HCQ Trial: clever usage of globally available data

This study at https://hcqtrial.com is, IMHO, a very clever initiative. They decided to use globally available data to build randomised controlled trial for hydroxychloroquine (HCQ). 2.7 billion people were divided in treatment group (those who took HCQ) and a control group (those who did not). Their abstract (follows) explains in summary the setup of the study.

Many countries either adopted or declined early treatment with HCQ, forming a large country-randomized controlled trial with 2.0 billion people in the treatment group and 663 million to the control group. As of August 7, 2020, an average of 39.6/million in the treatment group have died, and 443.7/million in the control group, relative risk 0.089. After adjustments, treatment and control deaths become 82.0/million and 637.0/million, relative risk 0.13. Confounding factors affect this estimate, including varying degrees of spread between countries. Accounting for predicted changes in spread, we estimate a relative risk of 0.21. The treatment group has a 79.1% lower death rate. We examined diabetes, obesity, hypertension, life expectancy, population density, urbanization, testing level, and intervention level, which do not account for the effect observed.

Hydroxychloroquine and Covid-19: unexpected though unsurprising developments

Hydroxychloroquine is probably best known to the world these days as the magic drug that Donald Trump claimed to be the game changer in the fight against Covid-19. Soon after, the drug was discredited as dangerous, and prescribing the drug off label as a method to treat Covid-19 was eventually prohibited, if not demonised altogether, especially in the west.

I largely ignored the matter, thinking that the evidence simply was against the drug, and moved on. Until a few days ago.

America Frontline Doctors

A group of doctors that recently formed an association called America Frontline Doctors, went live on Facebook and other social media to declare to the US and the world that they had been treating patients with Hydroxychloroquine (+ Zinc + Azithromycin) and they had seen a great benefit. In fact, they essentially stated that the cure for Covid-19 exists and no one has or had to die so far. And went as far as saying that the protocol can be used as prophylaxis, too. The video has been banned repeatedly from all sorts of platforms. It’s currently available on this site (no direct link available, but it’s currently on the homepage, in rightmost column, entitled: “CENSORED: America’s Frontline Doctors Press Conference at the Supreme Court”).

Hardcore censorship and defamation

With the apparent reason of “false information about Covid-19”, the information shared by these doctors was forcefully censored (and still is) from all sorts of platforms. Not only that, very shortly after the fact, a number of blog and newspapers (mostly leftwing) have done their best to discredit the doctors involved. From claiming that these doctors never actually treated any Covid patient to using Dr Stella Immanuel’s peculiar religious beliefs (I haven’t fact-checked her beliefs, because for me it is beside the point), they have done their best to defame these doctors, although I have seen very little actual evidence against them.

Digging

I admit the whole thing seemed weird, but one fact actually haunted me: I was convinced these doctors had no advantage or benefit whatsoever from claiming what they claimed. So, why?

When I started digging, the first thing I realised is that I had been distracted during this pandemic. I mean, I have a lot going on. But. I should have paid more attention. I am referring to the Lancet study. The study, now formally retracted (which happened only 13 days after its publication), was based on fake data from a joke of a company. This is the same study that both the FDA and WHO have leveraged to carry out the decision to stop off-label use of hydroxychloroquine for Covid-19 treatment. As a result of that move, other bodies around the western world have done the same.

Some more digging

That just me made want to dig even more, specifically into some scientific literature.

The most striking paper I found after five minutes in my research is entitled Early Outpatient Treatment of Symptomatic, High-Risk Covid-19 Patients that Should be Ramped-Up Immediately as Key to the Pandemic Crisis. From the abstract:

Hydroxychloroquine+azithromycin has been used as standard-of-care in more than 300,000 older adults with multicomorbidities, with estimated proportion diagnosed with cardiac arrhythmias attributable to the medications 47/100,000 users, of which estimated mortality is <20%, 9/100,000 users, compared to the 10,000 Americans now dying each week. These medications need to be widely available and promoted immediately for physicians to prescribe.

You read that, and you go: mhm, ok. (The rest of the paper is available for free, by the way).

Then I found out that the person who wrote that paper is Harvey A. Risch, MD, PhD, professor of epidemiology, Yale School of Public Health. And he also wrote this op-ed entitled The Key to Defeating COVID-19 Already Exists. We Need to Start Using It.

So, this guy isn’t just a random nobody holding a sudden press conference saying they have been treating 350+ patients to date of all kind of ages and with comorbidities, with zero deaths (this is Dr Stella Immanuel, by the way). This is a respectable Yale professor publishing in reputable journals.

In this op-ed you’ll find that he says:

Since publication of my May 27 article, seven more studies have demonstrated similar benefit. These seven studies include: an additional 400 high-risk patients treated by Dr. Vladimir Zelenko, with zero deaths; four studies totaling almost 500 high-risk patients treated in nursing homes and clinics across the U.S., with no deaths; a controlled trial of more than 700 high-risk patients in Brazil, with significantly reduced risk of hospitalization and two deaths among 334 patients treated with hydroxychloroquine; and another study of 398 matched patients in France, also with significantly reduced hospitalization risk. Since my letter was published, even more doctors have reported to me their completely successful use.

Henry Ford Health System (HFHS)

Treatment with hydroxychloroquine cut the death rate significantly in sick patients hospitalized with COVID-19 – and without heart-related side-effects, according to a new study published by Henry Ford Health System.

Italian study agrees with HFHS

An Italian team published a study entitled Effectiveness of Hydroxychloroquine in COVID-19 disease: A done and dusted situation? In this paper, they say «Our results are remarkably similar to those shown by Arshad et al.» (i.e. HFHS study).

More studies

And even more studies

More interesting links

More interesting links can be found on Dr James Todaro‘s website, Medicine Uncensored.

Meanwhile, on the news

Ok, let me have a look in Italy

At this point I stop and wonder: what about Italy? I usually trust the Italian doctors. They are excellent, they have a great training, they are very knowledgeable, and being Italian, they don’t just follow orders because they are orders. Which in cases like this, it’s probably good.

Yet I didn’t hear much about hydroxychloroquine in Italy. Or perhaps, once again, I hadn’t paid much attention. Of course, above, I linked a study by an Italian team that agrees with Henry Ford Health System. But that’s recent in my research trail.

Early in my research, I found out that Dr Moreno Ferrarese of Alessandria (Piedmont) had been using hydroxychloroquine with success. Hundred more doctors were apparently doing the same. We are talking about GPs, family doctors, treating patients at home. And we talk about May time, before The Lancet came out with its fraudulent study.

The latest public comment by Dr Ferrarese I could find goes back to 25 May, and states that he had by then treated 169 patients, no deaths, and only 7% was hospitalised, although none of them ever developed severe complications.

When the AIFA forbade the use of hydroxychloroquine for Covid-19, the Italian doctors denounced that without alternatives, home-based treatment of patients was now at risk.

Also, as far as I can tell, the “Alessandria protocol” (such was labelled the approach used by Ferrarese using hydroxychloroquine) was never big news on TV or elsewhere. In fact, living in the UK, the thing I had heard more about coming from Italy was the Ascierto protocol, using Tocilizumab, which now a randomised study says had no statistically relevant benefits.

That said, it remains that in Italy, too, we have doctors that disagreed with the global advice of not using hydroxychloroquine for Covid-19.

As you dig, you find many doctors in the West have chosen, for the sake of their patients, to follow the science instead of the politics. Some names are:

After the storm

Interestingly enough, after the storm that the American Frontline Doctors unleashed, suddenly more and more people came out as both patients willing to testify and more doctors willing to put their neck on the line.

Within days from that presse conference, Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Stephen Hahn said there are some medical observational studies that “suggest a benefit” in using the drug hydroxychloroquine for treating COVID-19 and that doctors can still prescribe the drug off-label for coronavirus patients.

The FDA official guidance hasn’t however changed, and Hahn added that clinical, randomised trials do not show a benefit (which based on the literature I reviewed, I don’t think it’s an accurate claim).

Fauci insists

In the light of all the data I presented here, which is only a fraction of what’s available, it bewilders me to read Fauci, as of three days ago, still say that hydroxychloroquine is ineffective.

Mind you, this is the same man who can’t guarantee in-person voting at the US elections in November, but apparently has no advice to give regarding the hoards of rioters amassing in the streets of the USA.

You should really be starting to think hard at this point, because if you don’t feel something is wrong, I am not sure what could ever make you budge.

Natural experiments

Again, from prof. Risch:

These have been “natural experiments.” In the northern Brazil state of Pará, COVID-19 deaths were increasing exponentially. On April 6, the public hospital network purchased 75,000 doses of azithromycin and 90,000 doses of hydroxychloroquine. Over the next few weeks, authorities began distributing these medications to infected individuals. Even though new cases continued to occur, on May 22 the death rate started to plummet and is now about one-eighth what it was at the peak.

A reverse natural experiment happened in Switzerland. On May 27, the Swiss national government banned outpatient use of hydroxychloroquine for COVID-19. Around June 10, COVID-19 deaths increased four-fold and remained elevated. On June 11, the Swiss government revoked the ban, and on June 23 the death rate reverted to what it had been beforehand. People who die from COVID-19 live about three to five weeks from the start of symptoms, which makes the evidence of a causal relation in these experiments strong. Both episodes suggest that a combination of hydroxychloroquine and its companion medications reduces mortality and should be immediately adopted as the new standard of care in high-risk patients.

Not new and not unsafe

It was 2005 when Chloroquine is a potent inhibitor of SARS coronavirus infection and spread was published. Now, the study speaks of chloroquine, not hydroxychloroquine, but the latter is essentially a less toxic form of the former. So, the efficacy of such a drug against this kind of viruses has been known for a while, and the SARS-related study mentioned above suggests “both prophylactic and therapeutic advantage”, which is essentially the same thing many doctors are now claiming of hydroxychloroquine for SARS-CoV-2.

It is also false that these drugs are not safe. Fears of heart problems seem overblown. Prof. Risch also deems the drug safe. And many have suggested that it takes extremely long period of exposure to the drug or toxic doses to see the problems HCQ has been accused of causing. In essence, the so much feared side-effects seem to be extremely rare.

Why has hydroxychloroquine been disregarded?

Prof. Risch says it best:

In the future, I believe this misbegotten episode regarding hydroxychloroquine will be studied by sociologists of medicine as a classic example of how extra-scientific factors overrode clear-cut medical evidence.

The reason is not scientific. In fact, Risch continues:

  • The medication has become highly politicised
  • The drug has not been used properly in many studies
  • Concerns have been raised by the FDA and others about risks of cardiac arrhythmia, these adverse events were generated from tens of millions of patient uses of hydroxychloroquine for long periods of time, often for the chronic treatment of lupus or rheumatoid arthritis.

To close, some common misconceptions about the virus

It’s a completely new virus. No, it isn’t. It’s 79% similar to SARS-CoV and 50% similar to MERS-CoV. And there are plenty more coronaviruses around.

There is (was) no immunity at all in the population. False. Because the virus belongs to a family of viruses we as human have already encountered, and because the virus is naturally similar to those other coronaviruses, claiming total lack of immunity to the virus is a lie. See recent research from Oxford scientists. And also interview with Dr Gupta, who says “The pre-existing antibodies & T-cell responses against coronaviruses seem to protect against SARS-CoV-2 infection, not just the outcome of infection”.

The pandemic will become endemic. Actually, research suggests that the four coronaviruses responsible for the cold once caused pandemics. This also may suggest that this new coronavirus will end up the same. This is also the opinion of Sadler, former director of the Institute for Immunology at the University of Bern, a biologist and professor emeritus.

Children have a central role in spreading the virus. Early in the pandemic had become clear this wasn’t the case. A recent study confirms that “Almost 6 months into the pandemic, accumulating evidence and collective experience argue that children, particularly school-aged children, are far less important drivers of SARS-CoV-2 transmission than adults.”

BLM bears its fruits

I’ve gone silent regarding BLM. But it’s worth posting out that all that BLM has so far produced is:

  • illegality
  • more death
  • more racism
  • hatred

Some of its fruits:

Debunking White Privilege: The Economic Reality

Blacklist and Whitelist are not racially charged terms

It is tiring. The wokeness has replaced even basic education.

There is no way anyone can prove blacklist and whitelist are racially charged terms, and yet most in my line of work actually believe this nonsense.

This is only the tip of the iceberg, and if you google the issue, you’ll find tons of projects, software houses, and IT companies rushing to do the same thing: replace terms that have been used technically for decades, all without a valid reason.

An in doing so, they are now doing something that never happened in history before: they are the ones racially charing these terms for the first time, effectively revealing the evil that resides in the human heart.

Origin of the English Terms

Blacklist originates first, for obvious reasons. It’s much more organically natural to start making “lists of disallowed things” than “lists of allowed things”.

The term appears to be in The true peace-maker: laid forth in a sermon before his Majesty at Theobalds written by the Bishop of Norwich, Joseph Hall, in 1624:

Ye secret oppressors,..ye kind drunkards, and who euer come within this blacke list of wickednesse.

The word black when used in this context refers to negative connotations, and is attested as such way before 1624. The term blackball, which is first attested in 1550, describes the act of placing a black ball into a container as a means of recording a negative vote (and vice-versa using a white ball to record a positive vote). That concept is in turn related to the ancient Greek practice of ostracising someone, before modern racism even developed.

Another 17th century occurrence of blacklist is in the tragedy The Unnatural Combat by Philip Massinger:

Might write me down in the black List of those That have nor Fire, nor Spirit of their own

None of these occurrences is racially charged. Not even a subtle hint. Zilch.

Over the course of 1915 and 1916 British government agencies gradually developed an implemented a system whereby neutral firms and individuals suspected of trading with or otherwise aiding the Central Powers would be denied access to Entente infrastructure such as ship bunker, financial services and communications. British government agencies and departments maintained several such lists, but only one of these were public. Officially called the Statutory List, but much more commonly known simply as the British blacklist.

Another example is the Indiana University, which has a great list of mostly non-racist metaphorical uses of “black” in English and Korean. Using the terms black as night, black sheep, black humor, and black magic isn’t racist at all (and the use of black sheep might not be metaphorical as it applies to sheep, since some are black, with varyingly marketable wool), though in fairness some speakers of English would find a phrase like “black as the ace of spades” potentially racist, though likely not strongly so.

Some would question whether using “black” for “bad” is fair to Wicca, witchcraft, and magic. They would so from a worldview that offers no absolute moral standard, anyway. Plus, the use of innocuous and ancient phraseology with the word “black” in it can’t be seen as inherently racist.

The term whitelist is of much more recent origin, first being attested in 1842, and is then explicitly used to refer to the opposite of a blacklist (i.e. a list of approved or favored items).

The Spiritual Connection

Every civilisation on earth has been using “dark and light” (and derivatives) as a metaphor for “bad and good”. The reason should be obvious, since naturally speaking, the darkness of the night renders your own environment more dangerous and riskier on multiple levels, whereas in the light many dangers disappear.

God himself starts His written revelation in those terms, separating actual light from actual darkness, but at the same time establishing the metaphorical pattern used throughout the rest of the Scriptures.

Unsurprisingly, nearly every other religion (the result of the falling away from the true God after the dispersion of Babel and creation of the nations) follows the same pattern. One of the most obvious examples is the Yin and yang.

Seeing evil everywhere

The era we live in is characterised by a widespread tendency amongst younger generations to see evil everywhere (but their own hearts).

As it is written,

To the pure, all things are pure; but to those who are defiled and unbelieving, nothing is pure, but both their mind and their conscience are defiled.

Titus 1:15

David Wood and Jay Smith discuss Islamic scholar’s admission of an unsolvable problem for Islam

The redefinition of ‘privilege’

“Privilege” is the idea that you should react with shame to whatever you should actually react to with gratitude. It assumes that anything about your existence that doesn’t suck was achieved by evil means and this evil emanates from you. And that anything that is good about your life should be removed. It is the assumption that you enjoy a better life than you have, and that a moral duty exists to reduce your circumstances to put things back in some kind of cosmic balance.

It is the excuse a stranger uses to hate you.

From here

The redefinition of privilege embodies communist and socialist principles, according to which, if you merited the good things in your life (even if by working hard and honestly, like the majority does), this it is somewhat unfair, and your hard-gained rewards should be taken away from you, and redistributed to others who have not done anything at all to merit them.

The resulting inequality is achieved in the name of equality, which itself is redefined so to mean something it doesn’t. It is the legalisation of robbery, in its simplest form.

Critical Theory: an introduction

The title is unfortunate, since the video teaches the opposite of what its title seems to imply.

Very good introduction to Critical Theory, that explains how diametrically opposed it is to Christianity. CT is a more proper appellation for what some (including myself) refer to as Cultural Marxism. CT is foundational to movements such as BLM, modern environmentalism (see Great Thunberg), and many others.

Ethnic Gnosticism

Very relevant sermon in this period.

Voddie is possibly the only Reformed scholar/preacher I can actually listen to. Unlike the majority of Reformed I know, he actually has a Christian heart. Plus he’s funny. Plus he’s quite good a Jiu Jitsu.

Ethnic Gnosticism is a term crafted by Dr. Voddie Baucham to explain the phenomenon of people believing that somehow because of ones ethnicity that one is able to know when something or someone is racist. In this sermon, Dr. Baucham sheds light on the way this ideology is undermining the gospel and compromising genuine christian relationships in the church today. In recent years we have a growing concern about “social justice.” What is meant by that phrase, however, varies widely among those who use and promote it. What is too often missing—even in the calls for “social justice” coming from Christian leaders—is a clear understanding of biblical justice. Justice exists because God is just and righteous. He is the One who defines justice and He has revealed what true justice is in the Bible. For more resources on these topics, you can visit www.founders.org. This presentation was given by Dr. Voddie Baucham on January 4, 2019 at the Southeast Founders “Do Justice, Love Kindness, Walk Humbly” regional conference in Cape Coral, Florida.

BLM founder admits to be a ‘trained Marxist’

As if she needed to confess to be a trained Marxist. Their statement of belief on their website is Marxist.

I take this chance to share a passage I read yesterday, and that seemed the perfect description of BLM (or any other Marxist movement):

There are six things that the Lord hates, even seven things that are an abomination to him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that are swift to run to evil, a false witness who pours out lies, and a person who spreads discord among family members.

Prov 6:16-19 (NET)
  • Marxists are arrogant, proud and unforgiving
  • They lie to achieve their goals (that’s why they can team up with Islam in the Red-Green Axis — both ideologies accept lie as a just means to achieve their spread)
  • They devise evil plans (e.g. Burn Down the American Plantation)
  • They are quick to resort to evil (see reaction to Floyd’s murder)
  • They lie when providing witness
  • They put human being against human being, and definitely create discord in the Church, due to some Christian being gullible enough to jump on the bandwagon of these Marxists movements, be it BLM or Great Thunberg nonsense.

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