Pfizer’s new trial drug is not ivermectin in disguise
21 September 2021
What was claimed
A new trial drug being tested by Pfizer is actually ivermectin being rebranded.
Incorrect. There may be similarities in how they work, but the two drugs are structurally very different.
A Facebook post falsely suggests that a potential new Covid-19 treatment from Pfizer is essentially the same as ivermectin. In fact the two drugs are structurally very different.
The post shows a screenshot of a Pfizer press release announcing the trial of a new antiviral agent against SARS-CoV-2, alongside a screenshot of a paper about ivermectin published in the journal Future Virology.
The post highlights sections of the texts, showing that the new Pfizer drug candidate is a “protease inhibitor” and that “Ivermectin was found as a blocker of viral replicase, protease and Human TMPRSS2”.
The post’s caption says: “Guess what’s in that Pfizer twice a day ‘covid medication’ they’re cooking up? The mystical horse-worming paste they’ve been losing money on, but with a brand new shiny label that rakes in the dough.”
But even if both drugs do have a protease inhibitor effect (slowing down the enzyme protease, which breaks down proteins), Pfizer’s new drug trial candidate and ivermectin are completely different chemical compounds. According to Dr Stephen Griffin, a virologist and Associate Professor at Leeds Institute of Medical Research, they are “extremely structurally different”.
Dr Griffin told Full Fact that ivermectin is “nothing like” Pfizer’s new trial drug in terms of structure.
We asked both Pfizer and Merck (which produces ivermectin) for comment.
This article is part of our work fact checking potentially false pictures, videos and stories on Facebook. You can read more about this—and find out how to report Facebook content—here. For the purposes of that scheme, we’ve rated this claim as false because Pfizer’s new trial drug and ivermectin are different compounds.
- By Daniella de Block Golding