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Whether made for animals or humans, Ivermectin won't cure COVID-19, says infectious disease expert

"Your pet will get worms. And you still get COVID-19," said Dr. Stephen Threlkeld, infectious disease specialist.

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The Northwest Arkansas doctor that prescribed ivermectin for jail detainees COVID-19 is now under investigation by the states medical board. 

Ivermectin is a drug meant to kill parasites and is not approved for treating COVID-19. 

Earlier this week, officials said Dr. Rob Karas admitted he prescribed inmates at the Washington County jail Ivermectin for COVID. 

Despite the drug causing so much controversy around the country, some people in the Mid-South believe it will help them.

"We were able to get Hydroxychloroquine and Ivermectin prescriptions from our doctor in Southaven," said Lisa McCarter, a Marshall County, Mississippi, resident.

McCarter said her son used Ivermectin to treat his COVID-19.

"I don’t understand what the problem is? You have a doctor who will write it. You want to take it. We are Americans. You should have the right to try," said McCarter.

RELATED: Mississippi Health Department: Stop taking livestock medicine to treat COVID-19

RELATED: VERIFY: Here’s why Ivermectin is not authorized to treat COVID-19 right now

McCarter said her son took the human version of Ivermectin, not the version of the drug meant for animals that people are buying up at feed stores.

Medical experts have been warning for several weeks not to take drugs meant for animals. 

"As I like to tell people, don’t take your pet's Ivermectin. Your pet will get worms. And you still get COVID-19," said Dr. Stephen Threlkeld, infectious disease specialist.

Threlkeld said while no one should take Ivermectin meant for animals, he has prescribed the human version of the drug for decades to people with certain parasitic infections. 

But he said there is nothing to suggest the human version will treat COVID. Ivermectin is a drug to treat parasites, not virus.

"Unfortunately, it’s become popular with folks who aren’t getting the vaccination but are instead taking Ivermectin to prevent or treat COVID-19," said Threlkeld.

Threlkeld said for most people, COVID goes away on its own. If someone thought Ivermectin cured them, Threlkeld said, "There is the placebo effect. When you think something is going to make you better it frequently does."

Until studies prove the drug helps treat COVID, Threlkeld said many doctors won't prescribe it. 

"A drug that is approved for one purpose, can be used by a physician for another purpose. It’s called off-label dosing and though it’s legal to do it, it may not be a good idea," said Threlkeld.

 McCarter said she is not concerned about critics -she is convinced it worked. "You're always going to have to have some naysayers come up with nonsense."

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