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Why not to trust “science” just now: COVID-19 edition

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Something weird re Lancet:

On its face, it was a major finding: Antimalarial drugs touted by the White House as possible COVID-19 treatments looked to be not just ineffective, but downright deadly. A study published on 22 May in The Lancet used hospital records procured by a little-known data analytics company called Surgisphere to conclude that coronavirus patients taking chloroquine or hydroxychloroquine were more likely to show an irregular heart rhythm—a known side effect thought to be rare—and were more likely to die in the hospital.

Within days, some large randomized trials of the drugs—the type that might prove or disprove the retrospective study’s analysis—screeched to a halt. Solidarity, the World Health Organization’s (WHO’s) megatrial of potential COVID-19 treatments, paused recruitment into its hydroxychloroquine arm, for example. (Update: At a briefing on 3 June WHO announced it would resume that arm of the study.)

But just as quickly, the Lancet results have begun to unravel—and Surgisphere, which provided patient data for two other high-profile COVID-19 papers, has come under withering online scrutiny from researchers and amateur sleuths. They have pointed out many red flags in the Lancet paper, including the astonishing number of patients involved and details about their demographics and prescribed dosing that seem implausible.

Kelly Servick, Martin Enserink, “A mysterious company’s coronavirus papers in top medical journals may be unraveling” at Science

Read on at Science. Gets crazier.

We’ve been hearing complaints about Lancet and other journals for years. For example: A Woke medical journal’s war on having kids

Trust but verify. “Science” is a discipline, not an incantation.


All but one of the authors retracted the paper:

An influential article that found hydroxychloroquine increases the risk of death in coronavirus patients has been retracted over data concerns.

Three of the study’s authors said they could not longer vouch for its veracity because Surgisphere, a healthcare firm behind the data, would not allow an independent review of its dataset.

Its findings led the WHO to suspend its testing on the anti-malaria drug.

But leaders including US President Donald Trump continue to tout its use.

Health, “Coronavirus: Influential study on hydroxychloroquine withdrawn” at BBC

61 Replies to “Why not to trust “science” just now: COVID-19 edition

  1. 1
    AaronS1978 says:

    Covid is slowly but surely becoming less and less serious, and now is experiencing a slow painful media death.

    I’m not surprised that this is happening

    You’ll also notice that on World meter death rate is dropping dramatically despite all the riots and I also noticed that flu went up by 50,000 deaths just recently

    It’s quite telling

  2. 2

    It was already verified previously that the lancet should be distrusted.

  3. 3
    rhampton7 says:

    A major clinical trial showed the malaria drug hydroxychloroquine had no benefit for patients hospitalized with Covid-19, likely closing the door to the use of the highly publicized medicine in the sickest patients — a use for which it was widely prescribed as the pandemic hit the U.S.

    The results come from a study called RECOVERY, funded by the U.K. government, that sought to randomly assign large numbers of patients to multiple potential treatments in the country’s National Health Service. The goal was to rapidly get answers as to what worked and what didn’t.

    “Today’s preliminary results from the RECOVERY trial are quite clear – hydroxychloroquine does not reduce the risk of death among hospitalized patients with this new disease,” University of Oxford epidemiologist Martin Landray, one of the study’s leaders, said in a statement. “This result should change medical practice worldwide and demonstrates the importance of large, randomized trials to inform decisions about both the efficacy and the safety of treatments.”

  4. 4
    rhampton7 says:

    Sanford Health announced that it’s halting its hydroxychloroquine clinical trial in South Dakota.

    whether the antimalarial drug prevented a person from contracting COVID-19 if exposed to it. However, the University of Minnesota published the results this week of its similar study that found no benefit of hydroxycholoroquine over a placebo as a preventive measure, according to Sanford.

    “After closely reviewing the new research, our clinical trial team determined that the South Dakota study is unlikely to see different results,” said Dr. Susan Hoover, Sanford Health infectious disease doctor and principal investigator of the study.

  5. 5
    rhampton7 says:

    Controversy surrounding the drug grew after a study published in medical journal The Lancet last month raised safety concerns and led several COVID-19 studies of it to be halted. The Lancet study was then retracted on Thursday after its authors said they were unsure about its data.

    Landray, a professor of medicine and epidemiology at Oxford University, noted the “huge speculation” about the drug as a treatment for COVID-19 but said there had been until now “an absence of reliable information from large randomized trials.”

    The RECOVERY trial of hydroxychloroquine had randomly assigned 1,542 COVID-19 patients to hydroxychloroquine and compared them with 3,132 COVID-19 patients randomly assigned to standard care without the drug.

    Results showed no significant difference in death rates after 28 days, in length of stay in hospital or in other outcomes, the researchers said.

    Earlier this week, a University of Minnesota randomized trial found that the drug was ineffective in preventing infection in people exposed to the coronavirus.

    Dozens of trials trying various permutations of use of the drug continue.

  6. 6
    rhampton7 says:

    Ennaid Therapeutics uses artificial intelligence (AI)-based drug discovery platforms to develop antiviral drugs.

    “Our science strongly suggests that ENU200, a repurposed drug with a well-established clinical and safety profile, has the potential to be a broad solution to address the COVID-19 pandemic and, specifically, the near 80 percent of coronavirus cases that are asymptomatic, mild to moderate,” said Harrison. “Key to ENU200 is its target of two proteins on the SARS-CoV-2 virus that interfere with the virus’ ability to enter healthy cells and its replication. Additionally, unlike other COVID-19 drugs in development, which must be administered via injection or intravenously under the care of a physician, ENU200 can be administered orally, thus enabling in-home treatment for COVID-19 infections.”

    “The FDA has been very supportive at fast-tracking review every step of the way, and that is true around the world,” Harrison told WBRZ-TV in Baton Rouge.

  7. 7
    rhampton7 says:

    While the RECOVERY researchers was looking into hydroxychloroquine’s effects on hospitalized patients, an American-Canadian team of researchers was concluding that the drug also does not work as preventive treatment.

    Based on some observational studies, some proponents of hydroxychloroquine remain enthusiastic about the possibility that adding zinc will boost the drug’s efficacy. Forthcoming results from ongoing trials will eventually corroborate or refute that lingering hope.

    In the wake of the now scandalously discredited observational hydroxychloroquine study published on May 22 in The Lancet, these results should help clinicians, patients, the public and policymakers make better decisions about how best to treat COVID-19.

  8. 8
    rhampton7 says:

    In a time when we have to rely on clinical trials for COVID-19 drugs and vaccines, a new study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) brings good news about the credibility of registered clinical trials.

    The authors are two Bocconi Professors of Economics, Jerome Adda and Marco Ottaviani, and a former MSc student of theirs, Christian Decker, now a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Zurich.

    In a clinical trial, statistical significance is a key prerequisite for marketing approval of new drugs. Under a certain threshold of significance, the results of the trial could, in fact, be due to chance and not to the efficacy of the drug. Given the research costs involved and the lure of large potential profits by the pharmaceutical companies sponsoring the trial, investigators may be pressured to beautify data, a standard argument goes.

    “Even in the case of phase III trials by small companies,” Professor Ottaviani explains, “we do not observe the spike of results just above the significance threshold. We think that the registration process is key for transparency.”

  9. 9
    rhampton7 says:

    Long held as the ideal model for fighting coronavirus, the rising death toll in Sweden is testament to the fact that even countries that rely on science and have the best public health systems can suffer if they get arrogant with the virus, ThePrint Editor-in-Chief Shekhar Gupta said in episode 488 of ‘Cut The Clutter’.

    With about 4,562 deaths and over 41,800 people infected, Sweden has turned into one of the worst-faring developed countries.

    Gupta said that Sweden approached the virus with a sense of arrogance thinking that they know best and now, the country is paying for it.

  10. 10
    rhampton7 says:

    Only two countries, the US and the UK, have lost more lives, and Brazil seems poised to overtake the latter. Brazil has confirmed 615,000 cases, second only to the US.

    A Brazilian is now dying to Covid-19 every minute, the Folha de São Paulo newspaper noted on Friday’s front page.
    Varella, 77, who is widely revered for his work in Brazil’s overcrowded prisons, said a tragedy of this scale could have been avoided had Bolsonaro’s administration reacted differently to an epidemic that reached South America after many other parts of the world.

    Varella said warring politicians had given Brazil’s 210 million citizens “conflicting signals – with governors and mayors promoting the need for isolation, and the federal government calling this an outrage that would destroy the economy and cause more people to die of hunger than from the disease”.
    “This is a ridiculous vision,” Varella added. “And this has created a very difficult outlook for the country … we are now reaping the results of this policy of antagonism, of the politicization of the epidemic – which is the worst situation possible.”

  11. 11
    ET says:

    Only if you can believe the news from China and Russia. If you do then I am sure I can find a bridge to sell you.

  12. 12
    jerry says:

    I suggest everyone, but especially RHampton, read Alex Berenson’s book “Unreported Truths about COVID 19 and Lockdowns.

    If you listen to RHampton one would think the end of the world is near. If you read Berenson, you come away with hope.

  13. 13
    AaronS1978 says:

    Oh on CNN 1000 healthcare professionals just signed a petition saying it was OK to do the riots and protesting despite coronavirus

    Check out CNN RHampton

    I’m sorry but the media has left you

    Time to give up the coronavirus

  14. 14
    AaronS1978 says:

    Seriously don’t shut down the protest for coronavirus concerns they say

    The media has backed out of the coronavirus
    Oh how deadly this virus is except for when you’re rioting, looting and protesting

    Well at least as long as you’re not protesting the quarantine for the coronavirus

  15. 15
    AaronS1978 says:

    It was a political virus and something more political came up

  16. 16
    rhampton7 says:

    Doctors taking the malaria drug, hydroxychloroquine, as a preventive measure (chemoprophylaxis) to ward off Covid-19 have reported its mild to moderate adverse side-effects.

    Doctors taking the malaria drug, hydroxychloroquine, as a preventive measure (chemoprophylaxis) to ward off Covid-19 have reported its mild to moderate adverse side-effects.
    A total of 44 of the 140 government and private doctors in Pune had complained of side-effects after taking hydroxychloroquine (HCQ). The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has recommended the medicine for the frontline health workers as a prophylaxis to prevent the Covid-19 infection.

    A significant number of doctors who complained of side-effects had some or other pre-existing medical conditions, including diabetes and hypertension. The most frequently reported complaints were headache followed by nausea, dizziness, abdominal cramps, and loose motion. Hypoglycaemia (low blood sugar) was seen in three participants, all with diabetes.

    Experts at the state-run B J Medical College-Sassoon General Hospital found this in a month-long study carried out in April. Utmost care is necessary before using HCQ as chemoprophylaxis for Covid-19 among doctors with underlying medical conditions, stressed the experts.

  17. 17
    rhampton7 says:

    The Delhi government on Saturday issued guidelines for the clinical management of patients with coronavirus disease (Covid-19) in state-run and private hospitals across the city.

    The guidelines say that Covid-19 patients with fever, sore throat and headache but no co-morbidities be given paracetamol for the fever and anti-allergy medicine for symptomatic treatment.

    Those with mild pneumonia are to be given antibiotics and paracetamol. Those with severe pneumonia have been advised oxygen along with antibiotics including azithromycin along with anti-malarial drug hydroxychloroquine.

    Patients who develop sudden respiratory problems or go into multi-organ failure have to be admitted to the ICU (intensive care unit) and placed on ventilator support if needed; they are also to be given the same treatment as those with severe pneumonia, according to the guidelines.

    “In the absence of a specific therapy for Covid-19, these guidelines recommend the use of hydroxychloroquine for patients with severe disease under very strict clinical supervision. Apart from that, the document just lists parameters for mild, moderate, and severe disease and the recommended treatment. These are guidelines for medical practitioners and standardise the antibiotics given etc,” said Dr GC Khilnani, PSRI institute of critical and pulmonary and critical and former and head of pulmonary medicine at AIIMS. He is also part of the five-member expert committee of the Delhi government.

  18. 18
    rhampton7 says:

    A widely available and inexpensive drug that is used to ease the symptoms of indigestion may prove a worthy contender for treating COVID-19 infection in those whose disease doesn’t require admission to hospital, say researchers.

    According to the study, published in the journal Gut, the effects were felt within 24 to 48 hours of taking famotidine.

    Famotidine (Pepcid AC) belongs to a class of drugs known as histamine-2 receptor antagonists, which reduce the amount of stomach acid produced.

    Famotidine can be taken in doses of 20-160 mg, up to four times a day, for the treatment of acid reflux and heartburn.

    “Our case series suggests, but does not establish, a benefit from famotidine treatment in outpatients with COVID-19,” they cautioned.

    “A rigorous clinical trial is now warranted to see if the drug could be an effective treatment for COVID-19,” they concluded.

  19. 19
    rhampton7 says:

    “If you look at Brazil, they are going through a very difficult time. By the way, they’re following Sweden’s example. Sweden is going through a terrible time. If we had done that, we would have lost a million, 1.5 million, maybe even 2.5 million lives,” Trump said in a press conference in the White House gardens.

  20. 20
    rhampton7 says:

    Israeli schools began reopening in stages last month. On May 3, the first day of classes, just 60 percent of eligible students attended, a number that later increased before dropping in the wake of the current surge in COVID-19 cases.

    The Health Ministry, which has reportedly been pushing to reintroduce a nationwide closure of schools, says the rising number of infections among students is the primary factor in Israel’s recent spike in cases.

    The jump in new cases came after the daily infection rate steadily dropped through much of May, with Israel easing restrictions on movement, economic activity and gatherings that were put in place to contain the virus.

  21. 21
    rhampton7 says:

    The coronavirus pandemic is challenging Mississippi’s rural health-care system as outbreaks worsen in far-flung areas at the same time state officials allow all businesses to reopen.

    Deep in the state’s southeastern Pine Belt, the latest pressure point is Wayne County, population 20,000, which is served by a single hospital that is more than an hour by ambulance from a larger one in Hattiesburg and two hours from the university medical center in Jackson.

  22. 22
    rhampton7 says:

    Anchorage Mayor Ethan Berkowitz is calling on residents and visitors to renew their focus on social distance and wearing masks in public as the number of new coronavirus cases climbs.

    “There’s a premium right now on people exercising personal responsibility, and I’m counting on the people of Anchorage to show that kind of personal responsibility,” he said. “Do it for yourself. Do it for your family. Do it for the community. Because it makes a difference.”

    The state’s largest city saw nearly 50 new cases in a week. One cluster is centered on Providence Transitional Care Center, which reports 29 cases among its residents and staff. City Health Department Director Natasha Pineda said another cluster of 12 cases is associated with a single Anchorage household. In addition, four people without symptoms tested positive when they sought hospital care for an unrelated reason. Pineda said three positives came from employment screenings.

  23. 23
    rhampton7 says:

    Trump’s April 28th executive order followed the industry’s dire warnings of meat shortages and invoked the Defense Production Act to compel slaughterhouses and processing plants to remain open.

    But the number of coronavirus cases tied to meatpacking plants has more than doubled since then, topping 20,400 infections across 216 plants in 33 states, according to tracking from the Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting.

    At least 74 people have died.

    That’s despite widespread implementation of protective measures like temperature checks, plastic barriers and social distancing meant to curb the virus’ spread inside the plants. Some of the recent outbreaks happened at facilities that had taken such steps.

  24. 24

    The only thing less believable than politicians and scientists these days is the propaganda that calls it self “news.” When news is about science that affects politics, you can be sure it’s 100% certifiable nonsense.

  25. 25
    kairosfocus says:

    WJN, sadly, yes. KF

  26. 26
    bornagain77 says:

    I’m thoroughly disgusted by Rhampton7 and his ilk who have been engaged in a false rhetorical war against the Hydroxychloroquine cocktail.

    The “strange” fight by world-leading infectious disease doctor to continue “spectacular” results saving covid-infected patients
    This is Part I of a 2-Part report by LifeSite’s France correspondent revealing disturbing efforts by medical and political authorities to smear or otherwise stop physicians who found a very effective way to treat coronavirus infection using falsely maligned hyrdoxychloroquine.
    June 4, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) –Hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) as a possible cure for COVID-19 was prohibited in France on May 27 because of a recent study published on May 22 by The Lancet. The study cast doubts on the safety of the drug, which it says has no positive effects on the health of patients who swallowed it after being infected by the Chinese coronavirus. It also claimed that mortality of hospitalized patients went up from over 9 percent of the control group to 23 percent of patients receiving the drug in combination with a macrolide antibiotic.
    Despite many issues surrounding the data collected for the study, their use and the company that did the statistical work, Surgisphere, both the World Health Organization and France reacted immediately. WHO stopped a study of the drug and it took French Health Minister Olivier Véran only one day after the publication by The Lancet to ask the French High Council for Public Health (HCSP) to decide whether hydroxychloroquine should continue to be allowed to be prescribed in hospitals to COVID-19 patients. HCSP came back with its answer on May 26: all prescriptions in this context should be stopped, it said.
    Serious doubts had immediately been cast on the validity of the Lancet study in various countries, leading to the medical journal’s publishing of an “Expression of concern” on June 3.
    The World Health Organization has since decided to resume its study. No such thing has happened yet in France where one of the world’s top specialists on infectious diseases, Prof. Didier Raoult, has been targeted by Véran as “irresponsible” and “f…king things up” in repeated attacks against his promoting hydroxychloroquine with azithromycine as a treatment for COVID-19.
    Prof. Raoult of Marseille said the Chinese coronavirus’ game was up on February 25
    This is just the latest step in a strange sequence of events that had its climax in February, just before the coronavirus pandemic went into full swing in Europe. It was at that point that Pr Didier Raoult of the Marseille special university hospital unit for in infectious diseases, IHU Méditerranée Infection, announced that a Chinese study had shown that 500 mg of hydroxychloroquine taken for 10 days when prescribed as soon as patients were tested positive had “spectacular results” against the virus.,,, (read more here)

  27. 27
    ET says:

    The people who rail against HCQ don’t even understand how it works with respect to covid-19. And that is after it has been explained to them.

  28. 28
    jerry says:

    In a way it is sad that Trump decided to push HCQ in March. The political world immediately began to attack the drug and as such have caused probably hundreds of thousands to die.

    If Trump had only shut up maybe a lot of these people would be alive because the medical community would have then pushed the drug. Of course then all who died would be Trump’s fault for not pushing HCQ.

    The one caveat is that the drug cost literally pennies to make and dispense. And the medical community is all receiving money/support from Drug companies who won’t make any money on a drug that cost pennies to make.

  29. 29
    Ed George says:


    In a way it is sad that Trump decided to push HCQ in March. The political world immediately began to attack the drug and as such have caused probably hundreds of thousands to die.

    You must have a different definition if ‘attack’ than I do. Approving and coordinating numerous clinical trials in the US and throughout the world is a strange way to attack.

    If Trump had only shut up…

    On this we agree.

  30. 30
    ET says:

    Acartia Eddie has reading comprehension issues. The political world is not responsible for approving and coordinating clinical trials. Obviously Acartia Eddie is just an insipid troll.

  31. 31
    kairosfocus says:

    I make note from what has been done to a distinguished researcher, Dr Didier Raoult. That tells us something is truly rotten in medicine and health at global level.

  32. 32
    jerry says:

    You must have a different definition if ‘attack’ than I do. Approving and coordinating numerous clinical trials in the US and throughout the world is a strange way to attack

    I can point you to numerous comments here on people saying the drug was dangerous and had no proven efficacy. I can point you to numerous comments in the press claiming that using the drug was dangerous and had not proven efficacy. Some going back to just after Trump made his claim.

    The tests came about by the fact that there was no treatment for a disease that kills in large numbers but there were some people claiming HCQ had benefits (Raoult and Zelenko and some adherents of their protocols). I did not see much in the press clamoring for the use of HCQ. I saw the opposite.

    Here’s the reaction of NPR. to the Houston nursing home using HCQ

    They also used zinc with great effect.

    If you do not know what NPR is, it is National Pubic Radio in the US and is very liberal. I once had a very good very liberal acquaintance tell me that there was zero difference between NPR and the NY Times. Probably not 100% true today since the NY Times has gone off the cliff on ultra left ideas. NPR is just ultra liberal.

    Here is NBC doing a hit job in early April.

    You might want to ask why did NBC publish this article in their political section?

    Maybe you can tell me what the treatment is in Canada. There is no official one In the US. So why not use one of the most prescribed drugs in the US and world? There is no good reason. So why hasn’t been done. And don’t provide the RCT BS when people are dying by the hundreds of thousands world wide.

  33. 33
    AaronS1978 says:

    All right ladies and gentlemen here are all the numbers for the evil evil Covid that’s out to destroy the world and only goes away at protests

    Even Brazil isn’t having has difficult time as certain people would claim and if you look at the USA it looks like we’ve been destroyed by the zombie apocalypse

  34. 34
    rhampton7 says:

    An Independent Fundamental Baptist church in Jessamine County that resumed in-person services in mid-May, and whose pastor pressured the governor to reopen churches early, is now the site of a COVID-19 outbreak, local health officials said.

    At least 17 congregants at Clays Mill Baptist Church, just over the Fayette County line in Nicholasville, have been diagnosed with the viral respiratory disease. Nine of the infected live in Jessamine County and eight live in Fayette County, public health officials in both places said this week. The ages of those with the virus range from children to the elderly.

    Pastor Jeff Fugate, who’s led the church for nearly 30 years, said on Friday by phone that he felt “terrible” about the outbreak. “I care more about the health of my people than anyone,” he said.

  35. 35
    rhampton7 says:

    A document containing “classified” Kansas public health information identifies Lansing Correctional Facility as the largest single source of the state’s 10,393 coronavirus cases, followed by the Tyson Foods meatpacking plant near Garden City.

    The list illuminates the real-world consequences of the pandemic by putting names to previously-undisclosed locations. Outbreaks at three Sedgwick County churches collectively infected at least 32 people and resulted in one death. A retirees coffee group in Republic County led to six cases. A keg party in Wabaunsee County was linked to five cases.

    Kansas meatpacking plants have been hit hard during the pandemic, linked to at least 2,767 cases and 10 deaths linked to the plants. Until now, however, there’s been no full, public accounting of the impact at each site.

    The list also specifies who possibly stands to benefit from the bill passed by the Kansas Legislature this week that provides businesses and healthcare providers substantial protections from COVID-19 lawsuits. Gov. Laura Kelly plans to sign the measure, which would shield many of the outbreak sites from suits if they were following public health guidance.

  36. 36
    rhampton7 says:

    South Korea reported 57 new Covid-19 infections Sunday, marking the second consecutive day novel coronavirus infections topped 50 due to clusters at a health care company and table tennis clubs.

    The upticks can largely be attributed to cluster infections in connection to a company named Richway in Gwanak District, southern Seoul, table tennis clubs in Yangcheon District, western Seoul, and the Big Tree Church in Yongin, Gyeonggi.

    Authorities continue to urge the public to avoid activities in inadequately ventilated spaces which are proving responsible for a large portion of outbreaks since the initial cluster that emerged from clubgoers in Itaewon last month.

  37. 37
    rhampton7 says:

    I n Vorpommern-Rügen county, located in north-eastern Germany, at least seven worshippers are infected with Corona and as many as 350 people are now in quarantine, a few days after they took part in prayer services that were conducted by a priest who did not know he was infected.

    In all cases, the priests and worshippers involved reportedly followed all distance and hygiene rules. Some of those infected were not in direct contact with the infected priest. The health authority in charge is working on identifying all contact persons of the worshippers who tested positive for Corona.

    The outbreak in the northern part of Mecklenburg-Hither Pomerania is not the first of its kind. After an indoor prayer service at a Baptist congregation in Frankfurt am Main, more than 100 participants tested positive for Corona in late May.

    The number of new Corona cases in Germany is still increasing slowly, by about 300 to 500 cases per day. This morning, there were a total of 185,450 Coronavirus cases, but almost 169,000 persons who used to be infected are healed by now. Since the crisis began, there have been 8,673 Corona-related deaths.

  38. 38
    rhampton7 says:

    Brazilian officials have stopped publishing data on total coronavirus fatalities in South America’s largest country after official numbers showed the third-highest death toll in the world.

    Brazil’s Federal Health Ministry on Friday removed a website displaying the daily, weekly and monthly total of infections and deaths by state, according to The Associated Press, which added that the site has since been restored, but now only displays totals for the previous 24 hours.

    Carlos Wizard, a businessman and ally of Bolsonaro’s who is likely to be appointed to a Health Ministry post, told the newspaper O Globo that earlier numbers were “fanciful or manipulated” and that the federal government planned to conduct a review to get a “more accurate” number.

    A coalition of state health secretaries strongly condemned the latest move, calling it part of Bolsonaro’s pattern of dismissing the threat and saying it would fight the change.

  39. 39
    rhampton7 says:

    The Saudi kingdom has seen infections spike as it eases stringent lockdown measures, with the number of daily cases exceeding 3,000 for the second day in a row on Sunday.

    On Friday, the kingdom announced a renewed lockdown in the city of Jeddah. The measures include a curfew running from 3 pm to 6 am, a suspension of prayers in mosques and a stay-at-home order for public and private sector workers in the Red Sea city whose airport serves pilgrims.

    After an easing of precautions in the kingdom in late May, the ministry said that strict measures could also soon return to Riyadh, which was “witnessing a continuous increase during the last days” of critical cases of the pandemic.

    The kingdom has said it will continue to suspend the year-round “umrah” pilgrimage to Mecca and Medina over fears of the coronavirus pandemic spreading in Islam’s holiest cities.

  40. 40
    rhampton7 says:

    In his greetings to the faithful following the recitation of the Marian Prayer on Sunday, Pope Francis noted that their presence in St Peter’s Square was a sign that “the acute phase of the epidemic is over in Italy, even though it remains necessary to follow the rules in force carefully.”
    He told those gathered in the Square to “be careful, don’t sing victory too soon.”
    The Pope also advised them to follow the rules carefully, “because they are rules that help us to prevent the virus from spreading.

  41. 41
    jerry says:

    I am sure RHampton will be all over this because it appears negative. He is big into case count. Cases in Florida spike in last few days.

    Question is who has gotten the virus? Is is young people. going back to work or old people in nursing homes? We rarely see an age distribution of those tested positive.

  42. 42
    Seversky says:

    I’m interested to see if we get a spike in cases after all these demos.

  43. 43
    rhampton7 says:

    A study of electronic medical records from US Veterans Health Administration medical centers has found that hydroxychloroquine–with or without azithromycin–did not reduce the risk of ventilation or death and was associated with longer length of hospital stay. This analysis, published June 5 in the journal Med, is the first in the US to report data on hydroxychloroquine outcomes for COVID-19 from a nationwide integrated health system.

    The study included data from 807 people hospitalized with COVID-19 at Veterans Affairs medical centers around the country. About half, 395 patients, did not receive hydroxychloroquine at any time during their hospitalization. Among those who did, 198 patients were treated with hydroxychloroquine and 214 were treated with both hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin. Most of the patients given hydroxychloroquine, about 86%, received it before being put on a mechanical ventilator.

    After adjustment for clinical characteristics, the risk of death from any cause was higher in the hydroxychloroquine group but not in the hydroxychloroquine + azithromycin group when these were compared with the no-hydroxychloroquine group. The researchers also found that the length of hospital stay was 33% longer in the hydroxychloroquine group and 38% longer in the hydroxychloroquine + azithromycin group than in the no-hydroxychloroquine group. Pre-existing conditions such as cardiovascular disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and diabetes were relatively common and similar across all groups.

  44. 44
    rhampton7 says:

    Despite reports that hydroxychloroquine provides little to no effects against COVID-19, some researchers expressed confidence that the drug can still do something to fight the disease. They said that the drug may not work as a coronavirus treatment but it has the potential to support prevention of infection. There are more than 48 ongoing trials with hydroxychloroquine around the world.

    To date, 17 trials are testing whether hydroxychloroquine can help prevent coronavirus infections, NBC News reported. Those studies analyzing the drug’s preventative role involve researchers from Duke University Medical Center, ProHEALTH and UnitedHealth Group, NYU Langone Health in New York and Hackensack Meridian Health Corporation in New Jersey.

    Michael Belmont, lead researcher of hydroxychloroquine trial and medical director at NYU Langone Orthopedic Hospital said that a low dosage of hydroxychloroquine could potentially reduce either the occurrence of symptomatic COVID-19 case or at least prevent serious symptoms that would require hospitalization, intensive care or intubation.

    The ongoing trial of hydroxychloroquine for pre-exposure prophylaxis at NYU Langone Health is expected to issue results in September.

  45. 45
    rhampton7 says:

    More than 800 health care workers have enrolled in a study based at Duke University to determine whether the antimalarial drug hydroxychloroquine can help ward off COVID-19, and organizers are looking for more volunteers.

    Participants in the clinical trial are drawn from a pool of people who have enrolled in The Healthcare Worker Exposure Response and Outcomes (HERO) Registry. Also based at Duke, The HERO Registry includes more than 13,600 health care workers in all 50 states, including more than 1,000 in North Carolina.

    Participants in the HERO Registry’s study must enroll at one of 40 sites around the country, including Duke, UNC Chapel Hill and Wake Forest Baptist Health in Winston-Salem. They are given either hydroxychloroquine or a placebo for 30 days and complete online surveys about their health, mood and potential exposure to coronavirus. They’re also tested for COVID-19 before and after the trial.

    The study, like the registry itself, is open to all sorts of people who work in health care. That includes doctors, nurses, therapists and paramedics but also people who transport patients, prepare and serve food or clean rooms in hospitals, clinics and nursing homes.

    “We’re asking all people who serve in all types of healthcare settings to join,” Bridget Thomas, who manages the HERO-HCQ trial at Wake Forest, said in a statement.

  46. 46
    rhampton7 says:

    The US government’s current supply of remdesivir, the only drug known to work against Covid-19, will run out at the end of the month, Dr. Robert Kadlec, a US Department of Health and Human Services official, told CNN.

    The government’s last shipment of the drug will go out the week of June 29. Gilead Sciences, the company that makes the drug, is ramping up to make more, but it’s unclear how much will be available this summer.

    “Right now, we’re waiting to hear from Gilead what is their expected delivery availability of the drug as we go from June to July,” Kadlec said. “We’re kind of not in negotiations, but in discussions with Gilead as they project what the availability of their product will be.”

  47. 47
    rhampton7 says:

    Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told Israelis Monday the government is won’t continue easing restrictions because of the increase in confirmed cases of coronavirus.

    Speaking at a press conference after a meeting of the special Corona Cabinet of top ministers, Netanyahu said health officials briefed the government on the recent “very steep increase in morbidity.”

    “It could be that we are already seeing the doubling of the rate of infection within ten days. I very much hope not,” Netanyahu said.

    “ What we decided to do, first of all, is to hit the emergency brake,” Netanyahu said. “We stopped all of the measures to ease restrictions that we were going to apply in the coming days. We will check this again next week.”

    “The main thing that all the experts emphasized is that we must keep the three rules: Wearing masks, keeping two meters’ distance and hygiene – washing hands,” Netanyahu said.

    “I ask you, for our economy, for our health and for the lives of us all – please follow the rules.”

  48. 48
    kairosfocus says:

    RH7, generally, the studies start too late or target the wrong object. The evidence of efficacy from thousands of cases is being suppressed through gold standard fallacies in the teeth of decision theory and adequate empirical evidence. But then, we have been down this line several times. KF

  49. 49
    rhampton7 says:

    All that the French doctors need to do is run a RDT. Everyone else has found the time and resources.

    Frankly the Lancet fiasco ought to challenge your trust in studies that do not meet the high standards of RDTs.

  50. 50
    kairosfocus says:

    RH7, it is obvious that you are simply pushing and have paid little attention to the balance of warrant or ethical issues tied to giving sugar pills to people facing a fast moving deadly plague. The gold standard fallacy is epistemologically corrosive, leading to rejection of adequate evidence in favour of in such cases ethically challenged procedures to create an artificial control where we already have a business as usual control; as decision theory shows is adequate. Further to this, statistical misconduct, gross negligence or fraud in no way shifts the balance in favour of ignoring sound inductive logic. I append, again, the Kennedy School of Government ckip that it is clear you refuse to take on board after you and others ignored rather similar analysis in outline I provided across several weeks. KF

    PS: Kennedy School, again:

    >>I remind, from No 55 in the Dr Lozano thread. This is Kennedy School of Government at Harvard, with a professor and with a French doctoral graduate:


    Unleash the Data on COVID-19

    By Maryaline Catillon and Richard Zeckhauser*

    Given the lethality of the COVID-19 pandemic, the urgent need is for actionable information directing care towards treatments offering higher probabilities of improving outcomes and preventing death. In normal times, randomized control trials (RCTs) would be the gold standard for determining whether innovative medical treatments are safe and effective. But with 1,500 Americans dying every day, these are hardly normal times.

    There is an urgent need for high quality studies based on real world experience, which has already accumulated for many thousands of patients. Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s pandemic physician in chief, said that RCT results will not be available “for months”. The disease will not wait.

    RCTs, which randomly assign patients to a treatment or a control group, are only ethically acceptable when the safety and performance of a treatment is unknown. When ample data exists, as now, that criterion is not met.

    Analyzing real world data on actual outcomes, when it exists in abundance, offers an alternative approach to learn almost immediately. Moreover, it avoids the ethical challenge of an RCT, given that available data could predict outcomes. Massive numbers of COVID-19 patients are currently being administered “unproven” drugs based on medical decisions made by doctors. Massive numbers are not receiving any such drugs. Thus, carefully designed case control studies could leverage differences between ongoing protocols at large hospital systems and detailed information from patients’ electronic medical records. That could determine whether widely employed hydroxychloroquine, with or without azithromycin, provides significant benefits, and at which stages to which patients, and could provide similar information on the risks it imposes. It could yield the same information about remdesivir, and about many other drug treatments currently in use. [–> sounds familiar? That’s been a line of argument I have pointed to for weeks]

    For each patient, doctors strive to optimize treatment in the current, uncertain environment. These drug versus non-drug decisions constitute an ongoing large observational study, in which the allocation to treatment and control groups varies widely. The large numbers of patients treated eliminates concerns that random variation might lead to misleading results. Those large numbers also yield results by demographic, comorbidities, and stage of disease. Leveraging real world evidence is more acceptable ethically when extensive information is already available.

    As decision theorists who have studied the methodological quality of vast numbers of RCTs, we are enthusiasts for well-conducted RCTs. But delaying public health recommendations till RCTs are completed is not appropriate in the present circumstance. Imminent threats are enormous and widespread data is easily at hand. The outcomes of the thousands of individuals who have already received drug therapies on an ad hoc basis should inform practice now . . . .

    High quality case control studies based on thousands of cases, the silver standard we recommend, are immensely faster than RCTs. Recent articles in the world’s leading medical journals show that they consistently yield the same major findings. Experience with the recommendations of antiretroviral therapy (ART) for HIV provides an instructive warning. Even though 20 years of observational studies demonstrated its enormous benefits, the World Health Organization waited until 2015 and the publication of the first set of RCT results (which reached the same conclusions) to make a “treat all” recommendation. Many lives were lost as the world waited for its recommendation.

    COVID-19 presents its own example. Through late March, medical authorities recommended the general public not employ masks to protect against it. In early April, that all switched: masks became strongly recommended. No RCT supported this reversal; little evidence was mounted. Yet officials applauded, the public widely complied, and the world was better off.

    Well conducted includes ethical criteria. Of course. But such is obviously at a discount today.

    And notice the by now familiar context: decision theory.


  51. 51
    jerry says:

    Everyone else has found the time and resources.

    I am not aware of any except the Boulware study which is on an irrelevant population and has serious methodological problems. The VA review, the ones based on the Surgisphere data are all bogus.

    The one in the uK found no effect but was on the wrong population. It also apparently found no negatives for HCQ.

    Frankly the Lancet fiasco ought to challenge your trust in studies that do not meet the high standards of RDTs.

    Nonsense. The Lancet fiasco just points out the coruption in the medical research field. An honest organization could have reported on actual data. As we have seen from Boulware, the shortcuts that were taken can mislead people. But people hold it up as fact for something even if it was a bad study.

  52. 52
    Ed George says:


    RH7, generally, the studies start too late or target the wrong object.

    What about the Canada/US study that gave it to people at high risk of infection and found no effectiveness?

  53. 53
    ET says:

    What about the fact that no one who is administering it is also monitoring the patients’ pH levels? What about its use with zinc?

  54. 54
    jerry says:

    What about the Canada/US study that gave it to people at high risk of infection and found no effectiveness?

    You just proved the point.

    It was an irrelevant badly run study on the wrong population where the outcome was successful in the sense nobody was hospitalized. They never tested their subjects and a large percentage disappeared.

    Not as bad as Lancet but pretty bad.

  55. 55
    kairosfocus says:

    EG, I again direct you to the Kennedy School of Govt article, clipped again at 50 above. Until those issues are resolved rather than sidelined or buried no real progress is possible. We are clearly looking at a widespread and institutionalised failure of inductive reasoning on evidence [selective hyperskepticism, so gold standard fallacy], tied to an equally entrenched ethical failure in safeguarding life [first, do no harm] leading to failure to address otherwise manifestly sound and relevant decision theory approaches. That, for about two months, these have been repeatedly pointed out but dismissed without serious consideration speaks volumes, none of it good. KF

  56. 56
    rhampton7 says:

    I n a study published in The New England Journal of Medicine, researchers concluded that hydroxychloroquine, or HCQ, does not prevent infection with SARS-CoV-2 when administered to people soon after exposure to the virus. This work adds to the growing, and controversial, body of research examining the efficacy of HCQ as a Covid-19 therapeutic.

    T o explore the ability of HCQ to prevent SARS-CoV-2 infections, the authors of this study enrolled over 800 people who had a moderate- or high-risk exposure to the virus. These individuals were randomly divided into two groups. Within four days of exposure, members of one group received HCQ, whereas members of the other group received a placebo. All individuals then were monitored. The conclusion: there was no discernible difference in the rate of infection in either group. Under these conditions, hydroxychloroquine did not function as an effective post-exposure prophylactic.

  57. 57
    rhampton7 says:

    In a paper published in the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases, researchers in France looked to optimise the dose of HCQ for patients in Intensive Care Units.
    The team based at the Saint Etienne University Hospital in France analysed the HCQ levels in serum samples routinely taken from patients in ICU. The patients had received a standard dose of 200mg of HCQ three times daily. The samples were analysed using liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry. The use of liquid chromatography to quickly analyse samples is discussed in the article, Practical Considerations for High-Throughput Chiral Screening in HPLC and SFC with 3- and Sub-2-µm Particle-Packed Columns.
    The authors suggest that further pharmacokinetic studies are needed to find the optimum dose of HCQ. However, they suggest a starting point of 800mg on day 1, followed by 200mg twice daily for seven days.

  58. 58
    rhampton7 says:

    2000 clinical trials. 2000! Raoult and company, 0

    “We understand the urgency of clinical research on COVID-19, but this is a time when we need rigorous science to inform policy and clinical decision-making,” says study senior author G. Caleb Alexander, MD, professor in the Department of Epidemiology at the Bloomberg School. “Any treatment that is ultimately deemed safe and effective via robust trials could potentially be used by millions of people.”

    The researchers noted that the number of U.S.- or WHO-registered clinical trials of potential COVID-19 treatments tripled from the beginning of March to March 26 when they did their snapshot survey, and since March 26 has risen to more than 2,000 registered trials as of June 8, 2020, as new trials are registered on a daily basis.

    “As the safety and effectiveness of new treatments are evaluated, it’s vital that we use the best science to do so,” Mehta says. “It’s especially important at this juncture with many lives in the balance.”

    “Characteristics of registered clinical trials assessing treatments for COVID-19: a cross-sectional analysis” was written by Hemalkumar B. Mehta, Stephan Ehrhardt, Thomas J. Moore, Jodi Segal, and G. Caleb Alexander.

  59. 59
    rhampton7 says:

    A handful of papers have suggested that vitamin C may help treat COVID-19. At least one clinical trial testing this is underway, but it will not finish until September 2020.

    For now, the research supporting the use of vitamin C for COVID-19 has looked at conditions such as acute respiratory distress syndrome and the need for mechanical ventilation due to severe cases of COVD-19. It has not looked specifically at people with COVID-19.

    A 2020 meta-analysis of nine existing clinical trials compared a group of people who received an IV infusion with a group of controls. The researchers found that, on average, vitamin C shortened the length of mechanical ventilation by 14%. The effect varied from study to study, though, and it was larger when members of the control group needed longer periods of ventilation.

    A 2019 meta-analysis found that vitamin C infusions could shorten the length of intensive care unit stays by 7.8% and the need for mechanical ventilation by 18.2%. The study looked at a wide range of medical conditions, but not at COVID-19.

    A 2019 randomized controlled trial looked at people with sepsis and severe acute respiratory failure, which are two complications that people with severe COVID-19 may experience. Participants received either a placebo or a vitamin C infusion. Although vitamin C did not decrease the rate of organ failure or sepsis, fewer people in the vitamin C group died.

    A 2018 study compared people with severe pneumonia who received a vitamin C, thiamine, and hydrocortisone infusion with those who did not. The study authors adjusted for possible differences in the group but still found that the vitamin C group had better outcomes. Specifically, they were less likely to die and had better improvements in their lung scans.

  60. 60
    rhampton7 says:

    RCTs are necessary.

    Early data from a clinical study suggest that an off-label cancer drug provided clinical benefit to a small group of patients with severe COVID-19.

    The cancer drug acalabrutinib, which blocks the Bruton tyrosine kinase (BTK) protein and is approved to treat some blood cancers, was associated with reduced respiratory distress and a reduction in the overactive immune response in most of the treated patients, according to the study published Friday in Science Immunology.

    BTK inhibitors are not approved for treatment of COVID-19; their potential must be tested in a randomized, controlled clinical trial, scientists said.

  61. 61
    rhampton7 says:

    Just as Israelis are discarding face masks in increasing numbers, evidence of their effectiveness is growing and the World Health Organization is changing its advice to encourage their use.

    Results are in for the world’s biggest study on face coverings to defend against the novel coronavirus — and they point to a major reduction in risk.

    Wearing face coverings cuts chances of COVID-19 infection by 85 percent upon encountering someone with the virus, according to a Canadian-led team that published a meta-analysis of worldwide mask research in The Lancet, a peer-reviewed medical journal, earlier this month.

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