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Friday, June 25, 2021 - 02:14 SGT
Posted By: Gilbert

Developments For Now

The past few days have finally seen Ivermectin bust through the mainstream (social) media censorship barrier, so it seems, possibly due to a systematic review on the subject touting "moderate certainty of evidence" for mortality reduction coming out in the American Journal of Therapeutics, which has already been tweeted nearly 20,000 times within the week (if only on three Facebook pages, but more on that later). Sure, there have been critiques largely still centered on quality of evidence and lack of mechanism, but even excluding preprints and two large studies raised as possibly having selection bias, still yields a 35% improvement down from the original 60+ to 80% - and that on one of the hardest endpoints possible, mortality, since it's much harder to fudge death as compared to something like "severe symptoms" (though one might be surprised at how deaths can be accounted for, in other applications)

The systematic review would be backed by new research on possible mechanisms and antiviral effects of Ivermectin (and HCQ, by NUS researchers and others) in journals under the Nature and Lancet umbrellas, which has had an increasing number of netizens wonder at exactly why such investigations hadn't been pursued with more haste, and whether the tide is finally turning on cheap, early, existing interventions, coming after all the raw mainstream media gaslighting. Yes, there are arguments that places supposedly employing IVM, HCQ etc. such as India and Brazil have a relatively high number of cases and deaths, but the point here is that uncertainty over actual breadth of distribution aside, one might imagine that it could well have been worse (i.e. while say 100,000 deaths is a large number, might it not have been 200,000 or more without the early intervention efforts?). As it stands, Indonesia has just become the latest to join the Ivermectin treatment club, with a state-owned firm ramping up production for their 270-plus million people, just over 4% of whom are fully-vaccinated.

Nature and company, to eat humble pie soon?
(Source: nature.com)

Just to make it clear, I think claims of "obliterating 97% of cases" are quite likely an exaggeration, but the mainstream media - and its English subset in particular - has probably been doing no favours with its censorship. However, with Ivermectin gradually entering the wider consciousness - as through an emergency podcast by Joe Rogan, now perhaps also in social media jail - outright silence has become less tenable, with the local press for example slightly disappointingly quoting Merck's lack of support without mentioning their own competing new drugs, and a "concerning lack of safety data"; the New York Times likewise lumped Ivermectin together with a bunch of other remedies before tying them to "reports of respiratory and liver failure", and while the Daily Mail referred dismissively to it as "a drug in nit shampoo", the rest of the article seemed a relatively fair assessment in a sea of FAKE NEWS offal, with Fox News seemingly the only ones to stand up for free speech - and even then, only after a sudden change of heart.

Do note that not too long ago in other contexts, Ivermectin had been feted as a "multifaceted wonder drug" with a Nobel Prize awarded and statues made for its saving millions in Africa from preventable river blindness, and now it's a "nit shampoo drug" or "horse paste"... which might lend some pertinent insight into the true motivations of certain corporations and organizations. Sure they might promulgate diversity statements and hang rainbow flags all around their premises, but when these outfits have to actually forego profits in service of these people, one might be shocked at how quickly nothing can be done. Dr. Kory did try playing the minority card in his Senate testimony ("I have seen so many vibrant fathers and mothers of families die in my ICU. And most importantly, the majority are minorities, Black and Latinos, many of them poor and often without access to private doctors for early treatment"), but yeah, virtue signalling don't work with real money involved, ya see.

It might or might not have pained the venerable BBC News to report that Ivermectin would be studied as a possible treatment in Oxford's PRINCIPLE trial - barely a fortnight after calling it a bogus remedy, recall. Actually, the inclusion of Ivermectin had been delayed since January here, but better late than never, no hurry there. Sadly, there remain the same worries that the trial had been designed not to play to an early treatment's strengths, by allowing patients having symptoms up to 14 days, when proponents have always urged immediate use. The Ivermectin dosages also appear unusually low (3mg per day for 3 days, 9mg total) as compared to previous studies, which appear to involve a minimum of 12mg, up to 84mg total. Given that dose-dependency has been observed to have a big effect on mortality, and that prior research has consistently suggested that doses up to 10 times the approved limit are well-tolerated, it is not very clear why the trial organizers went so low here, when they went for unprecedentedly-high HCQ dosages previously, but fine.*

[*On more careful reading, the dosage is possibly multiple tablets at 300 micrograms/kg bodyweight, which would seem to result in relatively generous doses over the three days. I apologize unreservedly for this error.]

One could hardly get further away if one had tried...
(Source: twitter.com)

The Western medical establishment appears to be gearing up to dismiss all prior research on Ivermectin anyhow, with the Minnesota study for instance hailed as "the first trial of its kind". Seeing as how the WHO and BMJ seemingly can't even separate studies involving early from late treatment in their analyses, one senses this is going to be a long, hard drag. Put another way, if one were to run a study involving the vaccination of subjects already showing symptoms, and tried to use the results to declare that vaccination doesn't work, one would rightly be slammed for misuse of treatments and gross dereliction of duty; do the same for proposed prophylactic/early treatments, and the medical establishment will just accept it at face value. And then there are the essentially null-finding RCTs, with no severe cases/deaths encountered in both treatment and control groups. Great for the participants, perhaps, but somehow they are also (gleefully) held as evidence that the treatment doesn't work.

In Oxford's defense, their initiative towards developing a vaccine to be sold at-cost (with AstraZeneca) was one of the (sadly few) great humanitarian gestures of the pandemic, but look at where it got them: savaged for relatively-low (but still respectable) efficacy, and sued by the European Union for under-delivery. As The BMJ has bemoaned, the AstraZeneca vaccine lost the PR war badly, which might be understood in relation to their non-profit motive; a big drawback of not charging extra, one realizes, is that there is then no warchest of funds to buy influence with, including with FAKE NEWS correspondents. There's a saying in Chinese on such: 杀人放火金腰带, 修桥补路无尸骸 - or no good deed goes unpunished, put more colourfully.

And it might have been gotten away with too, with the aid of overt psychological manipulation, had it not been for the escape potential of the many emerging coronavirus variants leading to a (grudging?) recognition of an urgent need for interventions beyond vaccines by the likes of a Lancet taskforce, vaccine rollout setbacks, and a warning from the FDA just yesterday on how the mRNA vaccines might cause heart inflammation in rare cases. This could have contributed to the WHO's official advice being briefly updated to include "Children should not be vaccinated for the moment" in bold type, which very hilariously had Facebook censor the WHO itself - though to be fair, national health ministries have been gainsaid by Twitter before - which might beg the question: who exactly defines what is truth, for these platforms publishers? If it's any consolation, the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism at Oxford has found that trust in mainstream media has collapsed to 29% in America, and with any luck, the dirty tricks of Big Pharma will finally get dragged out into the sunlight, as it all unravels.

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