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My Replies to Some Contentious "Letters to the Editor" Attacking Ivermectin
Matt Walsh, an "old-school journalist" is also the Publisher of the Jacksonville Daily Record. In August he wrote an opinion piece supporting ivermectin. Readers crushed him for it. I came in to help.
A contact of mine just reminded me how much they enjoyed my replies to the angry “Letters to the Editor” sent in to the Jacksonville Daily Record after Matt Walsh published his opinion piece. So, I figured I would share them again just for fun.
Your article pushing Ivermictin as a “cure” or “preventive” or whatever for COVID was an abomination.
There has been a large increase in calls to the Poison Control Line from people taking that compound. It is not approved and has not been shown to be effective against viruses, in particular against COVID-19 or its variants.
You did a disservice to the community for writing that drivel, which will hurt more than help. Vaccines should be promoted as the only proven way to stop this pandemic.
I hope that soon you will publish an article retracting your views on Ivermectin and set the record straight.
EMERITUS PROFESSOR OF MICROBIOLOGY/IMMUNOLOGY
Dr. Pierre Kory: The most easily quantifiable way to describe the indefensible lack of “approval” for ivermectin in COVID-19 is to note the actual amount of supportive clinical trials evidence in COVID-19, both randomized (31) and observational (32), including more than 26,000 patients with the near majority of all studies finding at least some important benefit with treatment.
Then compare that evidence to the average amount of evidence relied upon to formulate the treatment guidelines of the Infectious Disease Society of America (IDSA):
In a 2010 review of 65 of its most recent guidelines, the IDSA found that 50% of guideline recommendations were made without any trials evidence in support and were termed “expert opinion only.”
Another 31% of guideline recommendations were based solely on observational studies, while only 16% of all recommendations were based on at least one randomized controlled trial.
In other words, the number of legitimate, clinical trials for ivermectin have been far superior to those for the IDSA’s treatment guidelines.
Furthermore, ivermectin was approved for the treatment of scabies by the WHO based only on 10 randomized controlled trials, including 852 patients and despite the fact that the trials found ivermectin, although effective were actually inferior to the permethrin cream it was being tested against. It essentially won approval based largely on its low cost and ease of administration.
I cannot recall the last pandemic of scabies that cratered health care systems and societies across the world. Yet, the WHO was able to arrive at such a bold recommendation without the pressure of a pandemic, given it was based on such a seemingly small evidence base.
We also emphasize that the NIH Guidelines for COVID-19 have multiple strength levels of recommendation available to them, from weak/“consider” to making use near mandatory. The public should demand from the IDSA and NIH credible explanations for this monstrous anomaly of not arriving at even a weak recommendation for ivermectin, one of the safest, inexpensive and widely available medicines known to man.
What you are witnessing is just the most absurd example of a decades-long war on re-purposed (a.k.a. “non-profitable”) medicines.
Finally, no credible physician or journalist recommends that people self-prescribe with veterinary forms of ivermectin. Experts such as the Front Line COVID-19 Critical Care Alliance have been working tirelessly for months to persuade the public health agencies to provide more specific guidance to physicians on using ivermectin to treat patients with COVID-19.
The increasing calls to poison control centers are a direct result of their failure to provide such guidance and education to U.S citizens.
Which would you prefer to believe? Your unsubstantiated piece, or this science-based and logically argued piece refuting your claim:
In any event, my point is that you are abusing your position by espousing a treatment protocol that is not fully supported by the scientific community.
This can only serve to discourage your readers from doing what is proven to stop the COVID-19 virus, and that is GET THE VACCINE!
Also, look at this from the Food & Drug Administration regarding your right-winged conspiracy theory “miracle drug” you were peddling in another one of your horrible opinion pieces:
Why don’t you keep these type of harmful BS stories to your Facebook and other social media cesspool groups instead of putting the local community at risk.
You owe us a retraction piece and instead should be pushing the community to be vaccinated against COVID with the authorized drugs that are proven to work.
We all know Florida and Manatee County are going through a health care crisis dealing with delta due to unvaccinated individuals. Do better for your community and promote facts or just stick to stories about the new restaurant or traffic light that needs installation.
Please just stop spreading misinformation. Bottom line: Not enough evidence, so stop promoting these miracle drugs. You could get someone killed.
What happened to high journalistic standards? At a minimum share the counter argument — FDA doesn’t recommend.
Dr. Pierre Kory: Although epidemiologic associations between adoption of a medicine into state or national treatment guidelines and the subsequent rapid decline in case counts and deaths can never be used as definitive “proof” that a medicine is effective in treating the pandemic disease, such correlations can be viewed as a compelling adjunctive sources of evidentiary support. This is particularly so when the timing of adoption and the rapid decreases in cases and deaths is so reproducible from states, countries, or regions when widespread adoption can be accurately “timed.” Examples of these tight “temporal associations” can be identified from analyses of publicly available data paired with the timing of ivermectin adoption among numerous countries and states around the globe including Peru, India, Argentina, and Mexico to name just a few. Further, although again not definitive, support can be found from what could be considered “natural experiments” which arose in India when comparing case and death data from Indian states with widespread adoption of ivermectin to those that prohibited use.
A family member of mine had a serious case of scabies at a local nursing home in Jcksonville. The nursing home wanted to give her ivermectin. After reading the possible side effects and how those effects related to my family member’s health, I told them to not give her the medicine.
Instead, they ignored my request. As a result of one single dose, my family member was admitted to a hospital and almost died.
Ivermectin is not a cure for COVID. The advice of the majority of physicians with years of education and experience about Ivermectin needs to be heeded, not just a handful of doctors hand-picked to support your non-medical opinion.
These types of COVID misinformation kill folks.
I would like to see you take down this article before someone takes Ivermectin at your unprofessional advice, becomes severely ill and possibly dies.
Dr. Pierre Kory: In nursing homes and prisons throughout the world, during scabies outbreaks, ivermectin is distributed and administered to all residents, inmates and staff as a standard practice for controlling outbreaks. In fact, one of the first signals of efficacy of ivermectin in COVID-19 came out of a group of nursing homes in France, where one home had suffered a scabies outbreak such that all residents were treated with ivermectin. Administrators noticed that infections were halved (10.6% vs. 22.6%) and zero deaths occurred in that home compared to the 4.9% mortality rate amongst the surrounding nursing homes where residents had not been treated with ivermectin. Further, ivermectin is one of the safest medicines in history, having been mass distributed across continents to both young and old, healthy and unwell in the eradication of disfiguring parasitic diseases. The WHO has stated in their guideline document for scabies that the majority of side effects are “minor and transient.” Lastly, in the words of the world famous French toxicologist who just completed his comprehensive review on the safety of ivermectin, “severe adverse events are unequivocally and exceedingly rare”. Finally, in that same review, Dr. Descotes could not find one provable instance of a death caused by ivermectin, even considering the case reports of massive overdoses.