Unregistered ‘miracle’ Covid drug that some claim can cure virus seized by cops

Police in South Africa have seized hundreds of thousands of 'miracle unregistered Covid-19 tablets' that some people claim can cure the illness.

Customs officials discovered tablets worth around six million rand (almost £300,000) at the country's main international airport in Johannesburg over a two-week period.

The South African Police Service said in a statement that the tablets are "suspected to be ivermectin," medication normally to cure animals and people with parasitic infections.

Six suspects have been arrested and charged with carrying unregistered medicine and importing drugs without a licence.

Some people claim that ivermectin is a cure for coronavirus, although this has not been proven.

Demand for the drug surged following the claims even though scientists insist there is not yet enough evidence to put it forward as a remedy to Covid-19.

A police statement said: "The unregistered medicine, which are mainly in tablet form, are believed to have been imported for sales purposes and would have been utilised in the treatment of the Covid-19 virus."

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Researchers at Oxford University are assessing whether ivermectin could make a difference in the fight against the pandemic.

South Africa’s health products regulator tentatively approved the controlled use of ivermectin on humans this week, revoking a decision in December to block imports of the drug.

The ban had sparked outrage among doctors lobbying for more research into ivermectin and fuelled its underground trade.

Ivermectin is mainly used to kill parasites such as head lice on both animals and people, and has been widely distributed in Sub-Saharan Africa since the 1990s to treat river blindness.

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