Only 34 districts have been declared COVID-19 free so far. Several health bodies have warned against using Ivermectin as a treatment for COVID-19.
On September 15, 2021, the Uttar Pradesh government announced that 60 districts reported no new COVID-19 cases in the last 24 hours. They also said that due to extensive sample testing and a successful vaccination drive, 34 districts had no current cases. According to the state's health department, more than 2.17 lakh samples were tested for COVID-19 out of which 14 new cases were found in 10 districts. As of September 21, there were 194 active cases in Uttar Pradesh, with a recovery rate of 98.7 percent. The Indian Express reported the state officials credited the "prophylactic and therapeutic" use of Ivermectin in helping to lower the rate of cases across the state. State Surveillance Officer Vikasendu Agrawal said that Ivermectin was administered to all the members of the Rapid Response Team from Agra, and that none of them developed COVID-19. The state's health department acknowledged that they would conduct a controlled study to assess the effectiveness of using Ivermectin to reduce the rate of infections and fatality. "Once the second wave subsides, we would conduct our own study as there has been an emerging body of evidence to substantiate our timely use of Ivermectin from the first wave itself," Vikasendu affirmed. In August 2020, the Uttar Pradesh government gave the go-ahead to include Ivermectin as prophylaxis for close contacts of COVID-19 patients, health care workers, and the treatment of the patients. However, the use of ivermectin is extremely controversial, and the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Foods and Drugs Administration (FDA) have advised medical professionals not to prescribe it, adding that the drug could in fact lead to serious illness. Other countries, including the U.S., do not approve of using the anti-parasitic drug for COVID-19 in patients. Merck, an Ivermectin manufacturer, has stated that preclinical studies show no "scientific basis" for the drug's effectiveness against COVID-19. Active cases in Uttar Pradesh have declined, but the state is not entirely free of COVID-19. Furthermore, it is incorrect to infer that Ivermectin use played a role in reducing the number of COVID-19 cases in the state, as its use has not been fully approved by public health bodies. The COVID-19 pandemic has given rise to a lot of potentially dangerous misinformation. For reliable advice on COVID-19, including symptoms, prevention, and available treatment, please refer to the World Health Organization or your national healthcare authority.