Our last update was about effective treatments for Covid19 – in particular Hydroxychloroquine – a drug that has been in existence and common use for over 60 years and as our last update shows one that has numerous studies showing it’s excellent success rate for Covid19 when given early1Check this source: https://bit.ly/AAPS-peer-review-list.
However there have been some studies that appear to show the opposite. Some quote a study 2Check this source: https://bit.ly/HCQ-veteran-study on US veterans given Hydroxychloroquine that appears to show its ineffectiveness. This study has been severely criticized by infectious disease expert Didier Raoult. He exposes several major biases with the study 3Check this source: https://bit.ly/didier-raoult-response.
The study was done with three groups. One received Hydroxychloroquine (HC), one Hydroxychloroquine and Azithromycin (HC+AZ) and the third was the control group. As stated above Hydroxychloroquine must be given at the onset of symptoms, however, in this study it was not given until the end stages of the disease. Another issue was that the severity of the illness in the groups receiving HC was much greater than the control group. In addition the control group or ‘untreated’ group actually received AZ in 30% of cases!
A large study published in the Lancet 4Check the source: https://bit.ly/lancet-HCQ-study a few weeks ago did not find any benefit for the use of Hydroxychloroquine. This study has had a huge impact, with the WHO halting global trials of the drug in 17 different countries. They stated that “There is no empirical evidence at this point that these drugs work in this case either for treatment or for prophylaxis” 5Check the source: https://bit.ly/WHO-halt-trials.
This will obviously have had an impact on doctors prescribing in Ireland too. However, there are very serious questions that have been posed concerning the integrity of the data. Over 170 doctors and medical professionals from across the world have written an open letter to the authors and to the Lancet listing 10 major concerns 6Check the source: https://bit.ly/open-letter-to-lancet.
For example, the study reports patient data from Africa that requires sophisticated patient monitoring technology and electronic medical record systems. If this was correct 40% of Covid deaths in Africa occurred in Surgisphere-affiliated hospitals with this technology. Unlikely, to say the least.
This article 7Check the source: https://bit.ly/why-lancet-report-overhyped gives an excellent explanation of why much of the data seems implausible as does this one 8Check the source: https://bit.ly/lancet-study-data-implausible by James M Todaro, MD. In addition, data scientist Peter Ellis, says “there is simply no plausible way I can think of that the data are real… I believe with very high probability the data behind that high profile, high consequence Lancet study are completely fabricated.” 9Check the source: https://bit.ly/lancet-study-fabricated An article in the Guardian likewise says this calls “into question the integrity of key studies published in some of the world’s most prestigious medical journals.” 10Check the source: https://bit.ly/GuardianOnLancetStudy. Fortunately the study has now been retracted as reported in the Guardian due issues around data integrity 11Check the source: https://bit.ly/LancetStudyRetracted.
Although the study has been retracted, it is obvious that it has had a serious impact. The retraction has not received the wide media coverage as the study results did initially. Many people including health professionals will now have the perception that the drug is unsafe and ineffective. How many lives has this cost? The WHO has said that trials will be resumed but will they have difficulty in recruiting patients, given this perception in the public? Will doctors be confident to prescribe it?
This article asserts that expert testimony before the US Senate on successful treatments for Covid19 was ignored by the mainstream media in the US. 12Check this source: https://bit.ly/successful-treatments-ignored Are Irish media outlets making the same grave mistake? After all, the successful studies that have been done on this particular treatment date back to February – a long time in a pandemic situation. Why has the media not been posing the hard questions to the Irish government and asking whether these treatments are available? Again if they are not, what has the impact of this been on people in Ireland? Could deaths have been prevented and severe symptoms/hospitalisation avoided? And what of the impact on the majority of the population forced to endure draconian restrictions as a result of lockdown?
Finally, if we have a highly effective treatment that can be used for the minority of the population that are more at risk from Covid-19 – why are we still in lockdown?
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