“You are not a horse. You are not a cow. Seriously, all of you. Stop. ” This real tweet U.S. Food and Drug Administration seems better suited to an April Fool’s Day joke than an actual federal health notice issued just days before the FDA fully approved Pfizer’s Covid-19 vaccine for 16 years and over.
It’s easy to joke about ignorant or desperate people who take horse dewormers, but misinformation like this is truly deadly. Hydroxychloroquine has been used off-label by many people around the world, with devastating results, and the same is happening again now.
The internet was supposed to revolutionize the way we share information. However, as we enter the second fall of the pandemic with a further increase in cases in the United States – despite a monumental vaccination effort – misinformation is still rampant. Risky coronavirus remedies and unproven treatments, from hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin to oleandrine and now ivermectin, prove that an epidemic of denial of science has flourished online.
Ivermectin is a drug widely used to treat parasitic infections in humans and animals. Some of the more common medical uses are against worms, mites, and insects, like scabies and roundworms, and tropical diseases like river blindness. If you have a dog, you may know it as a heartworm medicine, and if you have cattle, such as horses, cows, and pigs, you may know it as a dewormer.
Ivermectin has shown antiviral effects at very high doses. However, it has never been proven to effectively treat or prevent viral infections in humans. Like many in vitro data, i.e. research carried out on cell cultures in Petri dishes, no positive results were reproduced in vivo in real human subjects. And a quick glance at this data suggests a reason why: the doses and concentrations needed for antiviral activity are much higher than those which are safe for humans, and would be toxic to human life as well as for viruses. If this sounds familiar to you, it’s because the same misapplication of in vitro science has been used to promote hydroxychloroquine and disinfectants like bleach.
Meanwhile, human data on ivermectin tells a much different story. The available scientific evidence has consistently shown a lack of benefit in both the treatment and prevention of Covid-19, and empirical evidence of widespread off-label use has objectively made no difference. Notably, the only articles that showed a significant benefit for ivermectin were withdrawn because they were fraudulent, but not before they had been shared hundreds of thousands of times around the world. The same disgraced Surgisphere server – a data-sharing and analytics company that rose to prominence at the start of the pandemic – that published a scam science of hydroxychloroquine shared another scam article on ivermectin which sparked this current craze.
This paper and Surgisphere no longer exist, but the damage is done. Another widely shared study on ivermectin, which claimed to demonstrate greater success than almost any other medical intervention in modern history, was also found to be falsified and was withdrawn. But again, only after being shared widely online.
The pro-ivermectin crowd would have you believe that the science on ivermectin is ‘suppressed’. It’s not. Some of the most significant scientific efforts ever made have involved the study of ivermectin in Covid-19. Another claim is that the pharmaceutical industry does not want to lose potential profits in favor of an older, relatively inexpensive drug. This claim conveniently ignores the fact that one of the only drugs with good evidence of use in Covid-19 is dexamethasone, a cheap older drug that has been implemented around the world during this pandemic. Even the maker of ivermectin, pharmaceutical giant Merck, has issued statements warning against using its product for the coronavirus, citing safety and efficacy concerns.
The pro-ivermectin crowd would have you believe that the science on ivermectin is ‘suppressed’. It’s not.
Controversial physician groups have emerged to promote “cures” without adding any evidence, and despite names like “America’s Front Line Doctors” and “Front Line COVID-19 Critical Care Alliance,” their members often do not work. clinically – which means they don’t. actually have credentials to practice medicine in any hospital setting – and do not treat Covid-19 patients. The founder of FLCCC, who is not currently affiliated with any healthcare facility, recently revealed that he and his family contracted the coronavirus despite following his unproven ivermectin protocol. AFLD actually sells ivermectin prescriptions online, a conflict of interest.
True believers have turned to livestock preparations, which can be obtained at feed stores and other places that sell pet supplies without a prescription and without any supervision. And now poison control centers across the country are inundated with appeals related to this off-label use, because like most drugs used to kill pathogens, ivermectin can also be easily toxic to life. human. Animal formulations, which are not approved by the FDA, usually contain higher concentrations and doses, which makes it much easier to get sick. But even human doses of ivermectin can have significant side effects and interactions. Not only are people poisoning themselves, there are now shortages of ivermectin for its legitimate uses and the prices have skyrocketed.
Moreover, the fixation on these bogus remedies distracts attention from the enormous achievements of the Covid-19 vaccines, which we know not only to prevent infection, but also the severity of the disease from the way believers in it. ‘ivermectin hope their medicine will. I am a doctor and a scientist, and I desperately hope that we find more viable therapies for the treatment of this pandemic. But here in the United States, we already have access to something much better: safe, effective, and life-saving vaccines. Now we just need people to stop looking for fake medicine in the pet food store and get vaccinated.