Exploring preventive therapeutic measures has been among the biggest challenges during the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). A team of Indian and US researchers explored the feasibility and methods of recruitment, retention, and potential signal of efficacy, of selected homeopathic medicines as a preventive measure for developing COVID-19 in a multi-group study.
A six-group, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled prophylaxis study was conducted in a COVID-19 exposed population in a quarantine facility in Mumbai, India. Each group received one of the following:
- Arsenicum album 30c,
- Bryonia alba 30c,
- Arsenicum album 30c, Bryonia alba 30c, Gelsemium sempervirens 30c, and Influenzinum 30c
- coronavirus nosode CVN01 30c,
- Camphora 1M,
Six pills twice a day were administered for 3 days. The primary outcome measure used was testing recruitment and retention in this quarantined setting. Secondary outcomes were numbers testing positive for COVID-19 after developing symptoms of illness, the number of subjects hospitalized, and days to recovery.
Good rates of recruitment and retention were achieved. Of 4,497 quarantined individuals, 2,343 sought enrollment, with 2,294 enrolled and 2,233 completing the trial (49.7% recruitment, 97.3% retention). Subjects who were randomized to either Bryonia alba (group 2) or to the CVN01 nosode (group 4) signaled a numerically lower incidence of laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 and a shorter period of illness, with evidence of fewer hospitalizations than those taking placebo. The three other groups did not show signals of efficacy.
The authors concluded that this pilot study supports the feasibility of a larger randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. Bryonia alba 30c and CVN01 30c should both be explored in disease prevention or shortening the course of disease symptomatology in a COVID-19-exposed population.
Signals of efficacy?
Are they kidding us?
The results failed to be statistically significant!
Hence the conclusions should be rewritten as follows:
This pilot study supports the feasibility of a larger trial in India where people have been told by an irresponsible government to believe in homeopathy. None of the 5 homeopathic treatments generated encouraging findings and none should be explored further. Studies of this nature must be discouraged firstly because homeopaths would not accept the findings of a trial of non-individualized homeopathy, and secondly because such trials will further confuse the public who might think that homeopathy is worth trying.
Not only statistically insignificant overall, but by throwing 5 different nostrums at 5 different groups they greatly increased the chance that at least one of those groups shows a “positive” simply due to statistical noise. Which is precisely what they got. Victory them!
They say a “larger trial” is needed, but they could’ve made it a larger trial just by making it a 2-arm study instead of 6. But then, this is SOP for AltMed “research”, where the goal is not to minimize confounders but to maximize them. Heaven forfend they ever disprove their
hypothesisTruth through rigorous high-quality testing; that would never do!
I don’t think having a six-arm study invalidates the trial, particularly as it was built into the design from the start. Many medical trials are designed like this, and it is often much easier to address several questions in one trial rather than to try to set up multiple trials. Leaving aside the additional expense, difficulty with organisation and getting the trials through ethics committees, if this were broken down into multiple trials how would you decide upon which patient to enter into which one?
Of course having smaller numbers in each arm increases the chance of finding a spurious result in one of them, but there are statistical methods for dealing with this, effectively reducing the statistical significance of the findings or increasing the confidence intervals.
I have to say, though, that it seems a bit odd using six arms in a pilot study. The purpose of pilot studies is to assess the feasibility of a trial, so that it can be modified as necessary before proceeding with a larger, definitive study. In this case the authors seem to regard it as a way of identifying which of the homeopathic preparations used is worthy of further study, which isn’t really a valid way to proceed, statistically.
I haven’t been able to get past the abstract to the full paper, as I have been asked to supply personal details which I would prefer not to. I don’t know, therefore, what kind of analysis was performed as there are no details at all in the abstract. In particular I would like to know whether the analysis was done on an “intent to treat” basis or on treatment actually received. If the latter, this would invalidate the results as drop-outs can introduce spurious correlations.
For an example of a real-life medical trial with multiple arms, you could look at STAMPEDE, which is a multi-centre international trial comparing different treatments for newly-diagnosed metastatic prostate cancer. The design allows additional arms to be added as new treatments become available. So far it has provided data that have changed the management of prostate cancer worldwide, for instance by demonstrating that introducing chemotherapy early in the course of the disease can improve survival by nearly two years.
“I don’t think having a six-arm study invalidates the trial”
No, it doesn’t invalidate it. But it does greatly weaken it, and also creates suspicion as to why they chose to do it that way. The smaller the sample size, the larger the noise-to-signal ratio. Having 5 different samples rather than one multiplies that noise 5 times. A cynical observer might suggest they were trying to maximize their chances of achieving at least one “positive” through random chance alone, especially when they also choose a particularly generous p-value that increases those odds even further.
And since I am a cynical observer, I will call it: Because they’re fake scientists performing scientific method cosplay.
Whereas real scientists would bend over backwards to identify and eliminate/minimize confounders in order to maximize their chances of proving their hypothesis false, these fakers seek only to prove their beloved beliefs true. So while they might superficially mimic the form of the scientific method, at every step in the process where they should be reducing noise, they merrily cut corners and turn blind eyes (if not outright rig it) to increase it instead. Because maxing out the noise-vs-signal, whether done accidentally or deliberately, increases the odds of generating artifacts. It’s shadow theatre played out on Plato’s cave wall. And their target audience loves it.
Their mimicry is just convincing enough that it looks like the authentic article to laypersons who do not understand (or care) that the whole point of doing scientific research is to disprove a hypothesis, not prove it. All they want is to locate some visible blip, at which they can point and shout, “Look, a signal!” They have absolutely no interest in dissecting either their process or its output to determine if what they’re seeing is genuinely solid, or merely a ghost.
Motivated reasoning, confirmation bias, and a quality of process that would embarrass a first-year undergrad.
To quote from Feynman’s famous Cargo Cult Science speech (emphasis mine):
I am not a scientist; I crashed and burned out of 1st year pre-med. Wrecked my life, and then did it all over again; because I’m stupid. But at least those blighted years finally taught me one important thing: the unforgivable price of being dishonest with myself, all because I wanted to maintain a pleasing lie than face a hard painful truth that everything I’d believed about me and my chosen destiny was wrong. And every subsequent time I’ve screwed up my life in some other excitingly painful way, it was at least in part because I failed to maintain that scrupulous self-honesty, even though I really should know better by now. So it goes.
So I see no reason to cut these self-deceiving goobers a break over their willful ineptitude when I refuse to cut one for myself. Especially when they choose to embrace their own self-deception, actively seeking to confirm it, in order to justify inflicting it on desperately sick and dying people in the name of “care”. Because if they couldn’t be utterly unflinchingly honest with themselves and everyone else before they began, they certainly aren’t going to start once there’s a trail of corpses left in their wake.
Science produces knowledge; but the process of scientific enquiry is not itself a product of knowledge but of culture. And how can a culture that does not wish to identify, accept, or admit its own mistakes hope to do science that is sound?
“For an example of a real-life medical trial with multiple arms, you could look at STAMPEDE, which is a multi-centre international trial comparing different treatments for newly-diagnosed metastatic prostate cancer.”
Yeah, I believe that was the study my old dad signed up for, back when it was just getting underway, at the time comparing outcomes for chemo, radio, and “watchful waiting”.
(Alas for their science, while going through the process he discovered he had a rather vigorous tumor already underway and, being a still-young 60-something with better things to do than be dying of cancer, immediately cut and run straight to the nearest surgeon to get that sucker whipped out. He’s 80 next week.)
I’m glad they managed to rustle up sufficient other volunteers to generate useful results over the long haul. Although I can’t imagine the size and rigor of the STAMPEDE study is in any way comparable to this Mumbai fish wrapper, which sounds more like like “throw it at the wall and see what sticks”.
I don’t think your Dad would have been entered into STAMPEDE as it was only ever for metastatic prostate cancer, which would have been a contraindication to prostatectomy back then.
One unexpected finding from STAMPEDE was that prostate radiotherapy improves survival even when the cancer has spread widely at the time of diagnosis. The only reason this arm was included was that there was a group of researchers with the idea that radiotherapy would trigger some sort of immunological response, and although I don’t know whether that is the mechanism, they do seem to have been vindicated by the data.
On that basis there are now surgeons who are happy to perform a prostatectomy in the presence of metastiatic disease. Their rationale for this is that the radiotherapy effect must be due to “cytoreduction” and that surgery would therefore be equally effective. Some of them in the UK even cobbled together a clinical trial to look at this, called TROMBONE, though I rather cynically felt that the only useful data it was likely to produce would be about whether or not urologists are capable of running clinical trials. I also knew surgeons who believed that the existence of such a trial was enough to justify prostatecty in non-trial patients. In my experience urologists aren’t very interested in basing their practice on evidence.
I have yet to see any data showing that prostatectomy improves survival in prostate cancer, although radiotherapy definitely does, and is much less likely to cause impotence and incontinence. Food for thought…
STAMPEDE started recruiting in 2005 and is still going strong, although the original five treatment arms have closed and there are new ones running; the control arm has also been updated- it has always been “current standard of care”, which of course has changed quite a bit over 16 years.
I don’t know what trial your father might have been enrolled in. Chemotherapy was never an option for early prostate cancer, but there was a trial running at that time (I can’t remember the name of it) looking at bicalutamide (Casodex) 150mg daily in locally advanced prostate cancer, defined as cancer involving the capsule of the prostate or the seminal vesicles. Subjects were randomised to received two years of bicaludamide or placebo in addition to their standard therapy, which could be surgery (mainly in the USA), radiotherapy (mainly in the UK) or observations (mainly in Scandinavia). Rather bizarrely after an interim analysis showed a non-significant trend towards lower survival in one of the bicalutamide treated groups (I think it might have been the post-prostatectomy group if my memory serves me), Canada withdrew the licence for the drug, thereby depriving their citizens of a valuable treatment for prostate cancer; a later interim analysis showed that this trend had disappeared, confirming that it was a statistical fluke. This illustrates the dangers of interpreting non-significant trends as being due to anything other than chance.
“Watchful waiting” was more-or-less supplanted by “active surveillance” long ago. This is for early-stage, low-grade tumours that will probably never progress and the aim is to prevent people from going through treatment that they don’t need. Inevitably there will be a few tumours that behave more aggressively than originally expected, and so a programme of regular PSA checks, digital examinations, MRI scans and repeat biopsies is used to pick these up.
More elderly patients with low-grade tumours are still managed by watchful waiting (i.e. regular PSA checks) as by and large prostate cancer progresses very slowly over many years.
1. As a scientist, do you really need to falsify a text through omissions? Could it be that Prof. Hahn was right in his statement:
“I´VE NEVER SEEN A SCIENTIFIC WRITER WHO WAS SO OBVIOUSLY BIASED LIKE EDZARD ERNST”.
–>why did you simply omit “p <0.10" from the text?
2. OK, the significance could be better, but you probably also know that:
"The null hypothesis that the regressor X1 has no influence on Y cannot be rejected with the usually required level of significance of a maximum of 0.05."
Die Interpretation des p-Wertes – Grundsätzliche Missverständnisse
Interpreting p-values – Common flaws and misconceptions
Norbert Hirschauer, Oliver Mußhoff, Sven Grüner, Ulrich Frey, Insa Theesfeld und Peter Wagner
Aus der Zeitschrift Jahrbücher für Nationalökonomie und Statistik
“why did you simply omit “p <0.10" from the text"
BECAUSE I MAKE THE SPECIFIC POINT LATER THAT THERE IS NO STATISTICAL SIGNIFICANCE
"OK, the significance could be better"
NOT BETTER BUT IT COULD BE PRESENT; AT THE MOMENT, IT IS ABSENT!
I am afraid, your comment suggests that you are willing to sacrifice medical ethics for your homeopathic delusion
@Prof Ernst: True, but you were reproducing part of the original text. Therefore any annotations, substitutions, or contractions you apply to it should be marked by brackets/ellipses, and be made only for length. Hummer’s actually right for once, albeit on a technical point. (Ironically, in eliding the authors’ chosen p-value you actually weaken your argument that their positive signals are embarrassingly weak sauce.)
In the name of good science, I would counsel you to apologize for your clumsy bounds-step (to err is human, after all), insert the appropriate correction/addendum, and resolve in future not to make the same mistake twice.
Anyway, now that Herr Hummer has been kind enough to grace us with his razor-sharp eye for correctness, perhaps he could resolve for us a couple other points of concern:
1. Why was a “positive” detected in arm #2 (Bryonia alba 30c), but a “negative” in arm #3 (Arsenicum album 30c, Bryonia alba 30c, Gelsemium sempervirens 30c, and Influenzinum 30c)? I find this discrepancy very concerning. Does this indicate a harmful drug interaction occurring between the Arsenicum, Gelsemium, and/or Influenzinum, and the Bryonia, which rendered the Bryonia ineffective?
(Further to 1 above: Is it common in homeopathy to combine different waters in possibly unhealthy/dangerous ways? And if harmful interactions can occur between pure homeopathic waters, what are the known risks in mixing homeopathic water with tap, rain, and other impure environmental waters? As practising homeopaths, do you employ some sort of data sheets/drug interaction checker to ensure harmful combinations cannot accidentally be prescribed?)
2. What do you think was the reason for these researchers using p<0.1 instead of the conventional p≥0.95? For instance, was this particular threshold carefully chosen before or after the study was run?
Thanks in advance to Herr Hummer as I look forward to digesting his expert insight.
I always use the original abstracts of papers I discuss and alter them in various ways as required.
I intend to continue doing so and see no reason to apologize for it.
Edits are fine. After all, part of the point of selectively quoting a text is to increase its clarity and brevity, bringing focus to the significant parts which you wish to expand on yourself. But any such changes ought to be indicated in some way, lest you open yourself to accusations of impropriety. I see no reason to offer Alties free ammunition to use against you: they’re already fully capable of fabricating Reasons; they don’t need the help.
(I appreciate your post didn’t explicitly mark that text as a direct quotation; however, it’s still sufficiently close to a straight copy-paste of the original that it’s not obvious as a paraphrasing either, and the subtleties of academic writing styles are lost on these yahoos anyway.)
I disagree: when I quote, I do it in italics.
But I have now included this in the ‘RULES’
In any case, it is better they use accusations that have at least some (albeit trivial) substance.
I don’t think Herr Hümmer has herd of prior probability.
Björn Leifsson on Monday 11 June 2018 at 01:45 (Edit)
Trying to understand an enigmatic personality such as Dr. Hahn, requires understanding that he is deeply affected by religion and religion does strange things to peoples perception of reality.
Dr. Hahn and his wife are a spiritualists. His wife, Marie-Louise, thinks she is a medium and they have been actively exploring these ideas. They have co-authored several books on the subject of spiritism.
Dr. Hahn is involved in anthroposophy, a religious cult that runs a famously controversial “clinic” in his home country Sweden. Homeopathy is extensively used by this cult.
If I recall correctly Dr. Hahn thinks he has found his former life in a person from the 13th century.
His web at http://www.roberthahn.se/ is in Swedish but you can translate the text easily and quite satisfactorily.
If you use Google Chrome browser it may offer to or translate the pages automagically.
Or you can copy paste the link (the URL) of a page into the left field in “translate.google.com” and choose Swedish as the original language and in the right field choose your preferred language and click the link that appears.
Dr Hahn has changed his webpage since then and removed links to anything connected to his religious/spiritism activities. I also note that his immense publication list in his CV also seems to omit any publications in that sphere. The old versions can be found using “The Wayback Machine: web.archive.org
Please note that I am deeply respectful towards Dr Hahn as a proficient and productive scientist and scholar in his medical field. He is one of the worlds foremost experts in what often is referred to as fluid therapy, where he has contributed greatly to the knowledgebase and progress, namely in intensive care, post-operative care and resuscitation. His work has undoubtedly saved countless lives. I am however all but impressed by his incredibly naive attitude to the application and interpretation of science to searching for magic in shaken water.
If you think that this supports the notion that homeopathy works, then why is it that ALL even remotely serious homeopathy studies find marginal effects at best? Why is there not a single homeopathic concoction or treatment that has a clear, unequivocal and above all repeatable effect?
If the above study is replicated, chances are that they will find some weak effects again – but NOT for the same homeopathic preparations. Which means that you’re looking at statistical noise, not any real effects(*).
(Yes yes, I know what will happen in that case: instead of admitting that the results are almost certainly negative, homeopaths will claim the exact opposite, and happily add both the first AND the second ‘positive’ findings to their repertory.)
And then there’s this: if, for the sake of the argument, we assume that those marginal effects are real, then what practical use is it? Why would one spend dozens of euros on a treatment that only offers a few percent improvement? One case in point is oscillococcinum: Boiron’s ‘research’ found that it shortens the duration of flu symptoms by about 6 hours on an average of 10 days that it normally takes. Apart from the fact that once again they almost certainly measured noise instead of real effects, the effect size found is absolutely tiny (2.5%), and certainly not worth spending money on.
If this tiny result is the best that homeopathy can come up with in more than two centuries, any scientist worth their salt would conclude that it is quite useless, and abandon it. Yet homeopaths keep on claiming that this is ‘encouraging’ and justifies ‘more research’. Which of course is nonsense – they just want to keep the easy money rolling in by selling shaken water and inert sugar pellets as ‘medicine’.
*: Please note that there is a very good and simple reason why statistical noise will always cause a slightly positive result overall, even if homeopathy does absolutely nothing: by definition, the outcome of these studies can only be zero or higher, not (numerically) negative. And yes, this is exactly what we see for homeopathy (and acupuncture, and reiki, and therapeutic touch, and …).
Ad point 2. As a bioinformatician, I agree with you that 0.05 is not chiseled in stone. However, I bet the authors of the study did not correct for the multiple testing (I haven’t read the study, but from my experience this is very likely) which would have set the p-value even higher. On a more principal point, a p-value of below 0.05 is NOT what one searches for in research. Every experiment has at least three alternative hypotheses, namely effect by treatment, error, or an overlooked factor. The really interesting parameter is the posterior probability of these hypotheses, because one choses the hypothesis with the highest posterior probability. This parameter, however can not easily be calculated. Essentially it is a combination of the prior probability and the p-value. So, in order to assess a p-value, one has to assess the prior probability, or, in laymen terms, ask himself does the result make sense? If homeopathy would be true, we would have to rewrite every textbook in chemistry, biology, and even physics that has been written during the last 150 years. Not some finer details, but the fundamentals. Given the depth we understand biology, chemistry and physics, ist is extremely unlikely that such a phenomenon has been overlooked. Therefore, the prior probability of homeopathy to work approaches zero, and even a p-value of 0.001 would not help that. This is what homeopaths do not understand. They don’t need only a p-value in a clinical study, they need a rock solid mechanistic reasoning why we should overthrow 150 years of research in natural sciences. Or, to quote Carl Sagan: “Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence”.
That might be a bit too complicated for him.
I suggest he reads it all up in a chapter of our book where we tried to explain it really simply:
yes, this discrepancy is striking and can only be explained with the hypothesis of drug interaction or mutual antidoting.
And yes, it is “common in homeopathy to combine different [in water potenticed remedies!!!] waters in possibly unhealthy/dangerous [??] ways? And if harmful interactions can occur between pure homeopathic waters…” –> No harmful [!] reactions seen yet. And no pure homeopathic waters.
Can´t tell you why.
“If you think that this supports the notion that homeopathy works, then why is it that ALL even remotely serious homeopathy studies find marginal effects at best? Why is there not a single homeopathic concoction or treatment that has a clear, unequivocal and above all repeatable effect?”
I don´t think this study ALONE supports the notion, that homeopathy works.
You might have noticed that recently, a number of well-designed studies on homeopathy have been published that found clear, significant effects in favor of homeopathy.
Not even the best german expert on homeopathic studies, Dr. Aust, for example, was able to identify essential technical errors in the work of Prof. Frass:
Volume 25, Issue 12 e13548
Clinical Trial Results
Homeopathic Treatment as an Add-On Therapy May Improve Quality of Life and Prolong Survival in Patients with Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer: A Prospective, Randomized, Placebo-Controlled, Double-Blind, Three-Arm, Multicenter Study
Why, do you think, is homeopathy since recently part of the oncological guidelines in Germany?
@Herr Hummer: Apologies for any confusion but by “drug interaction” I hope it was clear from the context that I mean “interaction between homeopathic products” (HP). I assume the homeopathic researchers carefully controlled for all other variables across all 6 arms of their trial, including any allopathic products that might have been used.
(Alas, my knowledge of homeopathy does include a list of already-known Adverse Effects (AEs) for homeopathic products, nor do I know the correct homeopathic terminology to describe homeopathic AEs, as it is not a topic we outsiders commonly hear homeopaths discussing.)
Perhaps you could check your own safety data sheets to see if those Indian homeopaths missed an important warning somewhere about not mixing Bryonia with certain other homeopathic nostrums? Again, it is worrying that Bryonia on its own produces a positive, but Bryonia plus 3 additional HPs does not. Two possible explanations I can think of for this discrepancy:
1. One or more of the other HPs actively negated the effect of the Bryonia. An unhealthy/dangerous interaction indeed! At the very least, there ought to be a safety warning on the bottles not to mix them.
2. The Bryonia never had a positive effect to begin with, and the “positive” seen in the Bryonia-only arm was simply a random product of statistical noise.
I would be interested to hear which you think is the likely explanation, and what should be done so that it does not repeat. Or if there’s a third explanation that I haven’t thought of?
How did the study you cite ensure that all non experimental treatments were consistent between the groups?
Yes, and I MAY have a unicorn in my garage.
No, I have not found such studies. The few high-quality positive studies that I can find show effect percentages in the single digits, as already described.
Not only are the results of that study hugely implausible (almost doubled survival? Yeah, right …), never replicated, and unlike anything seen before in homeopathy, but I also recall that Norbert Aust identified serious irregularities, and the words ‘data manipulation’, ‘scientific misconduct’ and ‘fraud’ come to mind. But admittedly, those things aren’t technical errors.
Also, this would not be the first time that Frass is involved with fraudulent products and treatments. So you may want to choose another example …
Because someone higher up made a very serious mistake? Please note that homeopathy is abandoned in almost all other countries, and it most certainly is NOT part of the standard of care in oncology (or any other medical specialism) in any country, except perhaps India. And oh, can you provide a link to those guidelines? Because I don’t think that they actually endorse homeopathy, but merely mention it as something that many desperate patients turn to.
Ouch. I’m glad Herr Hummer has access to water.
Those guidelines of more than 600 pages cover all non-standard treatment options claimed to be of advantage in cases of cancer. The authors came to the conclusion that “homeopathy may be considered with respect to quality of life” only. Not a very strong recommendation, I would say, if you consider how helpful homeopathy is said to be in curing or improving cancer or managing side-effects of cancer therapy.
apparently these articles about the Frass/Oncologist study slipped your attention:
In a nutshell: We found quite an awful lot of “technical errors” in this study.
The primary outcome measure used was testing recruitment and retention in this quarantined setting.
I once worked in a prison in Canada. Life there as a prisoner can be rather boring (with moments of sheer terror). By extension, I would be shocked if the study did not get “Good rates of recruitment and retention.”
Personally, I am maintaining my regime of cow manure and crushed garlic, applied externally.
I’m curious why I had to dig to find this at the NIH website. Buried deep within, evidence that Ivermectin is an approved treatment for Covid-19, while Gilead Science Remdesivir shows much less safe, and more adverse effects.
This has been kept very quiet, no ? Is there something here I am missing.
Just read again what it says:
“Characteristics of Antiviral Agents That Are Approved or Under Evaluation for the Treatment of COVID-19″ (emphasis mine)
And no, ivermectin is NOT approved for regular treatment of Covid-19 patients. Which is further supported by the fact that the dosing regimens column only mentions clinical trials:
“The dose most commonly used in clinical trials …”
Got it Richard, thank you, that would explain the confusion.
But then again not so much, as the resounding affirmation from the Ivermectin critics is that they have concluded the drug is completely non effective and dangerous…. no ? It appears then the drug is still being studied.
What you say ?
I think the following best answers your questions:
The main takeaways:
– Ivermectin is being seriously studied (as are almost all potential medicines as long as there is even a glimmer of plausibility).
– Setting up and completing even one proper clinical trial is very time-consuming and expensive(*). But, as the saying goes: one trial = no trial. So you need outcomes from at least several high-quality trials. And that is what the NIH are waiting for. Only when a trial shows huge benefits right away can short-cuts be made, and can a medicine get a temporary license for experimental use or provisional approval. But even in such cases, replication of the results is absolutely essential, because scientists can mess up or even commit fraud, often in order to make a name for themselves. Which in fact has happened with both hydroxychloroquine and ivermectin.
So far, the results of administering ivermectin have been less than compelling to say the least, necessitating careful research to see if it actually does anything at all. And until these studies are completed, people should not take this medicine, as it can have significant side effects, especially in the veterinary dosages that lots of ‘believers’ take.
So contrary to what some people say, ivermectin is not ignored or rejected out of hand because of ‘Big Pharma Profits’, it is instead being studied carefully. Because the last thing you want is to get all the world to take a medicine that later turns out to be useless or even harmful. Even if it would be essentially harmless from a pharmaceutical point of view, it is still harmful in that it costs money and resources, and gives people false hope for a cure.
Also note that by definition, ivermectin is produced by Big Pharma, and that a sharp rise in demand would also mean a sharp rise in price – and thus Big Pharma profits. You have to realize that the production capacity of any given medicine is usually attuned to normal market demand, and that e.g. a sudden 100-fold increase in demand can’t be handled without structural shortages and steep price increases. And that is if the pharmaceutical companies involved behave themselves, and don’t fall for the temptation to increase prices and profits more than necessary.
*: I’ve been involved in the development of a particular biomedical product in the past 8 years(!), and just setting up the first clinical trials (now planned for the second half of next year) has been going on for 6 months already.
Which could have devastating consequences for all those millions of people in developing countries who actually NEED ivermectin for fighting off very nasty parasitic diseases such as filiriasis, river blindness and many more …
(And I actually feel a bit ashamed for only realizing this as a afterthought …)
One could say that all those people who protest against vaccination and for treating people with ivermectin and other unproven medicines have not exactly thought things through – and I think one can safely say that most of them never really think about these things period, and just parrot other equally misinformed and misguided people, mostly for personal reasons of distrust and anxiety about what is happening in this pandemic situation.