reduction of 74% (HR 0.26, 95% CI [0.10,0.71]). Conclusions: These results suggest that compassionate use of weekly ivermectin could be an option as a preventive method in healthcare workers and as an adjunct to immunizations, while further well-designed randomized controlled trials are developed to facilitate scientific consensus.