Horse shop runs out of drug COVID skeptics falsely call cure

Horse shop runs out of drug COVID skeptics falsely call cure
Image: Ty O'Neil / This Is Reno

LAS VEGAS (AP) — An equestrian supply store in Nevada has sold out of a drug primarily used to deworm horses that vaccine skeptics are peddling as a remedy to the coronavirus.

V & V Tack and Feed no longer has any of the drug, Ivermectin, KTNV-Las Vegas reported on Wednesday.

The store in the northwestern Las Vegas metropolitan area fields multiple calls daily about whether it has the drug in stock and now requires customers to show proof that they own horses to buy it.

Store associate Shelley Smith told the TV station that people coming into the store have told her they were taking the drug for coronavirus and experiencing side effects including loss of vision.

“You should not be taking this product. This is not for humans to take. This is to treat parasites in horses,” Smith said.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control issued a health advisory on Thursday urging people against taking Ivermectin, saying that poison control centers had experienced a five-fold increase in calls for symptoms ranging from hallucinations and confusion to gastrointestinal issues.

The Southern Nevada Health District warned people on Wednesday that, although the drug could be used to treat conditions like head lice and worms in humans, taking doses manufactured for horses could result in hospitalization or death.

There’s no evidence ivermectin has been proven a safe or effective treatment against COVID-19, but it’s been recommended widely on internet forums frequented by vaccine skeptics and coronavirus deniers.

Health officials in Mississippi and Arkansas issued warnings this week against taking the drug for COVID-19. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has not approved its use in treating or preventing COVID-19 in humans and says side effects for the drug include skin rash, nausea and vomiting.

“You are not a horse. You are not a cow,” the federal agency tweeted last week along with advice against taking the drug for COVID-19.