Los Angeles Times (LA Times) journalist Michael Hiltzik is the latest hired gun in the mainstream media to line up and take a pop-shot at the drug, Ivermectin. Running with a reductive and anti-intellectual dig (Ivermectin is the new Hydroxychloroquine), Mr. Hiltzik declares that while the anti-malarial drug isn’t discussed much nowadays, Ivermectin is, and he believes it shouldn’t be due to “an utter lack of scientific evidence.” For him to use the words “utter lack” can only mean that he hasn’t actually looked at the current evidence base or lacks the scientific shrewdness to accurately assess it. Surely, even the National Institutes of Health (NIH) COVID-19 Treatment Guidelines Panel would disagree with his choice of words, considering they changed their August 2020 stance from recommending against Ivermectin for COVID-19 to not being able to recommend for or against it in January of 2021, after listening to evidence presented by Dr. Paul Marik, Dr. Pierre Kory and epidemiologist and WHO consultant Dr. Andrew Hill.

While vaccines are now available, in rich countries that is, they are not enough to end the global pandemic. This is why the NIH is putting billions of dollars behind large therapeutic clinical trials, including ACTIV-6, a trial that will study the use of Ivermectin and other repurposed drugs for COVID-19. Early-onset COVID-19 treatments are needed for a variety of reasons, including that some people can’t take the COVID-19 vaccine, decreasing vaccine effectiveness against new variants, lack of vaccine access around the globe, and not having a clear picture on vaccine durability and long-term safety in specific populations. We also have to consider increasing breakthrough infections as new variants emerge and how those breakthrough cases, even mild ones, contribute to transmission, a factor yet unknown and one that the Prevent COVIDU study, overseen by the COVID-19 Prevention Network in Seattle, aims to learn more about.

Why the Stark Lack of Media Attention on Early Care and Therapeutics?
Vaccines are a critical part of the public health response to COVID-19. There is no denying this. However, therapeutics also play a fundamental role, and yet few in the public realize this. There is a trending obsession to get people vaccinated, fueled by a billion-dollar campaign to convince every American to take the shot, and perhaps that is why so few in the MSM are calling attention to the gaping hole that is early treatment for COVID-19. The NIH, FDA, and World Health Organization certainly recognize this gap, which is why there are ongoing, tax-funded clinical trials to address it.

Through Operation Warp Speed, the NIH and the new POTUS administration have allocated enormous sums of money to drug companies to study therapeutics, such as $486 million dollars to AstraZeneca to study AZD7442, their combination long-acting monoclonal antibody targeting COVID-19. The funds are supporting major Phase 3 trials such as PROVENT, which is exploring the drug as pre-exposure prophylaxis, and TACKLE, which is investigating the drug for adult outpatients to prevent disease progression. AstraZeneca declares in the government trial registry that “there is an urgent need to rapidly evaluate treatments in the non-hospitalized setting to prevent progression and reduce serious complications of COVID-19, as well as its transmission.”

In December 2020, the government gave $356 million to Merck to study novel therapeutics against COVID-19 and made a 1.2 billion dollar deal with Merck to pre-purchase Molnupiravir, a treatment for mild to moderate disease. (Merck is currently testing Molnupiravir in a Phase 3 study.) It’s worth noting that Molnupiravir would be a competitor against cheap, generic products like Ivermectin, and that Merck also issued a statement saying that there wasn’t enough evidence to support the use of Ivermectin against COVID-19. (We will let the TrialSite News readers decide if they consider this a conflict of interest.)

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