Ivermectin: repurposing a multipurpose drug for Venezuela's humanitarian crisis.
For decades, Ivermectin (IVM) has been recognized as a robust antiparasitic drug with excellent tolerance and safety profiles. Historically it has been used as the drug of choice for onchocerciasis and lymphatic filariasis global elimination programs. IVM is also a standard treatment against intestinal helminths and ectoparasites given its action as an oral insecticide. The current humanitarian crisis in Venezuela is a regional public health threat that requires immediate action. Venezuela's public health system has now crumbled due to a 70% shortage of medicines in public hospitals, low vaccination campaigns, and the massive exodus of medical personnel. Herein we discuss the repurposing of IVM to attenuate the burden imposed by the most prevalent neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) in Venezuela including soil-transmitted helminths, ectoparasites and, possibly, vector-borne diseases such as malaria. Additionally, novel experimental evidence has shown that IVM is active and efficacious against Chagas disease, Leishmaniases, arboviruses, and SARS-CoV-2 in vitro. In crisis-hit Venezuela, all of the aforementioned infectious diseases are public health emergencies that have been long ignored and that also require immediate attention. IVM's versatile nature could serve as a powerful tool to tackle the multiple overlapping endemic and emergent diseases that affect Venezuela today. The repurposing of this multipurpose drug would be without a doubt a timely therapeutical approach to help mitigate the tremendous burden of NTDs nationwide.