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Reflections on ivermectin, politics and science

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Who’s being conned? The Mirror or us all?

Reflections on the article “Conman selling horse drugs for Covid as anti vaxxers lure Brits on web forum” published on 2nd October 2021 on Mirror.co.uk

This article by Geraldine McKelvie, Jacob Dirnhuber and Dan Hall sought to expose the activities of an individual who engaged in selling ivermectin to people via a group on Telegram, on the black market.

The British Ivermectin Recommendation Development Group (BiRD) does not condone such trade, and we are critical of the outlandish statements reported to have been made to the reporters by the social media group admins.

But what has gone wrong with journalism about ivermectin and covid?

This article is a telling example of what has gone amiss in the world of journalism in the context of Covid-19.

The authors of this piece must have gone through some effort to seek out this individual in order to expose his activities and the story certainly will have attracted some attention. We understand, it is their job to do this.

Unfortunately, for the rest of the article, the writers present a one-sided (and inaccurate) portrayal of what ivermectin is. A small amount of research would have revealed to them that their statements about ivermectin were incorrect.

We find this happens a lot across the media; highly partisan coverage deploying viscerally emotive terms that serve no other purpose than to cause division and shut down any form of constructive debate.

We spend much of our time rebutting these misleading articles. Our corrections have never been challenged by the authors, but of course the PR damage is done by then. The mainstream media pen is indeed far mightier than our pen.

These journalists may have uncovered a con, but this article is typical of the media conning everyone else .

Ivermectin is one of the world’s most effective medicines for humans.

(yes humans)

If you have only read mainstream media articles during the pandemic (including this one in the Mirror) you would be forgiven for believing that ivermectin was purely designed for animals; and sane humans should stand clear! If you do think that then you really need to read on.

The truth is very different and quite remarkable. Ivermectin was discovered in nature some 45 years ago and found to be extremely effective in eradicating parasites diseases from people. Tens of millions of people in Africa and elsewhere are eternally grateful that ivermectin is most definitely a human medicine. The scientists who developed it deservedly won a Nobel prize.

However, that is just one of the uses for ivermectin. It has also been known for years that it has antiviral and anti-inflammatory properties [1][2] [3] and it is therefore no surprise that it features in early Covid treatment protocols from expert clinicians worldwide[4]. Apart from the accumulating evidence base supporting its use in Covid-19, we would like to encourage journalists and readers to examine ivermectin’s epidemiological data that is available to date.

India, the greatest ivermectin covid 19 success story.

And you have never heard about it.

August 2020
The government of the Indian region of Uttar Pradesh (UP), a huge state with a population of 200 million[5], gave the go-ahead to include Ivermectin as prophylaxis for close contacts of COVID-19 patients, health care workers, and the treatment of the patients[6].

May 2021
MSN news reported that UP’s Director General, Medical and Health Services had stated that the “timely introduction of Ivermectin since the first wave has helped the state maintain a relatively low positivity rate despite its high population density”[7].

September 12th
34 Pradesh districts were declared Covid-free[8]. According to the government of Uttar Pradesh, “the daily positivity rate… is 0.01% and the overall recovery rate is 98.7%[9].

98.7% Take a moment to let that sink in.

How about Mexico City whose conurbation of 22 million is another interesting example? After a spike in cases at the end of 2020, the city’s Ministry of Health created an ivermectin-based home treatment kit[10] By May 2021, Mexico’s Ministry of Health and the Mexican Social Security Institute pronounced that hospitalizations were down by as much as 76%”[11].

Ivermectin is safe, really safe!

The common defamatory trope trotted out in this article and always levelled against ivermectin is that is it ‘dangerous’ if higher than recommended dosages are taken. Think about that claim for a second. You really don’t need a medical degree to know overdosing is dangerous for any medicine. But uniquely among all medicines, ivermectin is thrashed with this disingenuous stick.

To learn about ivermectin’s actual safety profile (it’s 100 x safer than aspirin), journalists might want to consult an expert review report of 500+ sources and papers on ivermectin’s medical safety as “hundreds of millions of human subjects have been treated with ivermectin for curative or prophylactic purposes worldwide over 3 decades, (…) the author concludes that the safety profile of ivermectin has so far been excellent” [12].

Needless to say, the recent alleged reports about hospitalisations due to misuse of (animal) ivermectin have already been debunked[13] and it stands to question why journalists are continuing to push this false narrative.

Ask the doctor!

Still unclear about ivermectin’s potential to help to end the pandemic? Why not speak to actual frontline physicians, such as Darrell de Mello, an Indian physician of 3 decades, who has been treating in excess of 6000 patients, 24000 family members, and 12000 people for prophylaxis via his telemedicine practice? : Darrell reports that “Ivermectin has been the only drug that prevents the viral replication of the disease[14].

Not an alternative to vaccinations.

BiRD does not propose for ivermectin to be used as an alternative to vaccinations. However, an enquiring journalist may want to investigate the reasons why so many people prefer to put their trust in a 40-year-old medication that has a near impeccable safety-record and is scientifically proven to prevent and treat Covid-19, rather than trust one of the current mRNA injections that have been rapidly developed.

There is a much bigger story that is simply not being reported.

Here are some questions that journalists really ought to be asking:

Why do people have to turn to the black market in order to gain access to a medication that, in many parts of the world, is easily available over the counter?

And why, after 18 months, has there been relatively little investment made into exploring the value of treating a Covid-19 infection as early as possible, with tried and tested, safe and affordable, repurposed medications, such as ivermectin, in order to keep people out of hospital?

Furthermore, should journalists not be asking why normal scientific debate and evidence on this topic is being aggressively suppressed?

And why would highly respectable medical and research professionals be risking their hard-earned reputations to try to provide a solution to the pandemic – with absolutely no financial gain?

We are certain that finding answers to these questions are way harder than setting up a sting on a trader.

But they certainly warrant some exploration and we would welcome the opportunity to provide our point of view and evidence in the context of an honest and open debate.

References

[1] Rizzo E. Ivermectin, antiviral properties and COVID-19: a possible new mechanism of action. Naunyn Schmiedebergs Arch Pharmacol. 2020;393(7):1153-1156. doi:10.1007/s00210-020-01902-5

[2] Heidary F, Gharebaghi R. Ivermectin: a systematic review from antiviral effects to COVID-19 complementary regimen. J Antibiot (Tokyo). 2020;73(9):593-602. doi:10.1038/s41429-020-0336-z

[3] Jans DA, Wagstaff KM. Ivermectin as a Broad-Spectrum Host-Directed Antiviral: The Real Deal?. Cells. 2020;9(9):2100. Published 2020 Sep 15. doi:10.3390/cells9092100

[4] https://bird-group.org/protocols/ (Accessed: 4th October 2021).

[5] https://worldpopulationreview.com/world-cities/uttar-pradesh-population (Accessed: 4th October 2021).

[6] https://www.msn.com/en-in/news/other/uttar-pradesh-government-says-early-use-of-ivermectin-helped-to-keep-positivity-deaths-low/ar-BB1gDp5U (Accessed: 4th October 2021).

[7] https://www.msn.com/en-in/news/other/uttar-pradesh-government-says-early-use-of-ivermectin-helped-to-keep-positivity-deaths-low/ar-BB1gDp5U (Accessed: 4th October 2021).

[8] https://newsonair.gov.in/News?title=34-Uttar-Pradesh-districts-declared-Covid-19-free&id=425994

[9] https://twitter.com/UPGovt/status/1437994892177776645/photo/1 (Accessed: 4th October 2021).

[10] https://principia-scientific.com/covid-deaths-plunge-after-mexico-city-introduces-ivermectin/ (Accessed: 4th October 2021).

[11] https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/after-mexico-city-introduced-ivermectin-plan-covid-hospitalizations-and-deaths-disappeared/ (Accessed: 4thOctober 2021).

[12] https://www.medincell.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/03/Clinical_Safety_of_Ivermectin-March_2021.pdf (Accessed: 4th October 2021).

[13] https://www.westernjournal.com/ivermectin-hit-piece-debunked-hospital-steps-forward-truth/ (Accessed: 4th October 2021).

[14] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EdKgxv5e2kk (Accessed: 4th October 2021).

[15] https://worldcouncilforhealth.org/resources/covid-19-and-pregnancy-guidance-for-healthy-moms-and-babies/ (Accessed: 4th October 2021).

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