By Mary Beth Pfeiffer
After months of denial, the U.S. government has acknowledged that the COVID-19 catastrophe may indeed have originated in a leak from a laboratory in Wuhan, China.
We are now allowed to talk about what until May 13 was a debunked conspiracy theory. Like many facets of the pandemic of our age, Wuhan was censored with the dreaded “disinformation” label, on Facebook and just about everywhere else. Not anymore.
This commentary isn’t about the media’s wholesale buy-in of a possibly mythical pangolin that caused a pandemic.
This is about other potential Wuhans — issues that social and mainstream media have put to rest and closed to honest examination. We are told: Vaccines are safe. Lockdowns are just. We must protect, and be protected from, children. All those statements should be open to debate — and dispute.
I have spent the last eight months attacking another insidious COVID myth. It holds that there is no early treatment.
This actual disinformation has led to deaths and debility. In reporting it, the guardians of media have endowed public figures and institutions with wisdom they surely did not and do not have. Once definitive, Dr. Anthony Fauci of the National Institutes of Health and Dr. Tedros Ghebreyesus of the World Health Organization have reversed themselves on a potential Wuhan lab leak.
Then: “Extremely unlikely,” WHO said after a cursory probe.
Now: “Not convinced” the virus came from nature, said Fauci.
What else might they have gotten wrong?
Just months into the pandemic, research suggested that a handful of approved generic drugs could potentially quell COVID and save lives. By late last year, a safe drug that won its developers the Nobel Prize in Medicine in 2015 had risen to the top: ivermectin.
Fifty-eight trials now show this 40-year-old drug, off patent since 1997, greatly reduces the ravages of COVID. It lessens severity, lowers hospitalization, and saves lives. Significantly, it also prevents infection.
That few Americans know this is a direct result of two things: First is an unreasonably high, and shifting, bar set by the NIH, FDA and WHO, which collectively reject, cherry-pick or ignore what is now a trove of studies. Second is a media campaign that upholds the anti-IVM dictum, using charged language – from “controversial” to “snake oil” — that makes doctors, medical journals and other media fearful of backlash.
In a case of government propaganda, the Food and Drug Administration actually warned against ivermectin last spring, based, it said, on “multiple” people sickened by an animal formulation, which turned out to be four. Moreover, FDA admitted it “hadn’t studied” the considerable data then available on treatment with the human form.
As government failed us, mainstream and social media did something unique in modern history. Google, YouTube, Facebook, BBC, Washington Post, Associated Press, Reuters and others conspired to shape content and coverage in the government’s image.
They called it, ironically, the Trusted News Initiative. It existed to ferret out falsehoods and declare certainty in a rapidly changing information landscape. The media became a COVID fact-checking apparatus, devoid of nuance or meaningful investigation.
In the wake of Wuhan relevations, some outlets are now correcting the record.
Vaccine OR Treatment
From the start, there was no room for both vaccines and treatments under the statute that has allowed millions of Americans to be vaccinated with an unlicensed, largely unstudied substance. The key mechanism on which this turned was the vaccine’s “Emergency Use Authorization,” which can be granted by the FDA only if there is “no adequate, approved, and available alternative to the product for diagnosing, preventing or treating” a disease.
But even as the vaccine was minimally tested and maximally hyped, there was an alternative. Ivermectin.
“It’s the most effective antiviral agent we have,” Dr. Paul E. Marik, co-founder of Front Line COVID-19 Critical Care Alliance, said in a conversation for this article. “If the WHO was to say that or the NIH — were they to approve ivermectin — the EUA for all the vaccines would become invalid.”
Ivermectin, said FLCCC president Dr. Pierre Kory, “would kneecap the entire global vaccine policy around the world.”
The choice was always vaccines OR treatment. Not both. Operation Warp Speed spent three times as much — $18 billion — to develop a vaccine as it did to develop a treatment. Moreover, money for therapeutics went largely toward costly new drugs, some of which failed and others still in development.
The media did not question the oversight of existing drugs and emerging research. Instead, it became an arm of government in a shared single fixed goal: Vaccinate quickly and at any expense.
A Year Lost
America’s COVID Czar Anthony Fauci predicted in July of 2020 that an antiviral would be available by that fall. Then, last December he said his “highest priority” was a quick-acting COVID drug. In reality, NIH waited until April 29, 2021 to announce a large study of safety-tested, FDA-approved drugs. That was roughly 400 days – and nearly 600,000 U.S. deaths — into the pandemic.
Forget a few dozen studies – most from other countries — that universally agreed on ivermectin’s efficacy. Forget a peer-reviewed meta-analysis that showed 83 percent fewer deaths. Forget the experiences of hundreds of real treating doctors in the U.S. and around the world.
Viewed in the kindest possible way, that delay, that lost year, wasn’t so much intentional as institutionalized. U.S. treatments are driven by the integral and outsized influence of pharmaceutical money on the regulatory process, and no one was putting up $20 million for what are considered, questionably, the “gold-standard” of evidence-based medicine: randomized control trials.
Dr. Robert Malone, a vaccine researcher and inventor of mRNA technology, went bankrupt trying to repurpose old antiviral drugs to treat the Zika virus in the 2010s. “The investment community had zero interest because there’s no way to make a buck,” he said in a must-see podcast on pandemic missteps. “The financial incentives around drug repurposing are such that it doesn’t get done.”
Ivermectin is the penicillin of COVID, particularly when combined with other generics like fluvoxamine and the vilified but effective hydroxychloroquine. Now, however, as at the start of COVID, newly infected patients are still denied treatment and turned back into the community, often to infect others.
As Malone put it, “We’re sending people home and telling them not to come back until your lips are blue.”
“Were this a hundred years ago,” a Pennsylvania ophthalmologist named Neil Chesin told me months ago, “and Ivermectin was available, it would be used everywhere.”
Media Sees No Evil
The dereliction of duty, by the New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal (with the Wuhan exception), Associated Press, USA Today and other media giants, likely cost many thousands of lives. The questions that were never asked, the issues never investigated, include:
–In April 2020, Fauci endorsed the high-priced anti-viral remdesivir, calling it the “standard of care” before the first study was published. Did anyone in those investigative powerhouses question the financial ties between the NIH and the drug’s maker, Gilead? Did they care that the study showed no mortality improvement, and the trial’s endpoint was changed to improve benefits so marginal that the WHO advises against the drug?
–Hospitals vehemently oppose ivermectin, forcing some patients’ families to obtain court orders to get it. Does this comport with their liberal use of treatments like monoclonal antibodies and convalescent plasma that are still considered experimental? Just 19 deaths were associated with ivermectin in 20 years; 503 were linked to remdesivir in its first year. Annualized, that’s roughly a 500-fold higher toll for remdesivir. Why is ivermectin — safe, FDA-approved — not used off-label, especially in dying ICU patients, when the potential harm is miniscule?
–The COVID pandemic has led to the most widespread, government-sanctioned wave of censorship and authoritarian message control in American history. Rather than fighting this, the media carries the water. When Merck disingenuously disavowed ivermectin’s safety — a drug it gave away by the billion in a life-saving campaign against parasites — widespread media reports failed to note the company’s potential to make big money on patented new drugs on which it was already working.
–More importantly, the evidence in favor of ivermectin aligns so uniformly that the odds of it being wrong are infinitesimal. Why not read the studies? Why not talk to doctors who have used the drug and patients who have taken it?
The unholy alliance of media and money was foreshadowed at a 2016 conference on preparation for the next SARS epidemic. There, Peter Daszak, whose NIH funding for virus research in China is under scrutiny, emphasized the need to use the press. He is quoted in the proceedings:
“A key driver is the media, and the economics follow the hype. We need to use that hype to our advantage … Investors will respond if they see profit at the end of process, Daszak stated.”
So far, the hype has prevailed. But it can be wrong. Can we now talk about ivermectin?
Note that views expressed in this opinion article are the writer’s personal views and not necessarily those of TrialSite.