* 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 drugs.
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 mortality.
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.