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Sunday, June 20, 2021 - 23:08 SGT
Posted By: Gilbert

Progress Or Not

Quite a bit going on the past week - caught a few choice Euro matches: England vs. Croatia, France vs. Germany, England vs. Scotland (still sans Sancho) and Portugal vs. Germany, that last of which had by far the most entertainment value. I remain backing Belgium for this tournament. Mr. Ham's right schnozzle has also swollen up, and may take some fixing.

I had wanted this to be short and casual, so it'll mostly be a follow-up of the last one. As it stands, three FDA advisors have resigned over the agency's approval of Aducanumab to treat Alzheimer's, and since it's not IVM or HCQ, the folks over at r/medicine have found themselves free to slam the FDA for approving the drug despite it merely reducing the level of amyloid plaques in the brain, when it is not even established that said plaque is associated with Alzheimer's. Well, Biogen will have about a decade to milk the desperate public for all their worth, over the near-unanimous objection (10 against, one polite chap abstaining) of their own advisory committee. Given this, one wonders what the point of scientific investigation is, since it seems easier to just control the gatekeeper journals and FAKE NEWS outlets, and have them skew the facts to match.

On vaccines for example, mixed results continue to be reported, with Novavax claiming 90% efficacy and 100% protection against moderate and severe disease in a Phase 3 trial (though barely 50% against some variants), alongside CureVac sadly falling at the first hurdle with 47% efficacy. However, from reports that 29% of deaths in the U.K. from the Delta variant (fast displacing the original strain, so it seems) came among the fully-vaccinated, and a number of hospitalizations within that group in Indonesia and the Seychelles - the latter being one of the most-vaccinated nations globally - one would have cause to suspect statements on guaranteed protection. Such real-life experience appears to have had Costa Rica reject the Sinovac vaccine (commonly used in both Indonesia and the Seychelles), though it seems to have retained some fans here. Otherwise, the 1% difference in claimed efficacy between Pfizer & Moderna appears to have tilted the scales for more-kiasu locals.

And then there's resorting to plain old outright censorship, with YouTube removing a discussion on Ivermectin between a (very published) M.D. and a biology Ph.D. (though one supposes they should have the right to broadcast their thoughts regardless of qualifications nonetheless), Amazon deleting the website of a group of American physicians advocating for early treatment, Twitter literally blocking a link to a peer-reviewed journal on an Ivermectin study and apparently banning accounts pointing such behaviour out, and Instagram warning against the picturing of a box of the medication. Such wholesale blacking out of discussion is increasingly incongruous as the evidence continues to mount, as is beginning to filter out into mainstream debate*, including by a Canadian Member of Parliament and concerned doctors.

Let's face it, Singapore didn't get our ample vaccine supplies due to our charming good looks (okay, maybe a bit), but being willing to cough up a billion bucks - which many other countries, including most of our neighbours, might not be willing or able to do. The lobbying for IVM continues in Malaysia by medical and other associations, with a clinic reportedly raided for offering it on conscientious grounds. Indonesia's been petitioned by the FLCCC, Slovakia seems to have approved it, Portugal's considering, and South Africa, Trinidad and Tobago, Jamaica, Namibia etc. seem to be pushing hard. Further, Duterte's following the footsteps of other leaders hated by globalists (e.g. Bolsonaro, GEOTUS) in (quite rationally) calling for the matter to be settled with all haste through holding definitive trials.

This, mind, is a lot more than the WHO and other national taskforces are doing, with the WHO seemingly content to display a 0.19 odds ratio (95% C.I.: 0.09-0.36) mortality outcome for Ivermectin with an accompanying "very low" certainty of evidence rating on their living guidelines page, and wait for better trials to fall out of the sky. Meanwhile, the U.S. has devoted nearly US$5 billion towards new early treatment pills for the coronavirus, apparently without bothering to check existing (out of patent) candidates, which might be considered against the FDA decision above, and a history of such collusion in profiteering. If it's any consolation, latest reports from the UMinn study ("many people were having less extreme symptoms") and the TOGETHER trial ("very optimistic that it will [have a treatment effect]", if moderated) suggest positive results, if only because other countries are expediting their own studies (with about twelve in India alone), coming amidst seemingly backwards critique on "non-evidence-informed medicine" - WHO's job was that supposed to be, to begin with?

[*Including a Language Log reference in the comments section of the relevant Science Translational Medicine discussion. Never thought I'd see the day...]

Now you see them, now you don't!
(Source: twitter.com)

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