* My column in BusinessWorld, April 6, 2021.
"Our FDA (Food and
Drug Administration) and DoH (Department of Health) are very strict about
recommendations and demand for clinical trials on Ivermectin, fine. But where
are the clinical trials on the safety and efficacy studies on mandatory face
shields? Why give special treatment to new vaccines that still have no
long-term safety studies and only a single placebo randomized controlled trial
per vaccine, a consideration not given to the 24-RCT supported efficacy, very
affordable and safe Ivermectin?”
— Dr. Benigno “Iggy” Agbayani, Jr.,
President, CDC PH
The Philippines has experienced a surge in COVID-19 cases
starting March 12, with 4,000+ cases per day. The peak so far was 12,556 cases
on April 3.
I checked some reports on countries that are using vaccines
from China. Brazil, Chile and Turkey started inoculation in mid-January 2021
using Sinovac. Also Ukraine (Global Times, Jan. 12, 2021). Serbia and Hungary
have also been using Sinovac since early March (LA Times, March 2, 2021).
Countries that use the Sinopharm vaccine are Peru and Cambodia (Washington
Post, Feb. 2, 2021), Pakistan (Al Jazeera, March 18, 2021), and Iraq (Reuters,
March 2, 2021).
When I checked these countries’ recent COVID-19 cases, a
pattern emerged — many countries that use Sinovac and/or Sinopharm have
experienced a spike or surge in cases around mid-March to present (see Figure
1). Some countries that use Sinovac or Sinopharm did not experience this trend
but they are a few, like Indonesia. Still, the pattern is troubling and governments
should pause and not rush mass vaccination.
Recently, doctors affiliated with the Concerned Doctors
and Citizens of the Philippines (CDC PH) have been resource persons in many
fora and government public hearings.
On March 30, the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and
Industry Muntinlupa City chapter under the leadership of its president, Elvie
Sanchez-Quiazon, organized a big forum, “How to end the pandemic: range of
perspectives.” Speakers were Senator Bong Go, Congressperson Ruffy Biazon, and four
physicians — health consultant Dr. Tony Leachon, CDC PH President Dr. Iggy
Agbayani, Dr. Allan Landrito who is the author of the book Freedom from
COVID-19 Now! Prevention and Cure at Hand, and Dr. Homer Lim, President of the
International Anti-Aging and Integrative Medicine Society. The forum moderator
was TV personality Luchi Cruz-Valdes, head of TV5 News and Information.
Dr. Leachon talked about the usual pillars to control a
spike in infection — test, isolate, trace, quarantine; the usual barriers —
lockdown, mandatory masks, face shields, frequent hand washing, etc. He did not
offer prophylaxis except the vaccines that will be available to many people
many months from now, nor early treatment using old and multi-decades proven
Dr. Agbayani talked about the safety of ivermectin (IVM),
as river blindness and malarial studies demonstrated its safety. Then he
discussed IVM efficacy — at least 24 published randomized control trials
(RCTs), 36 observational control trials (OCTs), one published and four
pre-print meta-analysis — all supporting or showing benefits of using IVM
against COVID-19. But despite these, IVM is not readily available mainly due to
politics like unusual strictness even in drug compounding.
Dr. Landrito talked about the important characteristics
of IVM — it is anti-parasitic, anti-viral, anti-inflammatory, and anti-cancer;
and the important properties of IVM — it inhibits the replication of many
viruses, it reduces viral load and fights organ damage, it prevents
transmission of COVID-19, it hastens recovery and decreases hospitalization and
Dr. Lim talked about early treatment protocols for the
mildly symptomatic like hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) plus azithromycin or
doxycycline, or IVM plus azithromycin or doxycycline. Plus high doses of
vitamins C and D, zinc, quercetin, and virgin coconut oil. He also discussed
the basic findings of IVM Meta (https://ivmmeta.com/).
The CDC PH doctors also attended the public hearings
conducted by the Anti-Red Tape Authority (ARTA) led by Director General
Jeremiah Belgica on the mornings of March 30 and 31. FDA Director Eric Domingo
was there. Then the House of Representatives hearing, also on March 30, from
afternoon till evening, Health Secretary Duque was there.
A recent paper, “Global trends in clinical studies of
ivermectin in COVID-19” written by Dr. Morimasa Yagisawa, Dr. Patrick J.
Foster, Dr. Hideaki Hanaki, and Dr. Satoshi Ōmura, was published by The
Japanese Journal of Antibiotics in March.
An important summary of the studies reviewed is presented
below. The p-values show significance of the studies. P values of less than
0.05 (≤ 0.05) are statistically significant, indicating strong evidence against
the null hypothesis that there is no relationship between two variables being
studied, that there is less than 5% probability the null is correct. Thus, the
alternative hypothesis that the independent variable does affect the dependent
variable, is correct. The results affirm that using IVM against COVID-19 does
lead to a shorter hospital stay or no hospitalization, viral elimination is
higher, mortality is lower, and symptoms are reduced (see Figure 2).
The indefinite lockdown policy is 13 months of failure in
the Philippines yet it is still done. Government has never tried focused
protection for the vulnerable and early treatment for symptomatic people at
home. Sick people need to get so ill that they need hospitalization before
treatment can be given. This is a dangerous government policy.
BWorld 479, Lockdown déjà vu or back to normal, March 22, 2021
BWorld 480, 10 trends in mortality and spending economics, March 29, 2021
BWorld 481, Carbon tax is not good, April 02, 2021.