Cooper: Don't take deworming medicine to fight COVID, FDA warns

Staff File Photo / More and more people are turning to a horse and livestock parasitic, ivermectin, to prevent or treat COVID-19.

The idea that a medicine that rids livestock of parasites also might help humans with COVID-19 sounds laughable, but the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) says people are using ivermectin to treat the virus and could get very sick from it.

"Animal drugs are often highly concentrated because they are used for large animals like horses and cows, which can weigh a lot more than we do - a ton or more," an FDA agency webpage reads. "Such high doses can be highly toxic in humans."

The use of it to prevent or treat the virus - now in the highly transmissible delta surge - resulted in a five-fold increase in cases of illness related to ivermectin's toxicity in July, internal CDC documents revealed.

In Mississippi, more specifically, the state poison control center issued a warning on Friday because two-thirds of its recent calls were over human use of the livestock formula of the drug.