By Jefferey Jaxen
If you have been following corporate media outlets’ coverage of the ongoing coronavirus panic, you may have heard CNN talk about a “surprising new study” about a “controversial” drug.
The study was just released by Henry Ford Health System, one of the largest hospital groups in Michigan. When given this “surprising” new “controversial” drug, there was a 51% decease in mortality of the patients with Covid-19.
Dr. Marcus Zervos co-authored the peer-reviewed study out of Henry Ford, which has now been published in the International Journal of Infectious Diseases. Dr. Zervos said in a press release that their study differs from others because of the “early treatment” of the patients along with dosing that “differed from other studies not showing benefit.”
Health officials, now beginning to implement a second wave of lockdown ‘restrictions,’ must be jumping on this research to continue the momentum towards therapeutic mitigation strategies…right?
Well, there’s just one problem. The drug being used was low-cost hydroxychloroquine (HCQ), touted and used by President Trump. After being used for approximately 65 years, hydroxychloroquine’s sudden ‘controversy’ came not from the drug itself, but from the politicalization of bad actors within the ranks of media, academia and science.
Are we truly in a race for an antidote to Covid-19, as we are being told? If so, there is no logical reason why HCQ has been hamstrung by a public relations beating at the hands of nefarious researchers, questionable political agendas and poor science.
It was the Lancet who published the results from a mammoth HCQ study from over 600 hospitals around the world showing that HCQ not only was ineffective as combating Covid-19 infections, but may also have serious side effects. One day after the study was published, the World Health Organization (WHO) suspended all their HCQ studies around the world as headlines roared about the dangers and ineffectiveness of HCQ. The world was supposed to move on and forget the drug.
Meanwhile, a global community of open-source researchers slammed the study and the data it drew from as fraudulent, the Lancet was forced to open an investigation. It took less than a week for the medical journal to retract the study. The Lancet cited non-transparency of the study’s authors and an inability to vet any data from the fly-by-night company, Surgisphere, that provided it.
Faced with this humiliating development, the WHO begrudgingly restarted their SOLIDARITY trial. Everyone involved looked terrible: The Lancet, the WHO and the unquestioning media all received a collective black eye.
One day after ‘one of the biggest retractions in modern history’ by the Lancet, the UK’s Oxford University attempted to bury the drug. Announcing they were halting their global, multi-site HCQ study initiatives called RECOVERY after no significant difference in death rates were found after 28 days.
Oxford University professor and trial co-lead Martin Landray told reporters, “This result should change medical practice worldwide. We can now stop using a drug that is useless.”
However, again, with global eyes on the study from people around the world, inconsistencies began to be found. The UK study and the WHO study were both using massive, potentially lethal doses of HCQ and seemingly using the drug outside its known therapeutic window.
In a recent interview describing the Oxford University study, Dr. Jim Meehan, MD, stated “The doses being used in both trials…were about four times the maximum dose for any medical condition.”
Now the media had a pair of black eyes, the second for its inability to question the Oxford results and the suspect dosage used by the study.
That didn’t stop the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The FDA announced shortly after the Oxford study’s retraction that they would be revoking HCQs emergency use authorization. The FDA’s decision, which left a considerable stockpile of HCQ in limbo, was questioned for cherry picking data to form its decision. This, in turn, appeared to open an avenue for Big Pharma to leap into the fray. The company Gilead had been developing a drug running in parallel with HCQ named Remdesivir.
‘A game changer’ screamed headlines, citing the limited science-by-press release data from Oxford’s Remdisivir RECOVERY drug trials. Gilead quickly announced detailed pricing plans for Remdesivir with plans to change U.S. hospitals $3,120 for an average patient.
There is a looming ‘second wave’ of Covid-19 on the horizon, and a seemingly efficacious, low-cost drug to treat the virus, HCQ, has been battle proven. And yet, the U.S. government immediately put money on Big Pharma’s horse. The Feds announced a $1.2B contract to purchase 500,000 doses of Gilead’s drug, Remdesivir – a guaranteed revenue stream.
For HCQ, the studies keep mounting and the evidence further corroborates its positive effect. Henry Ford had similar findings from much earlier research out of France, mostly ignored by the media and health officials, showing early treatment of COVID-19 with HCQ and the antibiotic azithromycin (AZ) produced low fatality rates in patients. However, the Michigan study found late use of the combination drug administration cut fatality rates – a significant finding.
James Todaro, MD took to Twitter to announce the outcomes of three different trials announced this past week in support of hydroxychloroquine:
Three big studies this past week in support of HYDROXYCHLOROQUINE:
HCQ/AZ/Zn, 99.3% outpatient survival rate (Zelenko): https://t.co/7fVZyhjPFQ
HCQ reduces mortality by >50% (Henry Ford): https://t.co/5rjSRMFOba
HCQ+AZ w/ 0.5% mortality rate (Raoult) : https://t.co/cuwKlVizyk
— James Todaro, MD (@JamesTodaroMD) July 3, 2020
Meanwhile, a little known doctor in upstate New York named Dr. Vladimir Zelenko has been treating patients off-label with HCQ, AZ and zinc in the outpatient setting and sharing his results in an attempt to save lives.
In a recent interview on The HighWire, Dr. Zelenko described in detail the synergistic effect of the three treatments. He summarized the process using this analogy, “Zinc is the bullet, hydroxychloroquine is the gun that shoots the bullet and azithromycin is the vest that protects the patient.”
Dr. Zelenko described the protocol as “very elegant, very simple and very cheap. It costs about $20 dollars for the whole treatment.” The treatment has the added advantage of an oral pill-based delivery system that patients can take at home. In other words, its cost and accessibility allow for global health systems to easily scale up the treatments to large and low-income populations.
What were Dr. Zelenko’s findings?
Dr. Zelenko’s team saw 2,200 patients. Out of those, 800 who were deemed to be high risk and received the treatment protocol from which only two patients died.
The medical community has a big decision moving forward. It has the potential to shape the future of the world as we know it.
Will doctors, nurses and other members of the medical community continue to wait for institutions and figureheads with questionable motives and data integrity to tell them how to frame this global crisis and its potential solutions?
Or will they blindly go along for the ride as passengers while gaps in science and reasoning are advertised as fact?