Experts Testify About ?Wondrous? Properties of Ivermectin
As the rise of Covid-19 cases and hospitalizations around the country generate an atmosphere of renewed alarm, an extraordinary Senate hearing explored the ?astounding? efficacy of ivermectin (IVM) as a promising drug in the early treatment of Covid-19.
In Part Two of a series on ?Early?Outpatient Treatment: An Essential Part of a COVID-19 Solution,??convened by Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., the hearing brought five experts to address how early at-home treatment with ivermectin, an FDA-approved drug in use for 40 years, can potentially end the pandemic.
?It?s proving to be a wonder drug,? pulmonologist and ICU specialist Dr. Pierre Kory told the Senate panel. ?It has already won the Nobel Prize in medicine in 2015 for impact on global health in the eradication of parasitic diseases. And it?s proving to be an immensely powerful anti-viral and anti-inflammatory agent.?
The hearing was held under the aegis of the Department of Homeland Security and Government Affairs chaired by Sen. Johnson. The speakers were all prominent specialists in their fields affiliated with respected institutions. A chief common denominator among them was their belief in the vital importance of early treatment of Covid-19 as the key to saving lives and halting the transmission of the disease.
Some of the speakers also offered insight into why, in their view, the United States is experiencing such poor results in the medical management of Covid-19, especially with high-risk patients.
Rather than embracing early treatment, which is how most illnesses are managed, the nation?s medical establishment (federal health agencies and much of academia) has ignored and even actively suppressed the evidence for early outpatient treatment of Covid-19 illness, they noted.
A Wiser Path
Political leaders today warn of impending lockdowns, as if no choice exists but again to restrict civil liberties, limit social gatherings, and cripple businesses. But the five physicians who testified at November?s Senate hearing and the three who testified in May, explained their view that there is a healthier, wiser path that would eliminate the need for lockdowns.
The doctors called for federal health agencies to abandon the passive ?go-home-quarantine-and-wait-it-out? policy toward Covid-19 patients, and to adopt a proactive approach to killing the virus in the early stage, with drugs that are widely available, safe and cheap.
The ?do-nothing? approach based on the assumption that viruses don?t respond to medicine has been discredited, they noted. It too often leads, especially in high-risk patients, to severe complications and death.
?COVID-19, and the inflammatory response to this virus, ravages the body in a way that we healthcare providers have never seen before,? Dr. Kory said.
The ICU specialist is also president of the Frontline Critical Care for Covid-19 [FLCCC], an organization comprised of critical care experts and researchers from around the world. The organization was formed in March at the onset of the pandemic and has been ?working tirelessly reviewing the world?s literature on almost every aspect of this disease in order to find an effective protocol,? Kory told members of the panel.
In introducing the ICU specialist, Sen. Johnson noted that in a May appearance at Part One of the Senate hearing, Dr. Kory had spoken of the discovery that corticosteroids could be used successfully in treating later stages of Covid-19. The medical establishment had opposed that view.
?I had doctors coming over to me and thanking me for giving them an opportunity to change their thinking by hearing what you had to say about these medications,? Sen. Johnson told Kory. ?I hope your remarks today will be as impactful.?
Dr. Kory in his testimony noted that a protocol created by FLCCC in just the last 3-4 months is ?based on conclusive data on the profound efficacy of ivermectin as it emerged in research covering all stages of the disease.?
The data shows the drug?s life-saving properties in multiple ways, Kory said. It acts as a prophylaxis in preventing Covid-19 infection; it keeps those with early symptoms from progressing to the hyper-inflammatory phase of the disease; and even helps critically ill patients recover.
The drug is not administered alone but as part of a protocol that may include hydroxychloroquine, antibiotics, anti-viral medications and corticosteroids.
?The FLCCC protocol could save hundreds of thousands of people around the globe, who may die while they await the widespread distribution of the vaccines,? Dr. Kory exhorted the committee in a passionate address.
?People are dying at untold rates,? he lamented, speaking of his anguish watching people slowly suffocate as their lungs can no longer draw in air.
?I am a lung and ICU specialist, and all I do right now is take care of Covid patients dying of breathlessness in ICUs. By the time they get to the ICU, it is nearly impossible to save most patients. They simply cannot breathe. All are attached to oxygen delivery devices, or ventilator masks strapped tight to their faces, or they are placed in sedative comas and paralyzed so that mechanical ventilators can breathe for them,? Dr. Kory told the panel.
?They are dying even with our armory of modern medicines and machines, and they are dying slowly,? he added, clearly distraught. ?Besides the horrific amount of suffering by the patients, their families too become traumatized and destroyed.?
Search for a Safe Drug to ?Repurpose?
Dr. Kory said his group?s determination to find an existing, safe, low-cost drug agent to repurpose as a therapeutic agent for Covid-19 began as an effort to fill a glaring research void at the federal level.
?Besides the early?interest and research into hydroxychloroquine, we can find no other significant national efforts to?research and repurpose existing drugs to treat this disease,? he said. ?Everything has been about [developing] novel expensive pharmaceutically engineered drugs, like remdesivir, and monoclonal antibodies in vaccines that cost thousands of dollars per treatment.?
Although the FDA has approved remdesivir to treat COVID-19 in adults, the respected Dr. Zev Zelenko of Rockland County who pioneered the Covid-19 treatment known as the Zelenko Protocol, has said that remdesivir carries a high risk of significant side effects including liver and kidney damage. A single treatment costs $3000 and can only be administered by IV in a hospital setting.
In contrast to these new chemically engineered drugs of which doctors know so little, we have hundreds of years of medicine development with thousands of drugs that have multiple uses, Dr. Kory told the Senate hearing. His group decided to pour their energies into finding a widely available drug that could treat Covid-19.
At the time, hydroxychloroquine was receiving a great deal of mixed attention, and Ivermectin was being studied in a clinical trial in Australia and other places. As is well known, hydroxychloroquine has been maligned by the medical establishment and media, but is nevertheless widely sought and used to treat Covid illness in many states, often clandestinely.
?Patients nationwide call AAPS (Association of American Physicians and Surgeons) in search of a doctor who will treat them,? attested Dr. Jane Orient to the Senate panel. ?One patient told me he had his wife drive him all the way to Dallas when all the doctors he knew in Tucson refused to prescribe HCQ. His severe symptoms were relieved within hours.?? Doctors report that they can?t get HCQ for their nursing home patients.?
By contrast, ivermectin has escaped media vilification but remains largely unknown by grassroots America.
FLCCC is determined to change that.
What the Studies Reveal
According to Dr. Kory, the FLCCC has compiled a manuscript detailing results from more than 20 studies on ivermectin in the treatment of Covid-19, of which more than 10 are RCT?s (randomized controlled trials)?the gold standard in scientific research.
That far exceeds the level required for a compassionate use authorization as?defined by the?FDA, experts say.
The manuscript cites three categories of studies; disease prevention; early treatment and hospital treatment. The prevention studies encompassed 6 trials with a total of over 2400 patients, ?all showing near-perfect prevention of transmission of this virus in people with exposure to Covid-19 patients, compared to high rates of transmission in those who did not receive ivermectin treatment.?
Studies on early treatment encompassed over 3,000 patients. ?All findings show either a statistically significant reduction in the number of patients who deteriorated into hospital or ICU when treated with ivermectin, or they reported faster recovery from all symptoms,? Dr. Kory testified.
Regarding studies on hospital treatment with ivermectin, he cited ?four large RCT?s, 4 well-designed OCT?s (observational controlled trials), with the total number of patients studied approaching 3,000. Almost all show large and statistically significant reductions in mortality when treated with ivermectin,? the ICU specialist attested.
His written presentation to the Senate included fully footnoted and documented sources.
In his testimony, Kory also referenced a report on a recent clinical trial in Argentina by the lead investigator of ivermectin, where the drug was administered as a prophylaxis to 800 health care workers. ?Not one got sick. Among the 400 to whom they did not give ivermectin as prophylaxis, 58 per cent, or 237 of the 400 got sick,? Kory testified.
The specialist noted ivermectin?s safety profile, saying it is ?nearly unparalleled, given its near-zero drug interactions along with only mild and rare side effects, observed in almost 40 years of use and billions of doses administered.?
?How many more trials have to be done when our manuscript details results from over 20 studies? with over ten of them RCTs (randomized controlled trials)?? Kory asked the Senate panel. ?We are in a pandemic, we are at war, stop pretending this is peacetime where we are conducting business as usual.?
The physicians called on the FDA and its sister agencies to urgently investigate the latest clinical trials and ?mountains of evidence? that has amassed in the past six months that early home-treatment of Covid-19 with ivermectin can knock out the virus. They must then issue new guidelines for physicians, nurse-practitioners, and physician assistants across the country, the doctors said.
NIH: Admit Patient to Hospital Only If He/She Can?t Breathe
Dr. Peter McCullough, respected vice chief of medicine at Baylor University Medical Center in Dallas, told the Senate panel that early outpatient treatment should consist of ?a multi-drug regimen including HCQ and IVM (ivermectin)-based regimens aimed at disrupting viral replication. This would reduce the risk of escalation to cytokine storm (multi-organ attack by the body?s own immune system) and blood-clotting.
?Because government regulations have blocked access to generic drugs for at-home treatment protocols, doctors have been forced to create endless workarounds to get medicine quickly before the virus spirals out of control in their patients,? Dr. McCullough said.
He noted that government agencies and medical organizations have admonished doctors for treating Covid-19 patients outside of the hospital.
?Astonishingly, the National Institutes of Health, in its October 9, 2020, COVID-19 Treatment Guidelines, directs doctors to let even high-risk Covid-19 patients, sicken at home for two weeks or more, and when finally gasping and choking for air, place them in hospital isolation,? Dr. McCullough testified.
?NIH says that a Covid-19 patient may receive their first medical treatment only if oxygen is given. While the NIH, agency representatives, and academicians stand behind this document as ?best science,? many practicing physicians, patients, and community leaders view this as medically irresponsible and unconscionable,? the doctor said.
?I have managed Covid-19 over the spectrum of the illness, and I can tell you that I would never allow a high-risk Covid-19 patient to go without treatment, become progressively panicked and unable to breathe, and force them to the hospital, possibly never to see their loved ones again. By the time a patient is that sick, the chances of lung, heart, and organ damage is far too high.?
Dr. McCullough stressed that in contrast to the United States and many European countries, some nations are using early outpatient treatment strategies with take-home treatment packets with HCQ and IVM-based regimens, with reportedly significant benefits.
?There are websites, such as?http://www.c19study.com/ that list studies and publications from around the world regarding HCQ, Ivermectin, Zinc, Remdesivir, Vitamin D and other medicines. Everyone can see the facts for themselves,? he said.
The Baylor University Hospital director also produced a highly informative video discussing the science of and rationale for early treatment of Covid-19 illness. The videos were censored?and labeled as ?misinformation? by YouTube,?Facebook, and Twitter without declaring what content was not true.
The FLCCC has been similarly blocked in attempts to disseminate scientific information about Ivermectin on Facebook and other social media, with the organization?s educational pages repeatedly being shut down.
In the meantime, as the world awaits widespread distribution of a vaccine which will take months to have a significant impact on the general public and may not be suitable for everyone, the virus continues striking down multitudes.
?I?m Losing Patients of All Ages?
?I can?t help but get emotional,? Kory told Fox News following his testimony. ?This is not the flu. I?m losing patients of all ages, all ethnicities and they?re all dying.?
The pulmonologist noted that the NIH in August recommended that ivermectin only be used in clinical trials amid a lack of studies at the time.
?We need to implore our government and leaders to revise their recommendations. It?s over three months old. They need to update it to reflect new developments,? Kory said, noting that much of the data reporting efficacy of ivermectin came to the attention of researchers after the NIH released their recommendations.
?Political leaders have largely been silent, and most physicians have been telling Covid-19 patients to quarantine and hope for the best rather than prescribing early treatment. With almost 200,000 new Covid-19 cases daily in the U. S., it is up to patients to demand outpatient treatment,? wrote an opinion piece in the Wall Street Journal.
?Treating high-risk patients with Covid-19 at home using safe medications is the most promising public-health strategy for preventing hospital overcrowding and death,? the article continued. ?These treatments are widely available and can be combined with other measures. What Americans need in this crisis is clear-eyed policy inspired by imagination and a genuine desire to protect the vulnerable?rather than fueled by fear or partisan political agendas,? the WSJ article said.
?If we do nothing, the present trend will continue,? Dr. Kory told the Senate panel. ?History will judge. The American people will cry for answers or will praise the courage of those elected to represent their interest.?
Sen. Ron Johnson:?Find a Doctor With an Open Mind?
?It?s just stunning how close-minded the approach has been to early treatment,? Sen. Johnson said in an appearance on Newsmax. He referenced the New York Times, Newsweek and other media outlets for their harsh criticism of his hearings on potential early treatment for Covid-19. The NYT accused him of ?amplifying dubious theories and questionable treatments.?
?Early treatment just makes so much sense,? Johnson said. ?We have these cheap, widely available pharmaceuticals that now there is growing evidence of their effectiveness. Why have we denied that? Why have we vilified doctors that first and foremost have the courage to treat COVID patients, refusing to follow NIH guidelines which basically say: ?Send patients home and do nothing at all and hope and pray you don?t get sick enough for the hospital, because we?re not to treat you until you get that sick.?
Johnson referred to both hydroxychlororquine and ivermectin, saying ?All we?re asking is, ?take a look at it.? If you?re a patient and you get a Covid diagnosis, find a doctor who is willing to have an open mind and be willing to try some of these things that are completely safe. They?re some of the safest drugs ever developed. They?re just being used off-label and it looks as evidence comes in, they?re being used successfully.?
?Why go home in fear all by yourself, in isolation, when there may be some treatments. I just do not understand the closed minds here.?