We published a post on work at the University of California, San Francisco, to identify existing drugs that looked like they had the potential to treat Covid, as in at a minimum reduce the severity of disease (We Found and Tested 47 Old Drugs That Might Treat the Coronavirus: Results Show Promising Leads and a Whole New Way to Fight COVID-19). But that was before the vaccine effort was far enough along to look like it was likely to bear fruit.
As we’ve pointed out, the West has gone all in with the vaccine magic bullet approach, when that’s not a great public health idea, unless the goal is the low bar of keeping hospitals from collapsing. It’s unlikely that any vaccine that combats a respiratory virus will achieve the level of sterilizing immunity.1 The current round of vaccines accordingly produce 90%ish immunity against serious disease and death….for how long? Six months? Eight months? Maybe a year? And that’s before the potential for variants to lower the efficacy of vaccines just administered.
So a multi-pronged approach would seem to be desirable if the aim is to have the public feel safe enough to resume something like the old normal. That means keeping up handwashing and masking in many indoor settings, and emphasizing ventilation. It also means using prophylactics and treatments. Yet it’s hardly news that discussion of using old off patent drugs as treatments is being depicted as crank-dom. As reader Richard Needham said over the weekend:
JAMA, considered the gold standard for clinical research in the US, has just published an article on March 4 by Lopez-Medina et al. claiming that “the compound that can not be named” is ineffective in C19.
As a start, read the comments in JAMA and then those in an open letter signed by 100 physicians pointing our the flaws in this study (https://trialsitenews.com/open-letter-by-u-s-doctors-jama-ivermectin-study-is-fatally-flawed/). As a scientist and reviewer I can state that the paper would be embarrassing for anything other than a paper submitted to a Junior High School Science Fair. Well-designed studies with much more data, including meta-analyses, coming to the ‘opposite conclusion’ have been accepted after peer review in other journals like Nature and the Lancet, only to have the editors reject them. A practice I have never heard of…
Yet JAMA is, ‘a journal other professionals would find to be credible’. Laymen accept the cachet of the top journals but nobody who publishes in them does. Paper quality varies widely in the ‘top journals’ even when there are no financial interests at stake but I have had many amusing conversations at meetings about terrible papers published in them. Now add to that that massive money stakes are involved in the veracity of the statement that ‘IVM is safe, cheap, and extraordinarily effective’. Vaccines for variants, alternative useless but expensive meds like remdesivir, new oral medications, etc. are potentially worth at least 10’s of billions of dollars.
JAMA and other journals, WHO, medical schools, and to a lesser extent NIH, have been captured by big Pharma and the interests of Bill and Melinda Gates. Unfortunately writing this I have reproduced the insanity of those that claim that scientists have a cure for cancer but are suppressing it to ensure their incomes. However, simply look at the resistance to supplying vaccine off-patent to the world population to avoid massive death for an example of the same attitude.
There are no ‘credible’ journals but no lack of medical professionals who do not read the literature but depend upon the NIH, WHO, and JAMA rather than forming their own opinions from the data and acting upon them in the clinic. A hopeful sign is that many front-line physicians recognize that their judgement matters and are willing to take on the derision of their colleagues by supplying their patients with IVM. It is called practicing medicine and is an ethical responsibility that can not be avoided.
Four top medical researchers just resigned from Frontiers in Pharmacology in protest over the rejection of two papers that had gotten to the “final validation” stage of the review process, which is by editors of the publication, and not independent experts. One was on Ivermectin, the other on Celecoxib and high does Famotidine adjuvant therapy. We’ve reproduced their resignation letters so you can see their description of how these cases were handled. Note the initial the refusal to ‘splain the basis for rejection of papers that had made it through all the previous review stages, which when the reviewers did not back down, shifted into nonsensical bureaucratic pretexts and insinuations that the guest editors had behaved improperly).
As you’ll see, Frontiers went scorched earth. Per the missive below:
At this point, based on these many actions, we are unable to assure scientific integrity of the peer review process on the part of the journal for this special topic. Our time and that of the peer reviewers has been donated to the journal, and our reputations used without compensation. We ask to be removed from association with this special topic area, that an apology be issued to ourselves and our respective institutions for the actions of the journal in this matter, and that the special topic (which we had developed with full approval by the journal) be discontinued effective immediately. Having communicated to Frontiers that this would be our collective action if corrections were not made to this extraordinary re-review process, Frontiers has elected to expel each of the guest editors from any ongoing or future role as editors, and to close down and wipe all electronic evidence that the special topic had ever even been approved or had manuscripts submitted under the topic approved. This decision was disclosed in email communications with all corresponding authors of published, approved, or pending manuscripts, but not with the guest editors who had created the topic and solicited and managed review of the manuscripts.
The scientific process requires fair, open, and transparent peer review to proceed effectively and efficiently – particularly at this time and for this topic. The actions of “Frontiers” in this matter clearly violate well established norms and processes for peer review and publication of scientific works and intellectual contributions, and instead have substituted a unilateral, arbitrary, and capricious process. On behalf of our peers, our institutions, and our scientific and medical colleagues we cannot allow this precedent to remain unchallenged. In our opinion, these unfortunate events constitute gross editorial misconduct by “Frontiers”.
I hope the guest authors can retrieve the articles that were reviewed and published properly from the Wayback Machine, in nothing else, for the benefit of the authors of those paper, and publish a “Banned by Frontiers” or somesuch site, ideally on a server beyond the reach of the Frontiers intellectual property police.2
Frontiers in Pharmacology likes to think it’s a serious venue. Its site states:
Frontiers in Pharmacology is the world’s 2nd most-cited open-access journal in its field and ranks in the top Impact Factor and CiteScore percentiles.
Perhaps more important, one of the four signatories is a Serious Expert:
Dr. Robert Malone, MD, MS
Scientifically trained at UC Davis, UC San Diego, and at the Salk Institute Molecular Biology and Virology laboratories, Dr. Malone is an internationally recognized scientist (virology, immunology, molecular biology) and is known as the inventor of mRNA vaccination and one of the original inventors of “DNA Vaccination”. Dr. Malone holds numerous fundamental domestic and foreign patents in the fields of gene delivery, delivery formulations, and vaccines. Dr. Malone has 11,060 citations of his publications, as verified by Google Scholars.
So Malone is just about the last person one could charge as having a prejudice against mRNA vaccines.
As IM Doc summed it up: “It is not just Facebook – The censorship is real.”
1 Although Covid increasingly looks like an endothelial virus….
2 Authors almost always retain a copyright interest (yes, there are plenty of variations, so forgive me for not belaboring details), so the authors could bless any hoisting and republication from the Wayback Machine. The only Frontiers beef would be use of their name and image, but the argument is that the association of that name and image was valid as of the time of publication, and Frontiers have a time machine to retroactively revoke the publication agreements they signed with the various authors.00 Resignation in Protest