Virginia Tech® home

Ivermectin is Not a Proven or Approved Treatment for COVID-19



Authors as Published

Dr. John F. Currin, Clinical Associate Professor, Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine

There is news that research has shown ivermectin having antiviral effects against SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. Though this research appears promising, it was only performed in- vitro, in a glass or plastic container in a laboratory, not in an animal or human, therefore there is no current evidence that ivermectin would be an effective treatment for COVID-19, and humans should not use ivermectin for this purpose.

Ivermectin is generally utilized as an anti-parasitic drug in humans and animals, however, it has been recognized recently to have activity against viruses as well. Ivermectin products that can be found over- the-counter at pet supply and animal feed stores are only formulated for specific animals and are not approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for use in humans because they have not been tested for safety in humans, and using them could potentially lead to severe adverse reactions. Please see the FDA warnings for these products below.

Livestock Ivermectin Product FDA Warnings:


Ivermectin Injection for Cattle and Swine has been developed specifically for use in cattle, swine, reindeer, and American bison only. This product should not be used in other animal species as severe adverse reactions, including fatalities in dogs, may result.

Canine Ivermectin Product FDA Warnings:

  • Keep this and all drugs out of the reach of children. In case of ingestion by humans, clients should be advised to contact a physician immediately. Physicians may contact a Poison Control Center for advice concerning cases of ingestion by humans.

Equine Ivermectin Product FDA Warnings:

  • WARNING: Not for use in humans. Keep this and all drugs out of reach of children.

Treatments for COVID-19 are constantly changing as we learn more about the disease. No one should take animal medicine as a preventative or treatment for any disease. If you think you may have become infected with COVID-19 you should contact your healthcare provider or local health department and follow their instructions.


This article was developed using information from the following article by Dr. Lew Strickland, an Extension Veterinarian with the Department of Animal Science at The University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture.

Strickland, L. (n.d.). Extension Veterinarian-Article: Ivermectin Unproven as Treatment for COVID-19. The University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture.

Virginia Cooperative Extension materials are available for public use, reprint, or citation without further permission, provided the use includes credit to the author and to Virginia Cooperative Extension, Virginia Tech, and Virginia State University.

Virginia Cooperative Extension is a partnership of Virginia Tech, Virginia State University, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and local governments. Its programs and employment are open to all, regardless of age, color, disability, sex (including pregnancy), gender, gender identity, gender expression, national origin, political affiliation, race, religion, sexual orientation, genetic information, military status, or any other basis protected by law

Publication Date

January 27, 2021