The reasonable case for considering ivermectin

Some physicians think invermectin is useful as a treatment for Covid; others don’t.  I don’t have the medical or scientific knowledge to judge who is right.  

My view of invermectin is a form of Pascal’s Wager.  It is cheap and, if used as prescribed by a physician, it is safe.   If vaccines have failed or are not available, a person infected with Covid has everything to gain and nothing to lose by trying it.

I am vaccinated.  I think everybody who has access to vaccines should get vaccinated, unless they already have had Covid or have a good medical reason not to.  

But the vaccines now in use do not prevent infection or the spread of the disease.  You can catch Covid from a vaccinated person.  

Vaccines may not prevent breakthrough Covid.  A friend of mine who was vaccinated spent a weekend suffering intense pain, fever and chills, which I think was probably breakthrough Covid.

This doesn’t mean the current vaccines are useless.  They rally the body’s immune system to fight the virus.

What it does show, in my opinion, is the need for a treatment, or a sterilizing vaccine, that will actually kill the virus.

If ivermectin is such a treatment, this would be great for everyone. 

The small-scale clinical trials showing the benefits of ivermectin have sometimes been flawed.  All or almost all have been too limited to bring about conclusive results.  

That is why there should be large-scale clinical trials to settle the question one way or other other.  If ivermectin is not what it’s cracked up to be, then there should be an intense program, equivalent to Operation Warp Speed, to develop one.

It is established medical practice in the USA and other countries to allow government-approved drugs to be used for treatments of diseases other than the ones they’ve been approved for.  

I don’t believe in self-medication for serious conditions, but I believe physicians should be able to use their own judgment about legal treatments.

I  also believe physicians and scientists should be able to post discuss medical treatments on the Internet without being censored.

If I were dying of Covid, I wouldn’t want to be put on a ventilator, I would want my physician to try ivermectin.  If I were the president of an African country that couldn’t get vaccines because majority-white countries such as the USA and Canada want to give their citizens third doses, I would certainly  distribute ivermectin.

Some people refuse to get vaccines because they believe in unfounded conspiracy theories.  Some refuse because they have doubts about the risks and benefits of vaccinations vs. the disease itself.  Some have medical reasons for not getting vaccinated.  Some have religious reasons.  Some would like to get vaccinated, but their circumstances make that difficult to do.

Medical ethics do not make distinctions among the sick.  An ethicial physician does not deny treatment to someone with lung cancer because they were a a heavy cigarette smoker.  Nor of someone with HIV because they indulged in unprotected gay sex.  Nor of someone who attempted suicide and failed.  

I am a humanist who believes in the dignity and worth of every person.  I am neither an evangelical Christian, a Trump voter or a vaccine skeptic, but each of them has just as much weight in the cosmic scheme of things as I do.

I am horrified by the demonization of people who are unvaccinated, and the gloating over their deaths.  They do not deserve to be scapegoats for the shortage of hospital beds in the USA.  

The blame for that is due to a neoliberal management philosophy which says that you should minimize costs by never having any more health care workers or hospital beds beyond what you absolutely need in normal times.  This means that system is never prepared for emergencies.


Covid-19 Critical Care Alliance web site.

Why Has “Ivermectin” Become a Dirty Word? by Matt Taibbi for TK News.

Ivermectin: Much More Than You Wanted to Know by Scott Alexander Suskind for Astral Codex Ten.  [Added 11/17/2021]

Fraudulent Ivermectin studies open up new battleground between science and medicine by Melissa Davey for The Guardian.

Ivermectin is a drug for humans and horses, but research is thin on treating Covid-19 by Kelsey Piper for Vox.

Is Ivermectin a safe way to fight COVID-19 as Delta variant cases rise? by in Vancouver, Washington.

Ivermectin for Prevention and Treatment of COVID-19 Infection: A Systematic Review by Andrew Bryant and others for the American Journal of Therapeutics

HermanCainAware Subreddit: the unbelievable grimness of celebrating anti-vaxxer Covid deaths by Lili Loofbourow for Slate.

Image via Forbes.

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