Opining on the Nature of Experts
I've seen so much conflicting information on IVM (and HCQ) that I have tuned it out. There is too much noise. But two points relating to motivations of the players involved nag at me:
1. Hospital bureaucrats are prohibiting doctors from prescribing IVM to patients despite it being one of the safest, most commonly used medications around. So what harm could it do? Why not let doctors be doctors, particularly in a public health emergency?
2. I accept that there is some ego involved but the FLCCC doctors have far more to lose than to gain by advocating for early treatment protocols using IVM. Some are at risk of losing their medical licenses. What is their gain? I suppose being seen as some maverick doctor can perhaps be good for a book deal but the ability to continue to practice medicine seems like a far better bet, career-wise.
Nobody has been able to answer those questions to my satisfaction in a manner that supports the anti-IVM side.
Here's my non-expert, common-sense, read some articles/did my own research take:
1. HCQ - One of the early issues for serious cases of covid was this "cytokine storm" where the body's immune system starts attacking itself. One aspect of HCQ is that it is an immuno-suppressant. So if one were to enter a cytokine storm (which was not a common occurrence) then high doses of HCQ might help.
Is HCQ a cure? No. Could it help? In certain cases. Do you want to take HCQ if you just find out you have covid? Probably not, since it's immuno-suppressive properties might actually make things worse. Will it stop you from getting or transmitting covid? No
2. Ivermectin - One aspect of Ivermectin is that it also seems to have anti-inflammatory properties. Covid causes serious inflammation in the body. Taking Ivermectin will help relieve that inflammation and make the person who takes it feel better, and thus think that it is actually fighting the virus.
Is Ivermectin a cure? No. Could it help? It might make you feel better. Will it hurt you to take it? No, and might even kill any intestinal worms you didn't know you had. Will it stop you from getting or transmitting covid? No
3. MRNA Vax - A new trick on trying to develop anti-bodies by using only a piece of the virus instead of an inert or weaker, adjacent virus (like the smallpox vaccine).
Is it a cure? No. Will it hurt you to get it? No, but you'll probably feel sick for a few days. Will it stop you from getting or transmitting covid? No. It helped quite a bit with earlier strains, but I think the false sense of security people who got vaccinated had was what led to the delta and omicron outbreaks. People assumed they could not get covid because they were vaxxed, so once they caught it they assumed they had a cold, or summer allergies, or something like that, and went their merry way, infecting everyone they came in contact with.
Of course, all these discussions of treatments have to deal with the most important issue, which is the overall mortality rate. Covid (let's call it "Alpha") had a mortality rate somewhere below 0.5% (if I can remember correctly), which is about 4 times worse than the flu. As the virus mutated, the contagiousness went way up while the virility went way down. Now it is essentially the flu.
We were always going to have x% of the population die from the introduction of a brand new virus into the ecosystem. It sucks, but that's how it is. The % that died from covid, though, is far less than the % that died from the Spanish flu 100 years ago.
I have had covid twice, and I am fine. Never got vaxxed. Never took HCQ. Never took Ivermectin. Ibuprofin and some extra sleep was all I needed.
I think, as the author states, that this all got caught in the tribal culture wars and got completely distorted out of control. I am just glad it happened with a virus as weak as covid. God help us if we face a serious new illness that has a 30% mortality rate or something. We'll all be screwed.
Excellent piece here. Thank you. My business is all about challenging experts (which is often ourselves too) so I’ll be passing this around.
We’re more of us truly like Spock. Haha!
Your synopsis here is helpful! I gave up on following the whole IVM thing awhile ago along with the vaccination stuff. There’s just too much noise and ego involved along with rapidly-changing information. Over the course of the back and forth between Alex and Scott, I generally felt the two were acting in good faith.
Your bit on engineering ethics really rang a bell. Fellow engineer here (although decided not to obtain a PE due to a slight career/industry shift) and have seen the same shenanigans up close and personal so in that sense I’m a bit more of an outsider but with some of the unique knowledge.
I suspect the CDC response was far more primal and fear driven than a Y>X analysis process. Public Health was vaccine-maximalist and terrified of "homeopathic and herbal quackery" in the face of "the next great pandemic" for at least a decade before COVID. The experts saw "the inevitable lethal quackery!" pop up when hydroxychloroquine and ivermectin hit the news, and instantly fired off their preprogrammed "quash the quackery!" circuits. There was no expert consideration in the first place, it was all reflex. By the time evidence started coming in, psychological consistency and the precise status games you describe here were in play - they could not be wrong because they could not be wrong.
Excellent article, thanks. Given how varied our immune systems really are it's not surprising that various treatment modalities might produce confusing data particularly given the typical small sample sizes. We humans after all have managed to survive countless virus attacks over eons of evolution. From the UK Challenge trials we knew from the start that some of us were totally immune as were nearly half those who were intentionally exposed to the infection. Moreover, their immune systems were so effective that the virus never was able to replicate. We know that because all the volunteers were carefully monitored via PCR and blood samples analyzed throughout the trial for the duration. Those with effective immune systems never developed an antibody response. Early on from the Princess cruise data we know a elderly couple where the husband became infected and his wife was never infected. We know that some of us did get infected and had mild to little illness.
OTOH, some of us were killed by the infection. In many cases it was perhaps the medical intervention that caused the deaths simply because doctors had to learn the hard way what worked. Further because of the huge fear promotions many medical staff were frightened themselves and wary of exposure to 'certain' death. And we were told even fairly young people with no comorbidities were dying.
As the prospects for a savior vaccine arrived that was the mandated solution for relief from this crushing fear. And treatment possibilities had to be better than the miracle vaccines. Great efforts backed by an awful lot of money were poured into rejection of alternatives.
We have no real idea why some of us were never vulnerable in the first place. For those the vaccines may have been the exact wrong thing to do. We still don't understand why some became quite ill and others have a mild flu-like illness with considerable variance. We live in a big data world with stunning ability to analyze data yet not collect that data. We do believe that those with adequate amounts of Vit D were not among the dead, but we really were not collecting that data either.
Bottom line, there clearly are repurposed drugs that might help if only to boost the immune system. Given the variability of the intrinsic immune system the degree of boost varies as well. We do know the vaccines have adverse effects in some, again part of that immune system variability that we haven't analyzed. It may even be true that the vaccines have harmed some whereas little evidence of harm from properly used repurposed drugs have been reported.
Off to find the popcorn.
"Social psychologists have long known that getting people to publicly commit to a belief is a great way to freeze it in place, making it resistant to change. The stronger the commitment, the greater the resistance.”
Excerpt From Superforecasting, by Philip E. Tetlock, p. 92 (citing Charles A. Kiesler, The Psychology of Commitment: Experiments Linking Behavior to Belief (New York: Academic Press, 1971).
Ceasing fire to pop popcorn is fine for now. What about when the river floods?
I won't say you're obliged to risk more of your reputation on this case as it stands, or Martinos on his, but the battle surely isn't over. When the Ogeechee floods into areas fraudulently marked safe, you are obliged to make sure they don't get away with it.
Had Covid for the second time back in January. I was able to get ivermectin and tried it for two days. Didn't do anything for my exhaustion, but it helped me have to use the restroom every five minutes.
I wrote up my thoughts on IVM last year : https://www.notion.so/yevaud/Treatment-for-COVID-19-e052c9d829d34bc49eb6a2e1d2ad8e63 In short : I disagree with both ACX and Marinos.
The “actually, it’s the worm treatment that decreases fatalities” hypothesis is far too clever, and not supported by the data once you correct for the fake studies in third world countries.
On the other hand, after months of watching Marinos make obviously fake claims that IVM is more effective than a vaccine, I simply blocked him. I won’t engage with his arguments unless someone makes it worth my while.
Regardless, it is a moot point. No reasonable person could believe IVM is the more effective Covid treatment available today.