So it was that self-promoting TalkRADIO host Julia Hartley Brewer read an article in the Daily Mail, failed to perform the most basic checks upon its veracity, and told her adoring audience “Ivermectin, a drug used to treat lice and scabies drug [sic], could cut Covid deaths by up to 75%, new research suggests. What are we waiting for?”
Sadly for Ms Hartley Dooda, this appears to be yet another example of people seeing something that looks too good to be true - because it is too good to be true. So let’s start at the very beginning, as it’s a very good place to start, with the Mail’s supposed exposé.
“A cheap and safe drug widely used against parasites cuts Covid infections, hospitalisations and deaths by about 75 per cent, a study shows. More than 30 trials across the world found that ivermectin causes ‘repeated, consistent, large magnitude improvements in clinical outcomes’ at all stages of the disease”. Do go on.
“The peer-reviewed study, to be published in the US journal Frontiers of Pharmacology, says the evidence is so strong that the drug - used to treat head lice and scabies - should become a standard therapy everywhere, so hastening the global recovery”. And, as Fred Flintstone might have said, hold it … HOLD IT!
A search for “Frontiers of Pharmacology” returns, er, no results at all. This, presumably, is a reference to Frontiers IN Pharmacology, one of many Frontiers series titles. Wikipedia tells us that “Frontiers journals have a controversial reputation”, and, indeed, devotes a whole section of its entry for Frontiers Journals to “Controversies”, including this gem: “As of 2013, the overall rejection rate was 20% of all submitted manuscripts, compared to the top-tier, paywalled Nature journal, which rejected 90% of them”.
And this is what Merck, a former patent holder for the drug, said earlier this month. “Company scientists continue to carefully examine the findings of all available and emerging studies of ivermectin for the treatment of COVID-19 for evidence of efficacy and safety. It is important to note that, to-date, our analysis has identified: No scientific basis for a potential therapeutic effect against COVID-19 from pre-clinical studies; No meaningful evidence for clinical activity or clinical efficacy in patients with COVID-19 disease, and; A concerning lack of safety data in the majority of studies”.
There was more. “We do not believe that the data available support the safety and efficacy of ivermectin beyond the doses and populations indicated in the regulatory agency-approved prescribing information”. Which does NOT include prescribing ivermectin for treatment of Covid-19. David Rose, who penned the Mail article, could have found that out in a few minutes. So could Ms Hartley Dooda. That’s a most unfortunate omission.
The KBF wackos and other denialists will lap this up. For everyone else, there’s reality.
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