‘Nothingburger of a paper’ and why we still don’t know if anti-malarial drugs work against the coronavirus

x

Last week, I wrote about an experimental treatment for COVID-19 that repurposes old drugs. One version of the treatment uses chloroquine … an anti-malaria drug that’s also used to treat autoimmune diseases. Another version, the one that at the time was getting the most press, claimed that the combination of hydroxychloroquine … and the antibiotic azithromycin … could completely render SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, undetectable in patients. As I described, it was a horrible, horrible study… .

I wasn’t planning on writing about this particular issue again, but then I observed two developments. First, Professor Didier Raoult … published another trial that’s being flogged as evidence that his combination works. Second, in the conspiracy fever swamps on social media and even on traditional media an emerging narrative was being promoted late last week.

Related article:  Coronavirus test uncertainty: False negatives could be as high as 30 percent

Basically, this is a nothingburger of a paper. It studied patients with low severity or even asymptomatic COVID-19 disease, the vast majority of whom would likely have cleared the virus just as fast without the medications. Again, this is such a useless paper, even as an observational paper, that it tells us, in essence, nothing new.

I fear that, when all is said and done, the COVID-19 pandemic will be the single greatest opportunity for grifters and snake oil salesmen I’ve seen in my lifetime. Until a vaccine and/or effective treatment is developed, the grift will continue.

Read the original post

Outbreak
Outbreak Daily Digest
Biotech Facts & Fallacies
Talking Biotech
Genetics Unzipped
ft covidresponseus feature

Video: Viewpoint: The US wrote the global playbook on the coronavirus and then ignored it

A year ago, the United States was regarded as the country best prepared for a pandemic. Our government had spent ...
mag insects image superjumbo v

Disaster interrupted: Which farming system better preserves insect populations: Organic or conventional?

A three-year run of fragmentary Armageddon-like studies had primed the journalism pumps and settled the media framing about the future ...
dead bee desolate city

Are we facing an ‘Insect Apocalypse’ caused by ‘intensive, industrial’ farming and agricultural chemicals? The media say yes; Science says ‘no’

The media call it the “Insect Apocalypse”. In the past three years, the phrase has become an accepted truth of ...
globalmethanebudget globalcarbonproject cropped x

Infographic: Cows cause climate change? Agriculture scientist says ‘belching bovines’ get too much blame

A recent interview by Caroline Stocks, a UK journalist who writes about food, agriculture and the environment, of air quality ...
organic hillside sweet corn x

Organic v conventional using GMOs: Which is the more sustainable farming?

Many consumers spend more for organic food to avoid genetically modified products in part because they believe that “industrial agriculture” ...
benjamin franklin x

Are most GMO safety studies funded by industry?

The assertion that biotech companies do the research and the government just signs off on it is false ...
gmo corn field x

Do GMO Bt (insect-resistant) crops pose a threat to human health or the environment?

Bt is a bacterium found organically in the soil. It is extremely effective in repelling or killing target insects but ...
favicon

Environmental Working Group: EWG challenges safety of GMOs, food pesticide residues

Known by some as the "Environmental Worrying Group," EWG lobbies for tighter GMO legislation and famously puts out annual "dirty dozen" list of fruits and ...
m hansen

Michael Hansen: Architect of Consumers Union ongoing anti-GMO campaign

Michael K. Hansen (born 1956) is thought by critics to be the prime mover behind the ongoing campaign against agricultural biotechnology at Consumer Reports. He is an ...
News on human & agricultural genetics and biotechnology delivered to your inbox.
Optional. Mail on special occasions.
Send this to a friend