"Vigilance and coordinated responses remain the key to our common survival."
With more than two million deaths and millions more infected in most of the world, we now have a trove of information about this deadly COVID-19 virus a year after the first worldwide lockdown was imposed.
We now know for certain the DNA of this virus, including its latest mutations.
We now have six vaccines with a dozen more in different phases of clinical trials meant to deter its transmission and, hopefully, treat those infected by it. We have also gone through the worst economic downturn since the Second World War and are now tiptoeing with the possible means to get the global economy back to life.
But, as the WHO and experts are now warning us this deadly virus may remain with us for another year or two before eventually graduating into a seasonal disease like the common cold or influenza. Thus, vigilance and coordinated responses remain the key to our common survival.
Thankfully, that call for unified action has brought in its wake a plethora of initiatives and common sense solutions against this deadly disease. The call is to look for various means other than the existing protocols and the widespread roll out of the vaccines to stem the surges and limit the infections to enable the health care system to take care of those needing hospital care. Even traditional solutions such as steam for nasal decongestion and paracetamol for colds and headache have been put on the table.
A number of other drugs originally used against other diseases have been or are being repurposed to determine whether they can be used against COVID-19 as well. The Chinese drug, Lianhua, which has passed muster in China, Vietnam, Singapore and a number of other countries as treatment for respiratory ailments, has gained prominence.
An anti-pneumonia drug commonly used in Israel has also been found to have a prophylactic effect against COVID-19. In a number of other countries, drugs used for common cold and even the influenza vaccine have been looked into for their possible anti COVID-19 qualities.
The latest and perhaps most talked about drug now being touted for its prophylactic and even curative import against this deadly virus is the anti-parasitic drug, ivermectin. With more and more people worldwide attesting to its curative effect it has become the subject of the national conversation for weeks on end with such notables as Senator Juan Ponce Enrile, Congressman Mike Defensor and business leader Sergio Ortiz Luis adding to the growing list of adherents. With DoH and FDA hemming and hewing about the value of using ivermectin against Covid 19, a number of prominent doctors have joined the conversation putting the bureaucrats and their ways on the spot.
One such expert, Dr. Romeo Quijano, retired professor and leading member of the UP College of Medicine Department of Pharmacology has written a biting, informative and educational commentary on ivermectin which I am giving space in this column. As the virus batters the world with hardly an end in sight, it is my hope that Dr. Quijano’s piece entitled “Loss of Common Sense in COVID-19: The Story of Ivermectin” as well as the trove of literature not only on ivermectin but on other common sense solutions against this deadly virus will give our readers and the general public the impetus to research and share other possible solutions to address the fears and desperation of peoples worldwide. Here goes:
“It is not only the sense of smell that is lost in COVID-19 but also common sense. This is quite evident in the story of ivermectin. Most seriously affected by the loss of common sense are those in the government’s power structure of the country’s COVID-19 pandemic response, public health officials and “experts”, and the mainstream media. Common sense is perceiving things as they truly are and doing things as they should be. Common sense, however, is not just an instinctive decision resulting from sensual perception but also a rational conclusion as a result of logical reflection. It is the innate ability to perceive the truth behind the facade of common beliefs and managed information dished out by the ruling elite in a basically undemocratic society and servile citizens. Common beliefs or dogma can be manufactured but not common sense. Common sense is doing the right thing even in the face of common beliefs.
“Common sense is not the product of beliefs, tradition or submission but of careful observation, analysis and intuition. It is also not a product of attaining a higher level of learning and education nor a result of climbing up the ladder of social class and structures of power. As Victor Hugo said: ‘Common sense is in spite of, not the result of, education.’”
“Government health officials and their ‘experts’ say that ivermectin should not be used because there are no clinical trials that show that ivermectin is effective when used for patients with COVID-19. When confronted with the fact that there are in fact already clinical trials in several other countries that show the efficacy of ivermectin for COVID-19 prophylaxis and treatment, they modify their argument and say, yes there are, but they are insufficient, more clinical trials are needed. They also mislead people by saying that ivermectin is used only in animals. When confronted with the fact that ivermectin was first used for parasitic infections in humans, they say, yes, but the available ivermectin in the country is only for animals and therefore dangerous to use in humans. When confronted with the fact that ivermectin formulations have been registered previously and is listed in the national formulary of essential drugs, and has long history of safety as attested to by international bodies, they say, yes, but ivermectin is no longer registered for human use and there are serious adverse that can happen if used in humans. When informed that some doctors are already prescribing ivermectin to asymptomatic and mild to moderate cases of COVID-19, based on their own analysis of available studies and experience that the drug is safe and effective, they say, these doctors are violating the law. When informed further that the doctors prescribing ivermectin can save lives and is urgently needed by their patients since these patients are refused admission by hospitals and are told that they come only when symptoms become severe, they say, well, these doctors can apply for “compassionate use” and the ivermectin manufacturer or supplier can apply for “emergency use authorization”. When asked why can’t the government itself be proactive, be “compassionate” and make ivermectin available in this COVID-19 emergency situation where countless people are dying and ivermectin offers hope for desperate people, they hem and haw and avoid the question, repeating what they already said and invoking rules and regulations to be followed. They admonish people to have a little bit more patience since vaccines are already being rolled out, repeating the mantra that vaccines are the be-all and end-all that would solve the COVID-19 crisis.
“Now, let’s go into a little bit more details and try to make sense out of this story. The health officials say there are insufficient clinical trials and together with various local medical societies, they issue a joint statement saying ‘We do not recommend the use of Ivermectin for the treatment of COVID-19. It has not been proven to significantly reduce mortality or improve other clinical outcomes’ citing a ‘systematic review of 6 randomized controlled trials (RCT’s) of good methodological quality’ without revealing that they receive quite a substantial amount of largesse from Big Pharma. They completely ignore the fact that an independent group called Front Line COVID-19 Critical Care Alliance (FLCCC) analyzed a much more extensive list of clinical trials (50 studies, 26 were randomized controlled trials). Of the 50 studies, 98 percent report positive effects and 76 percent show lower mortality. Of the 26 RCTs, 96 percent report positive effects, with an estimated 66-percent improvement. FLCCC is a group of highly published, critical care physician-scholars and allied physicians from around the world. This was corroborated by another independent review of 11 RCTs whose results show 62-percent reduction of mortality.”