Fact Checking the Fact Checkers: The Case of Ivermectin for Publicly-Subsidized Research

Fact Checking the Fact Checkers The Case of Ivermectin for Publicly-Subsidized Research

On December 11, TrialSite reported on a US Senate hearing at which, among other things, there was testimony urgently calling for more research and an EUA for ivermectin as both a prophylactic against and an early treatment for COVID-19. As we recently covered, there is mounting evidence in support of these uses, and definitely for government-sponsored research, for this cheap and safe drug. One media account we did not address was a December 10 “fact check” by the Associated Press (AP) in collaboration with Facebook titled, “No evidence ivermectin is a miracle drug against COVID-19.” In this piece, the AP relies on old protocols and also ignores newer evidence, showing an excessive deference to official edicts over honestly looking at the medical evidence. The AP author doesn’t do her homework as is elaborated on below. Based on accumulating data and growing evidence, the case for publicly-funded investigation into ivermectin is compelling. Does AP represent a particular agenda in that particular piece? Does power, politics, and money influence which research gets funded in the midst of the pandemic?

Errors in Argumentation

The AP, via author Beatrice Dupuy, indulges in both a straw-man argument and bait-and-switch tactic in its key finding; the former by asking whether ivermectin is “miraculous” (while a doctor may have used such language, common sense dictates that an inquiry more relevant to the public health would be whether ivermectin is “effective”), and the later by offering an “Assessment” that answers a different question than the one in the “Claim.” Quoting AP, “CLAIM: The antiparasitic drug ivermectin ‘has a miraculous effectiveness that obliterates’ the transmission of COVID-19 and will prevent people from getting sick—-AP’S ASSESSMENT: False. There’s no evidence ivermectin has been proven a safe or effective treatment against COVID-19.” The claim is about ivermectin as a prophylactic to prevent getting COVID-19 illness, but the assessment’s language states that it is not an effective “treatment against COVID-19.” Since prophylactic prevention is for the well, and treatment is for the sick, confusing these medical uses appears to be sloppy journalism or worse. 

Errors in Fact

AP relies heavily on the fact that the FDA and NIH, “have said that [ivermectin] is not approved for the prevention or treatment of COVID-19.” It is key to remember that official guidelines are often updated as evidence comes to light, and to rely on authority without looking at the evidence is yet another fallacy when searching for the truth. The most up-to-date (as of December 7) summary of the evidence regarding ivermectin is the FLCCC Alliance’s, “A Review of the Emerging Evidence Demonstrating the Efficacy of Ivermectin in the Prophylaxis and Treatment of COVID-19.” Much of the chronicling of the accumulation of evidence to date was accomplished by TrialSite. FLCCC member Dr. Pierre Kory pointed out that a good amount of reporting worldwide for this breakthrough story was in fact led by the TrialSite, an online media and information exchange platform committed to clinical trial accessibility and transparency. After all, this is necessary to nurture and build trust in research, critical in the aim to advance overall biomedical research. 

Dr. Kory’s review includes 90 sources to various studies and evidence, and lists what could be the “top 11” data points to use (and continue to collect data on) ivermectin and footnoted in the Review:

  • From 2012 on in-vitro studies have showed viral replication inhibition from ivermectin.
  • Ivermectin inhibits SARS-CoV-2 replication in-vitro and thereby removes all virus within 48 hours (University of Monash)
  • Ivermectin is anti-inflammatory with strong data showing an inhibition of both cytokine production and a key inflammation mediator. 
  • Ivermectin substantially shrinks viral load and prevents organ damage in animal models using SARS-CoV-2 or other coronaviruses. 
  • Ivermectin as a prophylactic stops viral transmission and development of COVID-19 illness in exposed persons. 
  • Ivermectin both quickens recovery and stops deterioration in people with mild or moderate COVID-19. 
  • The drug, “hastens recovery and avoidance of ICU admission and death in hospitalized patients.”
  • Mortality in critically ill patients is reduced with ivermectin. 
  • Regions with widespread use show major reductions in fatality rates 
  • Safety, availability, and cost are unparalleled with minimal drug interactions or side effects seen over almost four decades and billions of doses of use.
  • WHO’s List of Essential Medicines has included ivermectin for many years. 

Also cited by the FLCCC Alliance, the International Journal of AntiMicrobial Agents recently published an analysis of, “data using the prophylactic chemotherapy databank administered by the WHO along with case counts obtained by Worldometers, a public data aggregation site used by among others, the Johns Hopkins University.” They compared the data from nations with mass ivermectin use for parasite prevention with other countries and found that the ivermectin countries had significantly lower COVID-19 case counts “to a high degree of statistical significance.”

The Impact of the TrialSite

TrialSite spent the last eight months at the founders’ expense chronicling studies involving ivermectin. The Monash University in vitro study that demonstrates that ivermectin absolutely zapped SARS-CoV-2 caught the initial attention of the Salt Lake City, Utah-based online venture.  

But it was only an in vitro study; much work had to be done (animal studies, toxicology, dosage studies, etc.). TrialSite expected at least a few genetic companies to pick up and explore this medical pathway—after all, Ivermectin is an FDA approved drug with a widely known safety profile—but no major generic companies bothered. 

Rather, a global community of physicians responded in an unprecedented health crisis in the modern era; community physicians, hospitals and various health systems’ personnel dealing with a pandemic, started exploring ways to save lives. Although this is certainly not the proper sequential order for repurposing existing FDA approved medicines, these were no ordinary times at all.

Interestingly, Peru was the first nation, or one of them, to embrace ivermectin. On this topic, TrialSite interviewed international ivermectin expert Dr. Carlos Chaccour now residing in Spain and conducting ivermectin research on his own. In Peru, Dr. Chaccour made the case that the scandalous Surgisphere papers were the reason for Peru embracing ivermectin.

However, based on the documentary TrialSite produced in Peru titled TrialSite News Original: Documentary in Peru about Ivermectin and COVID-19,” the explanation for the wide use of ivermectin more than likely resulted from an urgent direct response to the Monash findings. Again, during the height of the pandemic in a third world country, there wasn’t the capacity or wherewithal for extensive clinical trials although all interviewed in the TrialSite documentary acknowledged the importance of, and need for randomized controlled studies. 

Meta-Analysis of Ivermectin Studies

Dr. Pierre Kory and the FLCCC started researching ivermectin a few months ago as the pandemic raged.  Over a phone call in November, Dr. Kory explained to TrialSite founder Daniel O’Connor that the online media platform was an incredibly important resource for he and his colleagues’ research. 

In fact, it’s the only media platform dedicated to covering clinical trials sites and breakthroughs that systematically covered this important topic. Few else would touch it.  

TrialSite’s search function can be used to find most of ivermectin-focused studies referred to in Dr. Pierre Kory’s meta-analysis, which includes the following:

Existing Prophylaxis Trials Data

Author/Country/SourceStudy Design/SizeIvermectin DoseClinical Outcomes
Shouman W. Egyptwww.clinicaltrials.govNCT0442256RCTN=30440-60kg: 15mg60-80kg: 18mg>80kg: 24mg7.4% vs. 58.4% developed COVD19 symptoms; p<.001
Carvallo H, Argentinawww.clinicaltrials.govNCT04425850RCTN-229200 mcg drops0.0% vs. 11.2% contracted COVID-19;P<.001
Behera, P IndiamedRxivdoi:org/10.1101/2020.10.29.20222661OCTN=186 case controlPairs300 mcg/kg2 doses reduced odds of contracting COVID-19 (OR 0.27 95% Cl 0.16-0.53)

 Existing Early Outpatient Data Showing High Efficacy

Author/Country/SourceStudy Design/SizeIvermectin DoseClinical Outcomes
Carvallo, H ArgentinamedRxivdoi.org/10.1101/2020.09.10.20191619Case seriesN-16724mg=mild36mg=moderate48mg=severeAll 135 with mild illness survived; 1/32 (3.1% of hospitalized patients died)
Mahmud R Bangladeshwww.clinicaltrials.govNCT0452383RCTN=36312mg+doxycyclineEarly improvement:60.7% vs. 44.4%, p,.03, deterioration 8.7% vs. 17.8% p<0.2
Podder, CS BangladeshIMC J Med Sci 2020:14(2)RCTN=62200 mcg/kgRecovery time 10.1 vs 11.5 days (NS), average time 5.3 vs. 6.3 (NS)
Alam T BangladeshBangladesh College of Phys and Surg, 2020; 38:10-15Doi.org/10.3329/jbcps.v.38i0.47512Case SeriesN=100200 mcg/kg + doxycycline All improved within 72 hours
Chowdhury A, BangladeshResearch SquareDoi:10.21203/rs.3.rs-38896/v1RCTN=116200 mcg/kg + doxycyclineRecovery time 5.93 vs. 9.33 days (p = .071)
Morgenstern J, Dominican RepublicmedRxivdoi:https://doi.org/10.1101/2020.10.29.2022205Case SeriesN=3,099Outpatients:0.4 mg/kgHospitals & patients: 0.3mg/kgMortality = 0.03% in 2688 outpatients, 1% in 300 non-ICU hospital patients, 30.6% in 111 ICU patients 

Existing Data Showing High Efficacy in Hospitalized Patients

Author/Country/SourceStudy Design/SizeIvermectin DoseClinical Outcomes
Rajter, JC FloridaChest 2020Doi.org/10.1016/j.chest.2020.10.009OCTN=280200 mcg/kg +azithromycinOverall mortality 15% vs. 25.2%, p =.03, Severe illness mortality 38.8% vs. 80.7%, p=.001
Khan X, BangladeshArch Bronconeumol, 2020Doi.org/10.1016/j.arbres.2020.08.007OCTN=24812 mgMortality 0.9% vs. 6.8%, p<.05 LOS 9 vs. 15 days, p<.001
Goria, FL IraqmedXrivdoi.org/10.1101/2020.07.07.20145979OCTN=87200 mcg/kg + HCQ + azithromycinLOS 7.6 vs. 13.2 p<.001. 0/15 vs. 2/71 died
Soto-Beccerra P, PerumedRxivdoi.org/10.1101.2020.10.06.20208066OCTN=5683IVM, N=563Unknown dose <48 hours after admissionNo benefits found
Hashim H, IraqmedXrivdoi.org/10.1101/2020.10.26.20219345RCTN=140200 mcg/kg + doxycyclineRecovery time 6.3 vs. 13.6 days (p<.001), 0% vs. 27.3% mortality in severely ill, (p=.052)
Portman-Baracco A, BrazilArch Bronconeumol, 2020Doi.org/10.1016/j.arbres.2020.06.011OCTN-1408150 mcg/kgOverall mortality 1.4% vs. 8.5%, HR 0.2, 95% Cl 0.11-0.37

AP’s Hit Job: Why are they Attempting to Distort Reality?

TrialSite has spent several months, at founders’ expense, chronicling various research associated with COVID-19, and many other conditions. TrialSite has no agenda other than to bring clarity and transparency to research. This is an incredibly important mission as greater trust must be infused into the research process should it grow into clinical research as a care option, as we believe this seamless reality is the way forward to improve overall healthcare for all.

AP’s piece unfortunately wasn’t authored to convey the truth, hence it’s not even complete journalism but rather propaganda, or a representation of a particular material agenda. 

The author uses a comment from Amesh Adalja, a Johns Hopkins professor and respected infectious disease expert, who declared that all that has been put forth is “anecdotes” and studies not reflective of “gold standard” research. This is an unfortunate position given the truly substantial material amount of evidence accumulating that undoubtedly justifies NIH research support, for example. Dr. Adalja has earned significant revenues from pharmaceutical companies as reported here. Clearly, the research that TrialSite has chronicled and that FLCCC has focused on isn’t good enough for him. 

Over $2 billion of tax payer money has been injected into just three pharmaceutical companies to develop completely novel monoclonal antibodies. TrialSite applauds these great companies, including Regeneron, Eli Lilly and AstraZeneca. It’s frankly amazing what they have accomplished thus far in the midst of pandemic conditions. We have reported heavily on these important monoclonal antibody investigational products. We can also declare the NIH’s NIAID has accomplished some amazing things as well under the direction of Dr. Anthony Fauci during this pandemic. It was their scientists that helped co-discover the Lilly product, for example, in association with a spinoff from the University of British Columbia called Abellera.

Our position is that this is not an “either or” false dilemma type of situation. The marketplace needs multiple treatments at various price points, levels of accessibility and effectiveness given any number of conditions. This includes both novel, branded treatments as well as generic products. 

Hence, should there be compelling evidence for action, the importance of investigating the use of off-label, FDA approved drugs for helping to treat COVID-19 is of paramount concern. And we now have the case for ivermectin.

That is, the amount of data justifies such public research expenditure. In any other time, regulatory authorities would embrace this opportunity. After all, this was the very point of FDA’s Real World Evidence program in association with the 21st Century Care Cures Act.  

In the aggregate, dozens of studies—from case series to observational studies to randomized controlled trials—reveal plenty of data to justify serious investigations into ivermectin, one of many treatment considerations associated with COVID-19. This of course doesn’t contradict a major vaccination program but actually complements such an effort. While the vaccination programs ramp up, no person in their right mind would stand against safe and effective low-cost options to help combat a pandemic should they be proven safe and effective. Moving forward, AP journalists should do a little more homework before making such broad and conclusive claims.


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  1. It is extremely curious why the AP did not bother to research Ivermectin before dismissing it. Do they have a better medication at this time? Ivermectin is not meant to compete with the vaccine but to treat patients now. The mainstream media and the AP have taken similar paths about dismissing Ivermectin and one day the truth will come out as to what a huge mistake the mainstream media and the AP have made.

    1. Yes and the same thing happened with Hydroxychloroquine +zinc. The pandemic is not a pandemic. Think of how many people died needlessly around the world. Fauci and others should be jailed.

    1. India uses ivm. infact there has been aiims study on prophylaxis pre exposure after the above quoted news. besides several states are widely use ivm. no one believe the regulators who have no understanding of pharmacology and virology.

  2. I read that hit job piece of trash from the AP. It was only exceeded in it’s disgraceful exhibit of quasi-journalism by the NYTimes piece that disparaged the hearing even prior to the hearing taking place. TSN continues to speak the truth regarding all potential therapeutics against Covid-19. While your argument that there is room for novel patented therapeutics and affordable repurposed therapeutics is optimistic the reality is that the latter are seen as a threat to the investments and potential profits of the novel Big Pharma solutions. This is why public health agencies need to step up and fund the cheap repurposed drugs with the taxpayer dollars entrusted to them.

    Unfortunately, the only conclusion that can be drawn at this point is that Big Pharma has an iron clad grip over social media (through their add revenues), main stream media (add revenues), politicians of both parties (campaign funding/lobbying), and the NIH/FDA (complete infiltration)! The only hope for the average US Citizen is to find an outpatient doctor who refuses to allow the regulatory bodies to prohibit them from treating their patients. Ivermectin is an approved drug with an excellent safety profile which is perfectly legal to be prescribed off label at the discretion of a licensed physician. A discussion of the evidence and risk/benefits should be conducted between the doctor and their patient where informed consent is obtained. A list of doctors who still practice this way can be found in the following directory:


  3. Bravo, TSN!! Go get ‘em, these “ obfuscators” and pushers of UNtruths must be reigned in. They are harming and yes, even potentially causing the deaths of millions of citizens.

  4. A very thoughtful reasoned article. Thanks for your work on ivermectin and cofactors vs Covid-19. It is absolutely grotesque and irresponsible and does anger me that government and health authorities and mainstream media are ostentatiously lamenting the toll from Covid-19. They pretend to abhor the suffering and excess death toll in nursing homes, Indigenous and minority communities, and among the at-risk, public-facing workers, and many more, as well as the huge toll on the economy. Yet they have avoided investigating safe, simple alternatives with real scientific support and the backing of brilliant people in relevant fields – some, like the FLCCC doctors with more hands-on battle-scarred experience with this virus than any of us. We could have been celebrating this holiday season together while we wait for vaccines to get us to “herd immunity.”

  5. Great work, yet again. I also noticed that the AP does not state WHEN the statements by Amesh Adalja or Nasia Safdar were made. Given the mountain of evidence is growing at Hollywood set rates, this is vitally important info. Would be worth it for TrialSiteNews to contact them for a follow-up article. Get them on the record re. some tough questions. Like: is there any other medication that they recommend for prophylaxis? treatment? ER? ICU? long-haulers? and for prophylaxis, are they recommending “nothing” over ivermectin?

    1. That seems to be the plan. I’m not sure why Remdesevir is so highly touted yet does not show very promising results, yet others are so quickly sent packing?? SMH

  6. The pharmaceutical industry seems never to have seen an exotic, expensive treatment for a disease that it didn’t like if (and only if) that disease could make it alot of money. Coupled with the prospect of federally subsidies, some “solutions” are simply too profitable to pass up.

    It seems that every inhibitor, antiviral and monoclonal antibody is being tested. Perhaps this is the right approach to finding a treatment for those that have been exposed, infected and developing COVID. So much of the effort seems to bnae focused on critical and intensive care. Understandable but not suffcient.

    Case in point. I’m not at all sure what Remdesivir (or whatever fancy marketing name it has been given) is good for. It seems to failed in every trial. Extracted from drugs.com “It is not yet known if remdesivir is a safe and effective treatment for any condition.” Even so, lots of trials with showing questionable efficacy. One trial was even modified to fit the data and showed no impact on mortality.

    Knowledge of the remdesivir takes anyone who is paying attention to the threshold of complete cynicism. It’s a small wonder that even front line clinicians have shown a suprising skepticism towards the vaccine. Are they doing their homework? Are they showing battle fatigue or PTSD?

    In the final analysis, somehow clinicians need to learn to treat patients in earlier stages of the SARS COV2 infection in order to keep the disease from pregressing to critical stages. It does not appear that much progress has been made on that front. Early stage patients are sent home to wait it out. Or perhaps to apply for EUA or join a trial of the several moncoclonal antibody treatments.

    The FLCCC is focusing on the challenges of treating infections at all stages of the disease. I applaud TrialSite for bringing their efforts and a few other novel approaches to the attention of its readers.

  7. Thank you for providing this continuing coverage of ivermectin. It appears that there is a concerted effort at FDA to ignore Ivermectin, which apparently has demonstrated much better results in treating and preventing infection with this coronavirus than less effective, much more expensive drugs. I respect and support the doctors at FLCCC, but they face a daunting task.

  8. Following the news of clinical research and the undertaking by the FDA to scrutinize and be responsible for new vaccines and therapeutics is certainly not an easy task. Corporate meddling and dis-information are always possibilities when one is dealing with multi-billion dollar potentiality. All that being said, there is a little known company named Relief therapeutics out of Switzerland “that just happens to own the patent” on a peptide that is particularly suited to curing pulmonary disease. Covid is one of many indications where this drug, Aviptadil, is making outstanding outcomes commn place. The end of it’s Phase 3 clinical trials is upon us, let’s hope that all the problems associated with granting EUA/full access to actually efficacious drugs doesn’t get in the way of saving thusands of lives every week. Please do an article on this. This is not a covid cure, it is a pulmonary breakthrough. Read about it yourselves…. make the time, you will be glad you have

  9. I find it interesting that scientists are scratching their heads over the low rate of deaths from covid 19 that are being reported in Africa, while tests show that many have had the infection.
    Could it be that the high incidence of treatment for river blindness in Africa with Ivermectin has also treated the population for covid 19. It is not possible that the WHO has not noticed this phenomenon. It is just more evidence that big pharma has control of the agencies that are supposed to be regulating them. Hopefully, all those involved in this conspiracy will be brought to justice for their crimes against humanity.

  10. Is this Beatrice Dupuy a doctor? who is she to make statements on medicine? how many covid patients have these purported doctors treated? Are they? dose the senator know anything of medicine? take him to er and make him attend patients. please convey them all to shut up

  11. The recent Broward County retrospective study finding a large favorable effect in favor of IVM ( could this have been a steroid effect instead?), and Dr. Borody in Australia declaring IVM and Zinc with Doxycycline would control mild Covid— were the two studies that made me take a second look. Dr. Borody helped Barry Marshall prove that Helicobacter caused ulcers 5-10 years before the U.S. health system would even acknowledge their findings. Could we have a similar situation here? There are few animal studies because of the danger in working with Covid. (Syrian Golden Hamsters seem to be helped by IVM). Maybe observational studies will have to suffice with Covid for now in the height of this epidemic. However, some rather simple studies at this time like prophylaxis of half with low dose IVM vs no treatment in a population (prison ?), would be easy and ethical to rapidly do.
    Thanks to the FLCCC, and to Trial Site News for keeping this in the medical and public forefront.

  12. It is now pretty clear what is going on here. The quality of comments above are very high. This forum is not yet overrun by trolls. I hope the moderators of TrialSiteNews are prepared for that coming deluge. I completely agree with the statement by Paul Elkins. Others also have it right. It’s pretty clear what’s going on.

    Clearly some citizen-journalism is called for. I’m open to discussing next steps. I’m Bruce Stephenson [email protected] . I’m a Canadian in Canada. Please put keyword “TrialSiteNews Ivermectin” in the headline. We need a virtual place to discuss this issue in detail, publicly and transparently. Perhaps that’s TrialSiteNews, perhaps not. I’m open to suggestions.

  13. (Not for publication:

    And what are the newest studies they have looked at? Have they looked at new study x?y?z?

    Contact info:
    [email protected]

    I’ll reach out / make the calls on your behalf – with your OK.

    FYI (This is an aside)
    Amesh seems to have also recently written some stinky journalism: https://www.healio.com/news/primary-care/20201130/sarscov2-infectiousness-peaks-in-first-week-after-symptom-onset which I have critiqued at https://www.researchgate.net/publication/346098099_SARS-CoV-2_SARS-CoV_and_MERS-CoV_viral_load_dynamics_duration_of_viral_shedding_and_infectiousness_a_systematic_review_and_meta-analysis/comments. If I recall correctly, peak infectiousness occurs BEFORE symptom onset, per FLCCC and others. He doesn’t even cite the paper the article is about. I found it: DOI: 10.1016/S2666-5247(20)30172-5. HE HAS GROSSLY MISREPRESENTED ITS FINDINGS. I find the (corrected) Nature Medicine article more compelling: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41591-020-0869-5 “We observed the highest viral load in throat swabs at the time of symptom onset, and inferred that infectiousness peaked on or before symptom onset. [Based on case data analysis,] we estimated that 44% (95% confidence interval, 30–57%) of secondary cases were infected during the index cases’ presymptomatic stage”

  14. Does power, politics, and money influence which research gets funded in the midst of the pandemic? Surprised anyone still has to ask. But most decent humans are always suffering from broad spectrum, collective shock that other humans could be so evil.

  15. Anyone have the time and inclination to look into filing a complaint against the AP, for violating the International Fact-Checking Network principles? There appear to be multiple egregious violations. Particularly relevant excerpts, IMO, with sources, follow. Paging
    The International Fact-Checking Network does not intervene in specific complaints – those are to be handled by the signatory & any statutory press regulation body it may be signed up to in its own country.

    If a reader believes the organization is violating the Code of Principles, they can inform the International Fact-Checking Network and we will look at such claims.

    The International Fact-Checking Network will publish a report each year on the operation of the code, including complaints received and responses, providing evidence on the level of trust users can have in the verified signatories.

    Signatory organizations fact-check claims using the same standard … [and] follow the same process for every fact check and let the evidence dictate the conclusions.

    2.3 The applicant discloses in its fact checks relevant interests of the sources it quotes where the reader might reasonably conclude those interests could influence the accuracy of the evidence provided. …
    2.4 The applicant … [does not] advocate for or against any policy positions on any issues save for transparency and accuracy in public debate.

    3.2 The applicant uses the best available primary, not secondary, sources of evidence wherever suitable primary sources are available.
    3.3 The applicant checks all key elements of claims against more than one named source of evidence …

    5.3 The applicant sets out in its fact checks relevant evidence that appears to support the claim as well as relevant evidence that appears to undermine it.
    5.5 The applicant seeks where possible to contact those who made the claim to seek supporting evidence …

    Signatories publish their corrections policy and follow it scrupulously. They correct clearly and transparently in line with the corrections policy, seeking so far as possible to ensure that readers see the corrected version.
    AP Fact Check IS a signatory.
    See https://ifcncodeofprinciples.poynter.org/application/public/ap-fact-check/626B4457-F907-6870-2DEB-084E3FE4D453 for lots more relevant info.

    The IFCN notes at https://ifcncodeofprinciples.poynter.org/storage/docs/IFCN-s-Code-of-Principles-Transparency-Report-for-2020.pdf?v=2 :
    It is also important to note that the overwhelming number of complaints received are not necessarily related to the code but more about individual fact checks that those organizations have submitted to Facebook’s Third Party Fact-Checking Program. …

    P.S. At https://www.facebook.com/business/help/997484867366026?id=673052479947730 , [email protected] is listed as the relevant contact for that program.