Wikipedia purports to be an objective, non-biased online knowledge repository seeking to “create and distribute a free encyclopedia of the highest possible quality to every single person on the planet in their own language.” Undoubtedly, that information should be truthful and as unbiased as possible. For those tracking the ivermectin studies during the pandemic, Wiki starts to look anything but unbiased. A casual perusal of “COVID-19 Misinformation” is a telling place to start. Under ivermectin, the Wiki authors dis the existing meta-analyses evidencing positive ivermectin findings. They argue that based on one analysis, the meta-analysis used at least in part by the World Health Organization to track ivermectin during the pandemic has “Serious methodological limitations” and thus casts doubt on that important work. The Wiki authors turn their attention on Dr. Pierre Kory and Paul E. Marik of the notorious Front Line COVID-19 Critical Care Alliance (FLCCC), declaring that while their meta-analysis was initially accepted by Frontiers Media, it was subsequently rejected. But how come the Wiki authors didn’t share the truth that the meta-analysis was published in the American Journal of Therapeutics? Why would the Wiki authors exclude the BIRD Group ivermectin meta-analysis also included by peer-reviewed American Journal of Therapeutics? Why didn’t Wiki’s experts share with the world that the National Institutes of Health COVID-19 Treatment Guidelines Panel invited the same FLCCC group, that is the ones they lump in with cranks, cooks, and conspiracy loons, along with Dr. Andrew Hill, to share with the panel their findings? Or, for that matter, share with the world that just a couple of weeks after that meeting (again with FLCCC and Dr. Hill) that the NIH Treatment Guidelines Panel changed their ivermectin guidance from a negative (only for research) to a neutral position (not enough data to recommend against or for)?
Interesting how selective Wiki has become during the pandemic….while it was able to secure all content from the World Health Organization in a deal back in October 2020, the authors didn’t bother to share that that same global health agency (again the WHO) has been watching ivermectin carefully. In fact, Dr. Maria Van Kerkhove went on the record at a February 2021 media briefing that the WHO, at the time, had peered into the data associated with 1,500 study patients in 11 studies and that while there wasn’t sufficient data for them to make any recommendations, there was most certainly some promising trials and associated data. WHO emphasized that they would continue to monitor the situation. Why on earth wouldn’t that and all the rest above be mentioned unless there’s an explicit goal to completely discredit this possible therapeutic option, and the various researchers looking into the matter.
The point here is that the world’s communication channels, from the social tech giants such as Facebook and Twitter to fundamental knowledge repositories such as Wikipedia, exhibit an anti-ivermectin bias, by portraying the facts in a way that as it turns out becomes misleading by itself.
We ask the question, is it misleading to omit whole pieces of truth? We think it is. TrialSite was set up in late 2018 to track pharma studies with an aim of bringing more transparency to the whole clinical trials processes with a particular emphasis on the trial site. We appreciate pharma, the breakthroughs, and the medicines that many take for granted today. Patient/volunteer shortages are a continuous problem for clinical trials. TrialSite’s original premise, that more dynamic and participatory research—with greater patient engagement—could over time lead to an acceleration of key medicines. While pharma may think they are doing a good job of “engagement” with patients and the general public, we beg to differ. We think that true participatory research follows a formula starting with awareness-raising but must include research transparency and accessibility of information followed by bi-directional engagement.
Frankly, as the pandemic commenced, we had no interest in ivermectin other than finding it interesting that an existing repurposed drug could potentially help treat people. We knew that much research would proceed but what we didn’t expect was not only the incredible resistance to this research from all major media sources but also the open hostility directed at any group that publishes such findings. Wikipedia itself is a good example of lumping ivermectin in the misinformation campaign without any other factual points of view. This has led us to believe that perhaps regulatory capture reins in the age of COVID-19. Interestingly, among all the regulatory agencies Wiki offers as examples for regulatory capture, conspicuously absent is the FDA.