Dr. Choudhury Hasan, an associate clinical professor working for Mount Sinai Health System in New York, and Pauline Francisca Gomes a research fellow with the Shomman Foundation in Bangladesh, recently authored a piece arguing that mounting evidence supports Ivermectin as a possible treatment against the novel coronavirus. As Bill Gates recently shared, the next six months-plus portends dark times due to this pandemic. Although there have been a couple of vaccines authorized under emergency use, unfortunately up to 40% of the American public are leery of accepting this as an option in the short run. Little is known of the long-term benefit of these experimental vaccines, other than after a few months of data covering just a couple hundred individuals that actually fell ill to the pathogen, no one can say the true efficacy nor how long immunity is ensured—if at all. Moreover, after $12.5 billion of public expenditure involving Operation Warp Speed, there is little to show in the form of therapies as the novel monoclonal antibodies approved under experimental use also raise just as many issues as they do answers. But as TrialSite has consistently published, there is an existing Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved drug, used by billions annually to fight parasites, that evidences considerable promise, even as a pre-exposure prophylaxis targeting COVID-19. Many believe it’s too good to be true. How could so many smart people in the global power centers of research and regulatory affairs—in American and Europe—not have seen this coming? Is it because of this that the general media turns the cheek the other direction, bashing those that even dare to question the current narrative about COVID-19.
Important Study Reveals PreP Potential
Professor Hasan isn’t any lightweight: the New York-based cardiologist and research co-author notes the results of an important study out of Bangladesh Medical College and Shomman Foundation, under the guidance of Dr. Tarek Alam, professor and Head of Medicine Department in Bangladesh Medical College and investigator for the recent study covered by TrialSite and published in the European Journal of Medical and Health Sciences on December 15. Dr. Alam has been interviewed by TrialSite a couple times. In this study centering on healthcare workers in Bangladesh, of 118 healthcare workers, 44 out of 60 (73.3%) didn’t receive a regular dose of Ivermectin and contracted the novel coronavirus. Those that did take the PrEP regimen did better: only 4 out of 58 (6.9%) actually went on to become ill. Along with many other studies that research elites in American and Europe question as shaky science, such as Dr. Alam and Dr. Murshed’s study showing great efficacy of what is known in Bangladesh as “the people’s medicine;” i.e., the combination of Ivermectin and Doxycycline to treat COVID-19 patients.
The New York and Dhaka based researchers also referred to other research TrialSite has tirelessly followed, such as the work of Dr. Pierre Kory of the Frontline COVID-19 Critical Care (FLCCC) Alliance and their comprehensive meta-analysis showcasing the evidence for Ivermectin’s efficacy against COVID-19. Calls thereafter for National Institute of Health (NIH) to show support for this economical generic drug made sense as markets and societies need a low-cost alternative to help precent COVID-19. Also brought up in the recent article by Dr. Hasan and Ms. Gomes were studies TrialSite has followed form Argentina, India, France, Egypt, and of course Bangladesh. The authors rightfully referred to the ICON study out of Broward County, Florida, as well. Dr. Jacques-Jean Rajter with Julianna Cepelowicz Rajter, MD, conducted a well-designed observational study published in the peer-reviewed medical journal Chest. Of 173 patients at 4 hospitals during ICON who were given Ivermectin, they experienced a far lower mortality rate (39%) than those in a group of 107 patients who weren’t given the antiparasitic medication (81% death rate).
Proud Moment for Bangladesh
Dr. Hasan and Ms. Gomes share their connection to Bangladesh and the pride associated with such a big milestone: that what is traditionally a poor, third world country can be deemed at the forefront of fighting COVID-19. Could it be that research power centers in America, Europe, and elsewhere do not agree with these compelling findings for other reasons?
Ego, Power & Money
TrialSite discovered Ivermectin by simply chronicling study after study that evidenced some form of positive result. Journalists and analysts associated with TrialSite wondered why more people weren’t interested. Why weren’t research agencies tasked with also looking at repurposing existing approved drugs not curious? Why was the mainstream media so silent? Why was there so much hostility vented at anyone that dared suggest a different narrative? Well, the answer should be clear to all. Yes of course its about money. Months before the Monash University findings that Ivermectin, in a lab’s cell culture, obliterated COVID-19, the most powerful, well-endowed research agencies were working with commercial pharma to accelerate vaccines and monoclonal antibodies therapies, as well as antivirals such as Remdesivir.
So, the research train had left the station, and stopping everything to look at some cheap, widely-available drug used almost exclusively in the third world made absolutely no sense. And too much capital was now committed anyway. The race for a vaccine and high-end monoclonal antibodies, as well as commercial antivirals was on, and the NIH and big pharma would save the day. But that led to yet another key rational for the avoidance of any Ivermectin investigation: pure ego-driven hubris. Although NIH is full of wonderful, committed brilliant people as an institution, it along with the FDA under the existing POTUS-inspired politically charged environment turned or transformed the research endeavor into an economic mission, surrounded by political circus. Hence research centers and their leadership hunkered down and centered activity on what would, in their minds, most likely lead to the best outcomes.
Research Around the World
A centralization of research power ensued, memorialized under the NIH’s ACTIV (Accelerating COVID-19 Therapeutic Interventions and Vaccines) program; probably necessary and rational given the severity of the pandemic and the importance of consolidating and rationalizing research funding and ongoing studies.
Yet for any and all centralization of power and control over such critical decision making, such as where taxpayer dollars were spent on research, a dark side also can emerge. That is, all federal-sponsored research, at least in America, would be driven a small and elite cadre of insiders. Of course, these are good, well intentioned people, but the forces associated with such endeavor were already evidencing investment bias in regards to what funds go to what studies.
That clinics in places like Peru, Colombia or Argentina, or for that matter academic medical centers in Bangladesh or India, would also embark on research efforts—even including randomized controlled trial—would not be as scientifically impeccable as research coming out of America or Europe. Yes, that’s right: research power centers in America and Europe looked down on the research out of Dhaka or Mumbai or Buenos Aires—it was inferior research and therefore should be factored out even for purposes of reviewing Ivermectin study findings.
Of course, if research out of Europe led to contradictory conclusions, then that research would be immediately attacked by industry as “flawed.” For example, the SOLIDARITY study, sponsored by the World Health Organization (WHO) primarily out of Europe. The findings included that remdesivir, the drug that the NIH spent a lot of money, time, and political capital to support, wasn’t effective at all. What was the NIH’s response—just ignore the findings and let industry representatives attack the underlying quality of the study.
Substantial evidence exists that ego, power, and money shape research agendas, even in a pandemic time with over 330,000 Americans now gone. If Ivermectin could have helped, shouldn’t the medical establishment have at least showed a little curiosity?