Even NPR – albeit in its signature erudite, carefully modulated tone – couldn’t hold back the preening sarcasm shared by its media allies when it became known this week that a chief critic of the establishment narrative on COVID-19 revealed he tested positive for COVID-19 and treated the disease with ivermectin.
The public broadcaster reported that the host of the world’s No. 1 podcast, Joe Rogan, was “taking a cocktail of unproven treatments – including ivermectin, a deworming drug for cows that the FDA warns people should not ingest.”
Political commentator Andrew Sullivan was among many who pointed out that while the drug indeed is used for farm animals, there is a Nobel-prize-winning, FDA-approved version of ivermectin for human consumption. In fact, ivermectin, touted as a “wonder drug” in the Journal of Antibiotics, was shown in both in-vitro and in-vivo studies long before the COVID-19 pandemic to have strong antiviral as well as antiparasitic properties. And since the spring of 2020, ivermectin – which is on the World Health Organization’s list of essential medicines and is being administered to refugees entering the U.S. – has been the subject of 113 published studies presenting statistically significant evidence indicating it is safe and effective for both treating and preventing COVID-19. Among them are 73 peer-reviewed studies, with 63 comparing treatment and control groups. Significantly, a June 2020 study found ivermectin inhibits the replication of SARS-CoV-2 in-vitro. And based on promising results in human trials, the University of Oxford is studying ivermectin in the U.K.’s PRINCIPLE trial, the world’s largest clinical trial of possible COVID-19 treatments.
“At this point you have to assume that NPR knowingly lies to its listeners,” Sullivan said in response to the broadcaster’s tweet.
The podcast host Joe Rogan, who has dismissed COVID vaccines, said he tested positive and is taking a cocktail of unproven treatments — including ivermectin, a deworming drug for cows that the FDA warns people should not ingest.https://t.co/ydGjahao4k
— NPR (@NPR) September 2, 2021
More recently, the American Journal of Therapeutics published a paper analyzing 18 randomized controlled treatment trials of ivermectin in COVID-19 that found “large, statistically significant reductions in mortality, time to clinical recovery, and time to viral clearance.”
“Furthermore, results from numerous controlled prophylaxis trials report significantly reduced risks of contracting COVID-19 with the regular use of ivermectin,” the researchers said, referring to the drug’s ability to prevent the disease. “Finally, the many examples of ivermectin distribution campaigns leading to rapid population-wide decreases in morbidity and mortality indicate that an oral agent effective in all phases of COVID-19 has been identified.”
A metanalysis of studies published one month ago by the American Journal of Therapeutics found “moderate-certainty” evidence that “large reductions in COVID-19 deaths are possible using ivermectin.”
And ivermectin – already widely used in low- and middle-income countries to treat worm infections – has been touted by government officials in treating COVID-19. In May, the government of India’s most populated state, Uttar Pradesh, said its early, widespread use of ivermectin helped to keep the number of COVID cases and deaths low. The health department for the state, which has a population of more than 230 million, introduced ivermectin on Aug. 6, 2020, as a treatment and a prophylaxis for health workers and others in close contacts with COVID patients. Uttar Pradesh has been averaging only 24 cases and 0-2 deaths per day in recent months, ranking last in cases per capita among India’s 36 states.
In Africa, according to a study, areas where ivermectin was distributed in recent years to populations to combat river blindness have significantly lower levels of mortality caused by COVID-19.
But NPR’s take is among the mildest amid an establishment media onslaught of pretentious mockery dismissing any suggestion that ivermectin might be worth considering as contemptuous at best and deadly at worst.
In early August, the rambunctious Daily Beast, unabashedly dripping with invective, published a story titled “Pharmacists Fight Off COVID Truthers Demanding Horse Medicine Instead of the Jab.” The left-wing site informed its readers that ivermectin “enthusiasts have taken to raiding rural tractor supply stores in search of ivermectin horse paste (packed with ‘apple flavor!’) and weighed the benefits of taking ivermectin ‘sheep drench’ and a noromectin ‘injection for swine and cattle.'”
While some local health authorities are reporting they’ve received calls from people who have become sick from ingesting the animal version of ivermectin, the reporting of the Daily Beast and others offers no hard evidence that the scope of the poison-control reports is significant and should detract from the drug’s potential to save lives.
The vast majority of Americans, who have taken the drug through a doctor’s prescription, apparently can tell the difference between horse pills and people pills.
‘Scoring cheap points’
“So why does the major media want you to believe that ivermectin is simply a “horse paste?” asked Washington Examiner columnist Tim Carney.
“The answer is probably because the media are more interested in scoring cheap points in the game of culture-wars by mocking rednecks and conservatives than they are in informing their readers.”
However, it was the FDA itself that warned in August 2020 of “consumers who may self-medicate by taking ivermectin products intended for animals.”
“People should never take animal drugs,” the agency helpfully informed citizens.
One day later, the National Institutes of Health published a guideline that “recommends against the use of ivermectin for the treatment of COVID-19, except in a clinical trial.”
But in its consumer guidance, the FDA admitted it has not reviewed data on the use of ivermectin to treat or to prevent COVID-19, pointed out the Front Line COVID-19 Critical Care Alliance, which describes itself as “a group of highly published, world-renowned critical care physicians and scholars.”
“However, the agency felt compelled to use language to discourage any discourse and interest in using Ivermectin as a front-line treatment of COVID-19,” the FLCCC said.
“To do this is to ignore the growing body of scientific evidence from peer-reviewed research, over 40 medical trials, and results from Ivermectin’s use in medical settings worldwide, showing the safe and effective use of the drug in fighting COVID-19.”
The WHO stated March 31 that the “current evidence on the use of ivermectin to treat COVID-19 patients is inconclusive,” and until more data is available, “recommends that the drug only be used within clinical trials.”
In terms of safety, the American Journal of Therapeutics published a study finding that of the 4 billion doses of ivermectin administered since 1998, only 28 cases of serious neurological adverse events have been recorded. Ivermectin has been administered safely to pregnant women, children and infants, the study found.
Meanwhile, the political influence on the ostensibly independent FDA was spotlighted this week when two top agency vaccine officials resigned amid pressure from the White House to approve COVID-19 booster shots.
The push for boosters comes amid the vaccines’ diminishing efficacy. An Israeli study published in July found the Pfizer shot was only 39% effective against the delta variant, which comprised the majority of cases. And a study published Aug. 24 by researchers in Israel, one of the world’s most vaccinated nations, found natural immunity from a COVID infection is 27 times more effective than immunity from the Pfizer-BioNTech mRNA vaccine.
Driven by science and evidence?
In a Wall Street Journal op-ed on ivermectin, David R. Henderson and Charles L. Hooper ask “Why Is the FDA Attacking a Safe, Effective Drug?”
“If the FDA were driven by science and evidence, it would give an emergency-use authorization for ivermectin for Covid-19. Instead, the FDA asserts without evidence that ivermectin is dangerous,” they write.
They point out that at the bottom of the FDA’s warning against ivermectin is this statement: “Meanwhile, effective ways to limit the spread of COVID-19 continue to be to wear your mask, stay at least 6 feet from others who don’t live with you, wash hands frequently, and avoid crowds.”
Henderson and Hooper ask: “Is this based on the kinds of double-blind studies that the FDA requires for drug approvals? No.”
Henderson, a research fellow with the Hoover Institution at Stanford University, was senior health economist with President Reagan’s Council of Economic Advisers. Hooper is president of Objective Insights, a firm that consults with pharmaceutical clients.
Journalist Matt Taibbi, a contributing editor to the Rolling Stone, wrote that the marginalization and censorship of ivermectin is a “powerful metaphor of the Internet’s transformation.”
“Once envisioned as a vast democratizing tool, which would massively raise global knowledge levels by allowing instant cross-global communication between all people, it’s morphed instead into a giant unaccountable bureaucracy for suppressing dialogue, run by people with an authoritarian vision for information flow,” he wrote.
Taibbi said that many ivermectin advocates “believe discussion of the the drug is being suppressed because of its status as a threat to a billion-dollar vaccine business, but it’s just as likely that its reputation worldwide as a ‘populist’ treatment, a medicine taken by people not waiting for official validation, has made it a target of censors and pundits alike.”
Dr. Scott Atlas, the former Trump health adviser who has been the target of hit pieces by the New York Times and the Washington Post, said in a recent interview with The Federalist that scientists have “actively participated in the self-destruction of [science’s] credibility.”
He cited as an example the letter published in The Lancet in February 2020 denouncing the lab-leak theory as a “conspiracy” that created “fear, rumors, and prejudice.”
Facebook “fact-checkers” used the letter to censor discussion of the lab-leak theory for more than a year.
But the letter was organized by Peter Daszak, who didn’t disclose his direct involvement in the dangerous gain-of-function research conducted by the Wuhan Institute of Virology.
The left-leaning libertarian Rogan, in fact, has played a large role in moving the lab-leak theory from “fringe” conspiracy to plausible explanation among the populace by simply giving a voice to credible experts who have been censored by establishment media.
Apparently, similar to the media’s reaction to hydroxychloroquine and ivermectin, at least some of the motivation for that censorship stemmed from the fact that President Trump was an advocate. The Wall Street Journal reported that when Trump began pushing the lab hypothesis last year, other governments that could have helped press for a lab investigation distanced themselves from the administration, according to Andrew Bremberg, who at the time was the U.S. ambassador to the World Health Organization. “It was like an overnight shift,” he said. “When the president first touched this, they shut down.”
“Science is not supposed to be about intimidating, countering interpretation of data, or abusing, or censoring data,” Atlas told The Federalist.
“Science is not supposed to have a view,” he said. “Science is only about data and the scientific process. There is never supposed to be ‘an accepted view’ of science.”