[Editor-in-Chief Note: Ivermectin is now trending on Twitter as a treatment for COVID-19. We republish this report by Medika Life Founding Editor Robert Turner on the dangers to consumers who see ivermectin as a go-to therapy now. “Ivermectin has been shown to inhibit replication of SARS-CoV-2 in cultures. However, pharmacokinetic/dynamic studies suggest achieving plasma concentrations necessary in vitro require doses 100X higher than approved for humans.”]
We attended the digital funeral today of an innocent victim, slaughtered in a horrific drive-by shooting. That victim was of course Ivermectin, a wonder drug that has over the last two decades saved countless lives. The vehicle involved was the pandemic and the vehicle’s occupants, none other than individuals from within the medical and wellness sectors.
To understand why people sworn to protect their patients at all costs would cross over to the dark side, we need to highlight facts that have surfaced over the last few months. Understanding motive will I hope also enable those who remain skeptical to accept the truth about Ivermectin.
It is not a treatment or prophylactic for Covid-19 or the SARS-CoV2 virus. It never was.
A small, as yet unvalidated possibility exists that it may offer some benefit to late-stage Covid-19 patients, but that remains inconclusive pending further research. Proving Ivermectin’s efficacy in early-stage Covid or as prophylactic poses very real, and some would argue, insurmountable methodological challenges.
All Ivermectin ever claimed to be, was an anti-parasitic drug. It is as much a victim of the intricate web of deceit and deception spun by certain individuals, as the intended targets, who consume it in the mistaken belief it offers salvation.
Let’s begin by examining how that web has begun to unravel and then we’ll take a closer look at those who engineered the deception and why.
Most of the scientific and medical community speaking up on behalf of Ivermectin used the following pre-print as validation for the efficacy of the drug as a Covid-19 treatment. The paper was called Efficacy and Safety of Ivermectin for Treatment and prophylaxis of COVID-19 Pandemic and the first of four versions was made available to the public on the 13th of November, 2020.
The preprint was published on researchsquare.com and if you click on the link above you will see that the preprint has been removed and an investigation initiated into the content and contributing authors. Why is explained below.
ReasearchSquare posts the following text in red font above the preprints it publishes as fair warning that the content is not peer-reviewed and should not be considered as anything more than an unverified opinion.
This is a preprint, a preliminary version of a manuscript that has not completed peer review at a journal. Research Square does not conduct peer review prior to posting preprints. The posting of a preprint on this server should not be interpreted as an endorsement of its validity or suitability for dissemination as established information or for guiding clinical practice.
Despite this, the preprint was seized upon, Google scholar showing 43 citations. In case you’re not familiar with publication terms, in scientific journals, a citation is a reference from a published article to a published paper (note, not a preprint) intended to provide confirmation or reference for content.
In short, 43 papers that have done exactly what the warning above suggests shouldn’t be done. Why this warning exists and preprints are broadly unreferenced in the scientific community became apparent as peer review set about validating the integrity of the data in the preprint and claims of plagiarism that had been leveled against the authors.
Examining the Data
Much like forensic auditors check for cooked books, forensic data analysts exist to sniff out anything fishy in sets of data. Nick Browne was tasked with examining the data used in the preprint to validate claims made relating to the efficacy of Ivermectin as a treatment for Covid-19. You can read a full breakdown of his analysis here if the summation below is insufficient.
The data file for the research was made available as a locked Excel spreadsheet, rather than an SPSS 21 file, the tool the preprint authors purported they had used for their analysis. Browne was forced to pay for access to the file and then had to manually guess at the password (1234) before gaining access to the Excel data. From there, things rapidly progressed from bad to worse.
Many of the patients who died appear to be duplicates. According to the original data, there were ‘four’ patients with the initials NME, NEM, and NES (twice), who were all males aged 51 years old, all suffered from diarrhoea(sic), had the same blood hemoglobin levels, were all diagnosed on the 22nd of May, and all died on the 29th of May 2020. They also all share identical values in at least four other data columns.
At least a further ten deceased patients also display evidence of being duplicated. Duplicates make up around half of the recorded deaths. Much of the patient data is identical, but minor changes exist, proving that a simple copy and paste error cannot be the cause of the duplicates.
In no particular order, and again, please refer to the linked report for specifics, Browne also identified issues with;
- Numbers containing non-numeric characters
- Confusion around date formats
- Repeated or cloned sequences of data
- Apparent failures of randomization
- Descriptive statistics that did not match the preprint
- Table results that do not match the preprint
- Other issues included age distribution, trailing digits of numerical variables, study entry and exit dates, and last, but not least, the lack of the SPSS file.
In summation, Browne arrived at the following conclusion;
In view of the problems described in the preceding sections, most notably the repeated sequences of identical numbers corresponding to apparently “cloned” patients, it is difficult to avoid the conclusion that the Excel file provided by the authors does not faithfully represent the results of the study, and indeed has probably been extensively manipulated by hand.
We aren’t limited by Browne’s proclivity for professional restraint so we’ll call it as he saw it. The data provided for the preprint are a largely concocted fairy tale, an ambitious con designed to mislead. Manipulation of the data was not accidental but rather intentional, engineered to support very specific predetermined outcomes, for reasons we will examine below.
Lead-authored by Dr. Ahmed Elgazzar, a Professor Emeritus at the University of Behna, the preprint claimed to represent the results of a multi-center, 600-patient study evaluating the use of ivermectin in preventing and treating COVID-19.
The author’s claims centered around the following;
- Ivermectin significantly reduced both the number of deaths and the length of patient’s hospital stay compared to standard Egyptian treatment protocols
- Ivermectin exhibited a substantial effect in preventing the onset of the disease in the first place, in other words, it acted as a prophylactic against the virus.
The article by Jack Lawrence we will reference with regards to the above can be read in full here, and again, we have provided a summation of his findings below. There are numerous instances in the preprint of text being lifted directly from an original source and not credited. In a schoolboy fashion, the authors have tried to obfuscate the plagiarism by changing a few words in each extract.
Plagiarized Elgazzar et al 2020
“This novel virus infection has incapacitated the world’s medical services framework as well as the political and financial relations [2. As another section in human life opens
up [3, the world is by all accounts divided into two sections pre-and post-COVID19 time.”
Original Heidary & Reza Gharebaghi 2020
“This novel virus has paralyzed not only the world’s health care system but also the political and economic relations . As a new chapter in human life opens up , the world seems to be divided into two parts pre- and post-COVID19 era.”
Note: Elgazzar even used the same sources
A schoolboy could be chastised and excused for similar behavior, but there can be no excuse offered by the preprint author, Elgazzar, who would be intimately familiar with protocols surrounding scientific publications. The preprint is littered with further examples of plagiarism and Larence uncovered further unethical actions pertaining to the study.
While the disclosures above may shock some, they pale in comparison to what is to follow, namely acknowledging the extent of duplicity and malintent by members of the medical community across the globe. Doctors, scientists, pharmacists, alternate health practitioners, and individuals from the wellness sector have teamed up to exploit vulnerable patients for financial gain in the midst of a pandemic.
That is the only logical and unavoidable conclusion that can be drawn from the Ivermectin fiasco and avoiding confronting this unpleasant reality prevents us from protecting vulnerable patient populations.
Acknowledging the Grift
Medika first became aware of Ivermectin and its ability to kill the SARS-CoV2 virus in a paper in Nature, released in mid-2020. We published an article, highlighting the results, achieved in vitro, and suggested, like others, that immediate trials should be undertaken to see if the effects could be replicated in vivo.
The pandemic was gaining momentum and there would be no shortage of willing trial candidates. The problems though were obvious at the outset. Ivermectin had successfully killed the test tube sample in a laboratory, but achieving similar dosage levels in human subjects was highly inadvisable and patently unachievable without endangering the patient’s health.
Conducting broad-scale trials at tolerable dosages should have been a priority for either the FDA or a recognized European health authority. No one stepped up to conclusively prove or disprove the potential of Ivermectin as a Covid treatment. The lack of credible trials was potentially driven by an industry-wide skepticism of the drug’s ability to impact viruses (it is an anti-parasitic) and although this rationale made sense to scientific circles, the public was unable to make the connect.
A potential ‘treatment void’ had been unintentionally created for Ivermectin and it was into this void, as is so often their want, that the grifters stepped, seizing an opportunity to co-opt the pandemic for profit on a global scale.
Plumbing the dark depths of deception
India was one of the countries that fully embraced the grift. Provincial authorities distributed Ivermectin as a Covid treatment to residents and other countries, notably South American populations, followed suit.
Proving the efficacy of a treatment is often far simpler than disproving its efficacy and the grifters took full advantage, distributing their ‘Covid treatment’ via the global digital conspiracy network surrounding the pandemic. They assured the public that the drug was being intentionally withheld and the rest is history. Across the internet, both the public and many from within the medical community bought into the Ivermectin lie.
A lie that was cemented in many minds as fact by anecdotal evidence, falsified data and manipulated trials like the one conducted by Elgazzar and his colleagues. It is far easier to believe a convenient lie than face an unpleasant truth.
Doctors (the term is used loosely) have taken advantage of a vulnerable patient population to sell them drugs and in case you think this deplorable behavior was limited to non-western countries, the evidence suggests the west drove the trend. This is not simply supposition but fact.
In the US, rapidly formed organizations like America’s Frontline Doctors, a despicable congruence of dishonest doctors, pharmacists, and marketing individuals set about creating the ultimate pill mill for not only Ivermectin but the other darling of Covid conspiracies, hydroxychloroquine. You can read more on that here, including comments from exploited patients, shown below the article.
This pattern of profiting by deception from the sale of Ivermectin and other Covid cures continues unabated. We have unintentionally created the environment where large sums of money can be made from misleading the public in the midst of a pandemic. The fact the public’s health may be forfeit is irrelevant to the quacks and charlatans claiming to be healers.
These individuals are doctors, nurses, pharmacists, caregivers, and individuals of science. The lie could not exist without their duplicity and in many instances, the lie exists at their instigation. It is a hard truth to face and one we look away from. We need to openly acknowledge this and develop effective methods to prevent future occurrences.
Ivermectin’s lasting legacy should not be as the drug that failed to treat Covid and fooled the world. It should be seen as the drug that taught the world about a bitter pill, one we need to swallow now, lest we repeat history.