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Ivermectin is the new hydroxychloroquine, take 4: Fraud, incompetence, or both?

Ivermectin has been hyped without good evidence as a highly effective treatment for COVID-19. Yesterday it was reported that the main study that has driven positive meta-analyses was either fraudulent or so incompetent as to be meaningless. Bottom line: Ivermectin almost certainly doesn’t work.

A few weeks ago, I first wrote about ivermectin is the new hydroxychloroquine. What did I mean by that? Last year, as the coronavirus pandemic washed over the world for the first time, the antimalarial drug hydroxychloroquine was touted as a near-miraculous treatment for COVID-19 despite an incredible lack of anything resembling rigorous scientific or clinical evidence. Ultimately, studies were done and hydroxychloroquine shown to be ineffective, but it remained what I like to call the “Black Knight of COVID-19 treatments” (in a nod, of course the that famous character from Monty Python and the Holy Grail) in that, no matter how many limbs were hacked off by the emerging scientific evidence, its proponents would respond, “It’s just a flesh wound” and continue promoting it. Ivermectin has developed very much that same vibe, complete with quacks, grifters, and conspiracy theorists promoting it, every bit as much as French “brave maverick doctor” Didier Raoult, America’s quack Dr. Mehmet Oz, quacks like Vladimir Zelenko, and, of course, Donald Trump promoted hydroxychloroquine. That’s not even considering the astroturf campaigns promoting the drug.

The “hydroxychloroquine” vibe behind ivermectin was very strong, but I still resisted writing about it for several months, mainly because the hydroxychloroquine vibe was so strong and my strong sense of “been there, done that” interfered. Ivermectin, you might recall, is a drug commonly used to treat worm infestations in animals and some worms in humans as well. Like hydroxychloroquine, it showed some antiviral activity in cell culture experiments, leading some scientists to think that it might be repurposing. Going beyond hydroxychloroquine, though, ivermectin proponents have pointed to at least to meta-analyses as strong evidence that ivermectin works against COVID-19, seemingly forgetting that the principle of “garbage in, garbage out” (GIGO) applies to meta-analyses. every bit as much as it does to computer programs. Make no mistake, either, most of the studies used in these meta-analyses have been very poor, and the highest quality studies of ivermectin, such as they are, have all been negative, except (supposedly) one.

Guess what? That one study appears to be fraudulent, as demonstrated in three articles: one news report and two blog posts, one of which is from a familiar source. First, these two:

Then, an old friend on Twitter:

Remember the study Elgazzar et al 2020? It was a study from Egypt that figured prominently in the meta-analysis by the ivermectin-promoting BIRD Group in the UK and in previous attempts at “meta-analyses” by the ivermectin-promoting Frontline COVID-19 Critical Care Alliance (FLCCC) in that, despite its only having been published on a pre-print server and both the BIRD Group and FLCCC rating it as much higher quality than it warranted, it had a major pull in making their meta-analyses of ivermectin positive. As I pointed out, using Gideon Meyerowitz-Katz’s reanalysis, without Elgazzar 2020, the BIRD Group meta-analysis that was widely touted as slam-dunk evidence that ivermectin reduces death from COVID-19 by over 60% turns into a negative meta-analysis that demonstrates no benefit. I also pointed out elsewhere that a better meta-analysis that did exclude Elgazzar 2020 was a negative meta-analysis.

So what’s the deal? First, there was a conflict of interest:

The efficacy of a drug being promoted by rightwing figures worldwide for treating Covid-19 is in serious doubt after a major study suggesting the treatment is effective against the virus was withdrawn due to “ethical concerns”.

The preprint study on the efficacy and safety of ivermectin – a drug used against parasites such as worms and headlice – in treating Covid-19, led by Dr Ahmed Elgazzar from Benha University in Egypt, was published on the Research Square website in November.

It claimed to be a randomised control trial, a type of study crucial in medicine because it is considered to provide the most reliable evidence on the effectiveness of interventions due to the minimal risk of confounding factors influencing the results. Elgazzar is listed as chief editor of the Benha Medical Journal, and is an editorial board member.

Oh, dear. What would all those groups and people pushing ivermectin say if, for instance, there were a similar conflict of interest involving someone promoting, say, one of the COVID-19 vaccines and the pharmaceutical company making the vaccine? Actually, we already know, because a lot of the people promoting ivermectin love to conspiracy monger and pull the “pharma shill” gambit about anyone saying anything positive about COVID-19 vaccines and negative about ivermectin. Indeed, ever since I wrote my first post about ivermectin last month, I’ve been subject to exactly that, even though I have nothing to do with Pfizer, Moderna, Johnson & Johnson, etc.

Then, there appears to have been plagiarism:

A medical student in London, Jack Lawrence, was among the first to identify serious concerns about the paper, leading to the retraction. He first became aware of the Elgazzar preprint when it was assigned to him by one of his lecturers for an assignment that formed part of his master’s degree. He found the introduction section of the paper appeared to have been almost entirely plagiarised.

Let’s go to the tape, so to speak, and look at Lawrence’s article:

Grftr News also detected significant levels of plagiarism in the Elgazzar paper. With one or two minor exceptions, the entirety of the paper’s introduction appears to be copied from various sources, including several other studies, press releases, and letters to the editor from other journals. (Click here to see the evidence for yourself).

Where the copying is not verbatim, the author’s appear to have employed techniques more commonly used by students to disguise plagiarism, for example, by using synonyms or changing one or two words. This is how “severe acute respiratory syndrome” becomes “extreme intense respiratory syndrome” in one sentence in the paper, despite the fact that “Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome” is part of the exact full name of COVID-19 (hence the name of the virus, SARS-CoV-2), and no scientist would paraphrase that sequence of four words regardless of how many times they had previously appeared in their article. Another example is “The coronavirus has been a known pathogen in animals since the early 1970s”, which in Elgazzar et al.’s preprint becomes “Coronavirus has been a recognised pathogen in animals in early 1960s”.

I must admit that I laughed out loud when I read that passage, as I had only skimmed that ivermectin paper when it was still on the preprint server. I had noticed some of the—shall we say—weird phraseology, but I had attributed it not to plagiarism but simply to English not being the authors’ first language. I’ve seen this sort of thing many times reviewing papers for journals; papers from non-English-speaking countries often have prose that reads strangely simply due to a nonnative speaker trying to write in English. When I see this, my usual recommendation is that the authors get someone skilled in writing English to edit the paper before resubmitting. No judgment. I only suggest it to make such papers more easily readable.

Of course, as Meyerowitz-Katz observed, just the results of the study raised a lot of red flags. Elgazzar 2020, if you take the authors at their word, enrolled over 400 people with COVID-19 and 200 close personal contacts and allocated them either to ivermectin or placebo groups, reporting that ivermectin treatment decreased mortality from COVID-19 buy a whopping 90%. As Meyerowitz-Katz observed, if this were true, that would make ivermectin the “most incredibly effective treatment ever to be discovered in modern medicine.” While as a physician I might quibble about that a bit (we do have treatments that are greater than 90% effective at eliminating the diseases or conditions that they treat, especially a number of vaccines), he is correct if you restricted this to antiviral drugs. If this study’s results were accurate and generalizable, ivermectin would be the most most incredibly effective antiviral treatment ever to be discovered. That result alone should have raised a number of red flags, and it did among authors doing meta-analyses who were not ivermectin advocates from the BIRD Group or the FLCCC, which is why they excluded it from their analyses. There were also methodological reasons that I’ve mentioned before, including no good description of how patients were randomized or other key information necessary to judge the quality of a study to be included in a meta-analysis. That’s leaving aside, even the methodological issues, as mentioned by Meyerowitz-Katz:

However, even at first glance there are some problems. The authors used the wrong statistical tests for some of their results — for technical people, they report chi-squared values for continuous numeric data — and their methodology is filled with holes. They don’t report any allocation concealment, there are questions over whether there was an intention-to-treat protocol or people were shifted between groups, and the randomization information is woefully inadequate. As a study, it looks very likely to be biased, making the results quite hard to trust.

There were other issues as well, as reported by Lawrence:

One sign of poor research design – though not fraud – was the author’s decision to only register their trial on a clinical trials registry after completing their study and publishing their first draft. Meyerowitz-Katz explained that while this is not optimal it’s still common. The purpose of registering a trial in advance is to avoid the authors changing the questions or analysis they perform once the trial is complete. Such behaviours would be considered bad practice, but not registering a trial isn’t proof that they occurred.

More problematic is the authors’ decision to provide conflicting information about their trial start date. In their trial registry information, within the paper, and in replies to comments on the paper, the authors claim to have received ethical approval and commenced the trial on the 8th of June 2020. However, according to their original data, the authors recruited and treated several patients before this date. Moreover, almost half of the patients who died during the trial died before this date. Both Meyerowitz-Katz and Sheldrick confirmed that this is a problem. If the authors started their study before they had ethical approval, this would be a major ethics violation. Additionally, the authors claim to have conducted their trial on 18-80-year-olds, but the original data contains records for four patients younger than 18.

Then there are glaring discrepancies, according to Lawrence:

When opening what the authors claim is their original data the first thing that any reader notices is that it’s remarkably complete. In many columns data for all patients are fully listed. The second thing the reader will likely notice is that the original data do not match the author’s public results. In three of the four study arms measuring patient death as an outcome, the numbers between the paper and original data differ. 

In their paper, the authors claim that four out of 100 patients died in their standard treatment group for mild and moderate COVID-19. According to the original data they uploaded, the number was 0 (the same as the ivermectin treatment group). In their ivermectin treatment group for severe COVID-19, the authors claim two patients died – the number in their raw data is four. Grftr News put these findings to the authors however has not received any reply.  

The original data suggests that efforts to randomise patients between different groups either failed or was not attempted – despite claims to the contrary by the authors. Every patient in the severe COVID-19 group receiving standard care was an ICU patient, while the patients with severe disease in the ivermectin group were mixed between wards and ICU. The experts Grftr News spoke to confirmed this is extremely unlikely to happen by chance.

It also appears that some (or all) of the data for this paper were fabricated. Nick Brown wrote a long blog post about the problems with and discrepancies in the data as presented in the paper if you want the details. The sheer number of discrepancies point strongly to probable fraud, including:

At several points in the Excel file, there are instances where the values of an ostensibly random variable are identical in two or more sequences of 10 or more participants, suggesting that ranges of cells or even entire rows of data have been copied and pasted.

And:

In cells B150:B168 and B184:B202, the patient’s initials are either identical at each corresponding point (e.g., cells B150/B184) or, in almost all the remaining cases, differ in only one letter.
Cells C150:C168 are identical to cells C184:C202.
Cells D150:D168 are identical—with one exception out of 19 cells—to cells D184:D202.
Cells I150:I167 are identical to cells I184:I201.
Cells S150:S165 are identical—with one exception out of 14 cells—to cells S184:S199.
Cells U150:U168 are identical to cells U184:U202.
Cells V150:V168 are identical to cells V184:V202.
Cells W150:W168 are identical—with three exceptions out of 19 cells—to cells W150:W168.
Cells AA150:AA168 are identical to cells AA184:AA202.

The errors and discrepancies listed in the articles by Lawrence, Brown, and Meyer0witz-Katz just scream data fabrication to me. They just do. The most charitable explanation is that Elgazzar and coauthors made a number of cut and paste errors transferring their data from SPSS to an Excel spreadsheet, although that begs the question of why they bothered to put the data into an Excel spreadsheet instead of just providing the SPSS file. If Elgazzar and coauthors can produce the original SPSS dataset that they used to come up with their results, there might be a non-fraud explanation. I doubt it though.

So what? You might say. It’s just one study. That is, of course, true, but this one study, even though it has never gotten past peer-review and has only been published on a pre-print server, has had outsized influence. Here’s where Meyerowitz-Katz comes in, and I’m going to quote somewhat liberally (you should read the whole thing, though):

The problem is, if you look at those large, aggregate models, and remove just this single study, ivermectin loses almost all of its purported benefit. Take the recent meta-analysis by Bryant et al. that has been all over the news — they found a 62% reduction in risk of death for people who were treated with ivermectin compared to controls when combining randomized trials.

However, if you remove the Elgazzar paper from their model, and rerun it, the benefit goes from 62% to 52%, and largely loses its statistical significance. There’s no benefit seen whatsoever for people who have severe COVID-19, and the confidence intervals for people with mild and moderate disease become extremely wide.

And:

Moreover, if you include another study that was published after the Bryant meta-analysis came out, which found no benefit for ivermectin on death, the benefits seen in the model entirely disappear. For another recent meta-analysis, simply excluding Elgazzar is enough to remove the positive effect entirely.

This is a huge deal. It means that if this study is fraudulent it has massive implications not just for people who’ve relied on it but on every piece of research that has included the paper in their analysis. Until there is a reasonable explanation for the numerous discrepancies in the data, not to mention the implausible numbers reported in the study, any analysis that includes these results should be considered suspect. Given that this is currently the largest randomized trial of ivermectin for COVID-19, and most analyses so far have included it, that is a really worrying situation for the literature as a whole.

Basically, if you remove Elgazzar 2020 from the mix of studies of ivermectin to treat COVID-19 that have been subjected to meta-analyses, you will see that current best studies show a pretty consistent lack of benefit, with one or two small trials as the exceptions.

Moreover, this study should humble a lot of scientists. It did Meyerowitz-Katz:

We are also left with a monumental reckoning. It should not take a Masters student/investigative journalist looking at a study to notice that it is potentially fraud. This study was reviewed by dozens of scientists including myself, and while I said it was extremely low quality even I didn’t notice the issues with the data.

Lawrence notes:

Even if the paper’s authors end up providing an innocent explanation for all this it would be puzzling why it took them so long to notice their error. Whether the final story is one of purposeful fabrication or a series of escalating mistakes involving training or test datasets, this research group has still screwed up in a big way.

Although science trends towards self-correction, something is clearly broken in a system that can allow a study as full of problems as the Elgazzar paper to run unchallenged for seven months. Thousands of highly educated scientists, doctors, pharmacists, and at least four major medicines regulators missed a fraud so apparent that it might as well have come with a flashing neon sign. That this all happened amid an ongoing global health crisis of epic proportions is all the more terrifying. For those reading this article, its findings may serve as a wake-up call. For those who died after taking a medication now shown to be even more lacking in positive evidence, it’s too late. Science has corrected, but at what cost?

Now here’s where I’ll go where Lawrence doesn’t really go and Meyerowitz-Katz only touches upon. There’s a reason this paper persisted for so long, and not all of that reason is likely to be innocent, an Dr. Avi Bitterman is on the right track about this:

Yes, I would say that meta-analysis that included Elgazzar 2020 should be fair game for retraction, especially if the meta-analysis classified Elgazzar 2020 as having a low risk for bias and/or clear randomization methods, inclusion criteria, and the like. As you can see from Meyerowitz-Katz’s analysis, this one study can, depending upon how it’s used in a meta-analysis, make the difference between a meta-analysis of ivermectin for COVID-19 being positive and negative.

There is a vast disinformation campaign about COVID-19, public health interventions to slow its spread, and especially vaccines. Back when the pandemic was new, hydroxychloroquine was promoted as a treatment in part because if there were a highly effective treatment for COVID-19 advocates could argue that masks, social distancing, and “lockdowns”—and even vaccines—were unnecessary. As the evidence finally convincingly showed that hydroxychloroquine doesn’t work, the same antimaskers and antivaxxers pivoted to ivermectin. Again, I suspect that there’s a reason why the FLCCC and BIRD Groups always included Elgazzar 2020 in their meta-analyses and why they not only didn’t exclude it from their meta-analyses for lacking so much necessary information to judge its quality and rigor for purposes of meta-analysis but even took the authors’ word for it and rated the study as much higher quality (i.e., “low risk of bias”) than it ever deserved. They wanted evidence to show that ivermectin is very effective against COVID-19. Whether subconsciously or not, whether Elgazzar 2020 turns out to be fraudulent or just incompetently performed and analyzed, I suspect that they ignored the glaring problems with Elgazzar 2020 and included it in their meta-analyses anyway because without it their ivermectin meta-analyses became, at best much less impressive with results that were no longer statistically significant, and at worst completely negative, showing no benefit in COVID-19 whatsoever from treatment with ivermectin.

I entitled this series, “Ivemectin is the new hydroxychloroquine.” However, hydroxychloroquine advocates never went this far. Perhaps future posts should be entitled, “When it comes to grift and astroturfing, ivermectin was once but the learner. Now it is the master.”

By Orac

Orac is the nom de blog of a humble surgeon/scientist who has an ego just big enough to delude himself that someone, somewhere might actually give a rodent's posterior about his copious verbal meanderings, but just barely small enough to admit to himself that few probably will. That surgeon is otherwise known as David Gorski.

That this particular surgeon has chosen his nom de blog based on a rather cranky and arrogant computer shaped like a clear box of blinking lights that he originally encountered when he became a fan of a 35 year old British SF television show whose special effects were renowned for their BBC/Doctor Who-style low budget look, but whose stories nonetheless resulted in some of the best, most innovative science fiction ever televised, should tell you nearly all that you need to know about Orac. (That, and the length of the preceding sentence.)

DISCLAIMER:: The various written meanderings here are the opinions of Orac and Orac alone, written on his own time. They should never be construed as representing the opinions of any other person or entity, especially Orac's cancer center, department of surgery, medical school, or university. Also note that Orac is nonpartisan; he is more than willing to criticize the statements of anyone, regardless of of political leanings, if that anyone advocates pseudoscience or quackery. Finally, medical commentary is not to be construed in any way as medical advice.

To contact Orac: [email protected]

99 replies on “Ivermectin is the new hydroxychloroquine, take 4: Fraud, incompetence, or both?”

Orac said:

” There is a vast disinformation campaign about COVID-19, public health interventions to slow its spread, and especially vaccines”

We can’t say that enough. There are both professionals who engage in this pursuit to increase their profile and/ or income stream and amateurs who mimic them in order to stand out as contrarians or follow in their footsteps as a career. All are complicit.

Sometimes, I remember hiv/aids denialists who carried on, many of them until they died. It took a long time for that movement die out.
This is a different type of problem: wider spread of illness, not as deadly and more dis-informers to deal with.

Orac, what are your feelings on this Bayesian Meta Analysis that has been making its rounds on pro ivermectin groups?

Not just plagiarism, but sloppy plagiarism. Echoes of cdesign proponentsists, where “design proponents” was supposed to replace “creationists.” Dishonesty and incompetence seem to co-segregate fairly often.

That’s great news about the two Walach studies but I doubt that it’ll prevent Del from showing a video of how his son blew up CO2 numbers whilst masked as he did Thursday
Or Kent as he did months ago.
I wonder how they did that ? ( rhetorical question OBVIOUSLY)

Another example is “The coronavirus has been a known pathogen in animals since the early 1970s”, … becomes “Coronavirus has been a recognised pathogen in animals in early 1960s”.

Copywrite laundering? https://old.reddit.com/user/josourcing/comments/o3v56q/gpts_plagiarism_links/

https://www.int-res.com/abstracts/esep/v21/p17-23/ (.pdf)

Just what is a synonymn for a number in GPT or NN? LoL, yes. All it figured (if that’s it) was that it has got to be changed.

I’m late to the Ivermectin is the new wonder drug series here. It is a continued source of disappointment to me regarding the hype over substance, so thanks for the work you are doing to cover it.

I didn’t see where this recent meta-analysis was discussed

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/34145166/

It concluded that there was no good evidence in Ivermectin showing any benefit other than reducing deaths which was the evidence was of moderate quality.

So if it hasn’t been previously covered could this be commented on too ?

Thanks for responding. I overcame my cognitive failings and found it after rereading all the posts on it.

Haha. The plagiarism they did with switching out some words with synonyms is called article spinning. Some SEOs use it a lot when they need to create “original” content.

Can you please elaborate on this sentence: “However, if you remove the Elgazzar paper from their model, and rerun it, the benefit goes from 62% to 52%, and largely loses its statistical significance.” Why is 52% not a significant benefit? (I’m asking as a non-scientist so this may be a silly question.)

As I understand it, there are separate issues here: clinical significance and statistical significance.

Excluding the Elgazzar study from a meta-analysis resulted in a mildly diminished clinical benefit for ivermectin in treating Covid-19, but more importantly, the overall statistical significance dropped to a borderline level, meaning even that lower benefit is in doubt.

It’s not the 62% or 52% that is the determinant of statistical significance, but rather whether the confidence interval (CI) includes 0. For the 62% statistic in this study, the 95% CI was 27%–81%; he’s saying that if the Elgazzar paper is omitted and the statistic becomes 52%, then the 95% CI goes somewhat lower, closer to (but perhaps not including) 0.

This was covered in the first part of the series. The short story is that Gideon Meyerowitz-Katz reran the data without the hinkier items. Now, I’m a retired comma jockey and not a scientist or statistician, but I will go out on a limb and point you to this: this. The vertical dashed line’s being below 1 means that statistical significance has disappeared.

And if I’m full of beans, it’s a moral certainty that someone competent here will correct me in short order.

@Narad

Now, I’m a retired comma jockey and not a scientist or statistician

LOL
We know. Everyone knows.
Your posts are evidence of that.

@Scientism Dave Are you a scientist ? Your posts show that you are not.

Every patient in the severe COVID-19 group receiving standard care was an ICU patient, while the patients with severe disease in the ivermectin group were mixed between wards and ICU.

^

Do I understand that part correctly? The control group patients were all in ICU, while the ivermectin-treated group was a mix of hospital ward and ICU?
That’s stacking the odds for the treatment, and it’s damning.

Slightly OT, ready yourself for a new round.

The Pasteur Institute just published a new study showing that Ivermectin is reducing symptoms of Covid19 in hamsters.
“Attenuation of clinical and immunological outcomes during SARS-CoV-2 infection by ivermectin”
Seems promising, but the details are that the main benefit is for a lessened loss of smell, and a slightly reduced inflammation. Viral load is mostly unaffected.
Oh, and both the virus and the IVM were injected to hamster at the same time. I guess that would make a good argument for IVM use as prophylaxis, but as treatment, more research should be done, as we say.
It’s already overhyped in the French news.

Obligatory Monty Python quote: “Your mother was a hamster and your father smelt of elderberries!”

Since when are hamsters the model organism for coronaviuses?

I ran into this yesterday when I went to see if Nick Brown had anything new on his blog. For anyone interested in data sleuthing I highly recommend having a look at his post.

For those interested in the actual “data”, it is well worth downloading the spreadsheet and having a look at it. It is a really weird thing. There is no possible way the authors analyzed that dog’s dinner without the massive amount of editing that Nick did in https://cran.r-project.org/. I’d say Nick is correct and it was assembled/edited by hand and apparently by someone with almost no idea of how spreadsheets work. The spreadsheet, alone, is excellent evidence of fraud.

I’m very flattered that there are people who look at my blog to see if I’ve posted anything new!

Two were aymptomatic and one had mild symptoms.
They had rapid test and are awaiting the results of their PCR tests to comfirm their diagnoses.
Their vaccination status means they are unlikely to develop serious illness or die.

Yeah, and how dare they try to ensure that voters can actually vote.

@BillyJoe

Yeah, god forbid they did the job they were elected to do and show up to work.
Thankfully their seats can be vacated and others can be appointed to them.

Also, they didn’t wear masks on the private jet they got on.
Isn’t that against The Church of Fauci?

Do you say same thing when Rebuplicans in Senate start filibustering. I bet that you do not.

@Aarno Syvänensays

Do you say same thing when Rebuplicans in Senate start filibustering. I bet that you do not.

You’re correct. Because in order to filibuster you have to show up to work.
TX dems just fled…and infected others.

Phizer recipient, here. I’m worried about that. They are thowing away vaccines here as they get out of date — is there any reason I should not try to grab a Moderna on its way out? Should I withold the information about already gotten BioNTech if they ask? Is there some harm above getting delta?

Interesting that in Israel, cases are going up with 90% of new cases are from people over 50 who have had both Pfizer shots and 60% of the new cases that are serious have had both shots.

It’s less obvious that you’re trying to change the subject if you don’t do in the replies to your own remark, by the way. Just saying.

I’m going to have to try to put the actual two-item rebuttal in small chunks, as the laptop I’m using has suddenly started shutting down abruptly, complaining of thermal overload. This may be a side effect of the cat’s opening eight “HP CoolSense” windows around noon, but I’m not going to go all George Carlin and Tippy.

I’m going to repeat your words in case the foregoing gets hung up:

Interesting that in Israel, cases are going up with 90% of new cases are from people over 50 who have had both Pfizer shots and 60% of the new cases that are serious have had both shots.

You statement is “interesting” mainly because it demonstrates your incompetence and apparently baked-in dishonesty. First, Israel has failed to reach adequate vaccine coverage, which, y’know might just come into play in what is <a href=”https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/.premium.MAGAZINE-in-10-years-israel-will-be-the-most-crowded-country-in-the-west-1.9711113>the most crowded country in the world if one leaves out the Negev.

Interesting that in Israel, cases are going up with 90% of new cases are from people over 50 who have had both Pfizer shots and 60% of the new cases that are serious have had both shots.

Second, you are rather obviously and deliberately ignoring context, which G—le will readily cough up at the top of the page on a search for israel+covid. (It’s the big interactive graph at the top of the results labeled “Statistics,” on the off chance that it somehow eluded you previously.)

@Kay

Go troll elsewhere. You provide low value factoids w/o context as usual of trogs like yourself. How many in Israel >50 are fully vaccinated? Are you aware that in a 100% vaccinated country 100% of the cases, hospitalizations and deaths will be among the vaccinated?

^ Sigh. I really tried not to screw up the links, given the iffiness of the machine. Sorry about that.

@Kay West Do you know that you spoke about risk groups ? These were vaccinated first. No wonder that breaktrought cases happened among them. Fact that regardless of that, half of cases were among unvaccinated, tells something about relative risks

@Arthur Dent

Are you aware that in a 100% vaccinated country 100% of the cases,
hospitalizations and deaths will be among the vaccinated?

The fact that you typed, and posted this and you don’t find anything wrong with that statement is hilarious to me.

The fact that you typed, and posted this and you don’t find anything wrong with that statement is hilarious to me.

Bag of rocks on line 2, Dave. Something about your giving them a bad name.

@Scientism Dave Vaccine efficiency is 95%, which is not a secret. So Arthur Dent is right. As an aside, 95 % is much better than 0%.

Arthur Dent
1. I try to keep my post on a logical/orderly line of reference.
2. did anything I post conflict with what was in the JP article, if not who is the troll?
as the article stated that about 55-60% of the population is fully vaccinated, but that would mean you had to have read the article. And to quote the article “the Pfizer vaccine is significantly less effective”.

Narad
1. you don’t know what leonid schneider’s sock puppet is?
2. I don’t use google, spend a few dollars and get a real computer, and quit google, its a data mining operation.

and just another fact, they are reclassifying deaths from covid in Alameda county from 1,634 to 1,223. As I said back in June on this site, we are being mislead by fear, and not really “following the science”.

https://www.ksbw.com/article/northern-california-county-changes-covid-19-death-reporting/36641556

I love the smell of desperation in the evening, Kay. Oh, and I’m actually able to repair machines for myself and others, deary, in my case almost entirely found. Saves on planned planned obsolescence.

Do tell what search engine you’ve switched to, though; it’s more interesting than yet another attempt at diversion from your ongoing campaign of failure.

So they showed….

An unsourced piece from Arutz Sheva? You’re getting worse and worse.

@Kay West As you yourself said, vaccine breaktrough cases were among risk group, which is very well vaccinated, and big.
What “known to have infection” means. How big is this group ? You cannot assess effectiviness until you know size of the group
A link to the original report

You cannot assess effectiviness until you know size of the group
A link to the original report

That was it: 72/835,792 vs. “over 3,000” divided by 5,193,499.

In an odd coincidence, the exact “0.0578” pops up in an actual paper, about the UK, but I have a baseball game to attend to.

aarno syvanen

https://datadashboard.health.gov.il/COVID-19/general
https://data.gov.il/dataset/covid-19/resource/9b623a64-f7df-4d0c-9f57-09bd99a88880

I will break it down for you, so you don’t have to do the math/spread sheet.

7,500 positive cases since 4 July, over 3,800 had two vaccines.
Of the 7,500 with positive test, only 72 those, testing positive people, had prior covid.
Natural immunity was 100’s of times better then the vaccine.

Narad

If you are such a computer wizz why does your computer keep crashing?
as to your question on g**gle, you referenced that data mining company first, that company allowed Pegasus.

I am mystified at the people who comment on this site claiming to be “skeptics” but are so willing to believe anything and everything that the US government spokesperson puts out.

If you are such a computer wizz [sic[ why does your computer keep crashing?

Florida, which I hope to exit ASAP.

If you are such a biomedical genius, why do you keep crashing, burning, and ignoring the wreckage?

@Kay West Let me do math for you. A drug have efficiency 90 and a drug B has 99.9
This would give numbers you mention. B would be 1.11 times more efficient.
Your link is in Hebrew. I am certain that an English is available

aarno
Please learn Hebrew or you could use Narads google translate.

Narad
could you tell me what citation or linked article was incorrect/wrong and explain why they were wrong or are you just trolling.

You claim to be a computer expert and assemble your own computer/s but yet you complain that they crash or don’t function, cognitive dissonance?

And of course your SEXISM is on display ‘DEARY’ , next you will be mansplaining. and yet the women like Denise and Dorit remain silent when their side displays SEXISM.

Please let us know where you plan to exit to, so we all can avoid that place.

@Kay West This is probably paper you meant:
A 1 to 1000 SARS-CoV-2 reinfection proportion in members of a large healthcare provider in Israel: a preliminary report
Galit Perez, Tamar Banon, Sivan Gazit, Shay Ben Moshe, Joshua Wortsman, Daniel Grupel, Asaf Peretz, Amir Ben Tov, Gabriel Chodick, Miri Mizrahi-Reuveni, Tal Patalon
doi: https://doi.org/10.1101/2021.03.06.21253051
it is a preprint, as usual nowadays
Infection is 99.9 % efficient for preventing reinfection
Israel 5.13 million fully vaccinated, circa 7700 breaktrough cases
So vaccine efficiency is 99.8
Natural infection is 1.001 times.better.

@Kay

7,500 positive cases since 4 July, over 3,800 had two vaccines. Of the 7,500 with positive test, only 72 those, testing positive people, had prior covid. Natural immunity was 100’s of times better then the vaccine.

You cannot conclude anything on the basis of just those numbers. You need to match fully vaccinated with prior infection on age, sex, comorbidities, risk profile, etc to obtain a like vs like comparison. What if a large proportion of breakthrough cases are among healthcare workers who are more likely to be exposed? What if people with prior infection are less likely engage in risky behavior? In other words, the samples might not be representative nor comparable.

could you tell me what citation or linked article was incorrect/wrong and explain why they were wrong or are you just trolling.

I already did.

You claim to be a computer expert

No, I don’t, given that this is basically meaningless.

and assemble your own computer/s

Repair, honey, not “assemble.” And there was no hardware on the Windoze machine to be repaired in the first place; it needed a rest from the 90+ degree operating heat in Florida, which one might hope will sink into the ocean as a result of climate change or nuclear exchange.

I try to look on the bright side.

but yet you complain that they crash or don’t function, cognitive dissonance?

Where, exactly, did I complain? I’ll wait.

And of course your SEXISM is on display ‘DEARY’ , next you will be mansplaining. and yet the women like Denise [sic] and Dorit remain silent when their side displays SEXISM.

I put that there for a reason.

Please let us know where you plan to exit to, so we all can avoid that place.

Ah, the “we” again. Nice touch. I’ll be returning to Chicago. You might like the crank collar counties, but I suspect that you can afford neither. Rockford might appeal to you.

@coriolis

Don’t worry. I’m sure Phizer will start a vaccine subscription service.

“I’m sure Pfizer will start a vaccine subscription service.”

That would be cool. But I would rather have an augmented reality HUD that shows what shots are available where as I drive down the road. I don’t like to google stuff and then try to remember how to get there in unfamiliar territory with traffic.

Preprints in general seem to be a big problem. How many times did a flawed preprint get into the news/opinion media last year where it was used to prove points it couldn’t back up?

I see the value in preprints being available to practitioners within a field, and most topics are obscure/esoteric enough to not draw the attention of laypeople, but on something like COVID they’re a highly effective way of bullshitting the media and public.

@ Jon H
Pre-prints have ‘always’ been available but before the internet they were, in fact, limited to those in the field as you had to be connected to an informal network of researchers to even know they existed. Now they serve an excellent purpose in many fields; the problem at the moment the open nature of the internet postings allows specific papers to be exploited by fools, grifters and ignoramuses.

BTW a famous, early, pre-print was Keplar’s Astronomia nova which he circulated for years in manuscript form just to avoid said fools, grifters and ignoramuses.

Preprints in general seem to be a big problem.

The arXiv has been been working pretty well (not counting the weird decision to not allow trackbacks to Peter Woit’s blog). Hence viXra.

I guess Drs. Kory, Zelenko, et al—who, unlike the author of this post, have actually treated Covid patients and seen real-world beneficial clinical outcomes—are all lying through their teeth. I guess you can add McCullough to that list, too. Or the raft of MDs who signed a letter critical of JAMA’s ivermectin study in April: https://trialsitenews.com/open-letter-by-u-s-doctors-jama-ivermectin-study-is-fatally-flawed/

That’s the thing about Covid-19–the list of doctors speaking out against a vaccine-only approach just keeps growing. Orac(le) must be salivating at all the work he’ll have making mincemeat of ever-more physicians and other medical professionals who dared to actually treat a patient who had an illness. Doctors treating patients! What will they do next?!

Wasn’t Zelenko run out of town: https://www.timesofisrael.com/jewish-md-who-promoted-virus-cocktail-leaving-community-where-he-tested-it/ . Also, according to Wiki, Kory has resigned from two hospitals in the past year (they were limiting his speech). I doubt he is practicing anything other than muckraking for his favorite nostrums.

If you want to hear from someone who is actually treating Covid patients then listen to the Friday reports from Dr. Griffin: https://www.microbe.tv/twiv/twiv-780/

Yes. He continued though, in the Spring Valley – Monsey area which is also home to many Orthodox Jews. His website had a local phone number/ no address. Those towns are about a half hour drive from Kiryas Joel / Monroe
HOWEVER in this search I came across an article from COL Live July 24 2020 saying that Dr Z was being treated for a rare form of cancer and his family was crowd funding money ( 75K USD so far) to pay for treatment.

Ari Feldman at the Forward had a story about Dr Z 22 May 2020 –
2 years previously, he had a blood clot from a rare arterial cancer in his lung treated with surgery and a non-standard drug. Strong religious beliefs.

Since the other story in COL LIve is later, I assume that the cancer came back. Also, Dr Z has written recently, so he survived.

So…. putting the less seriously ill patients in the IVM group won’t have a bearing on the results will it John? Is that good practice? How about the repeating data entries? How likely is that to happen purely by chance?

You didn’t address any of those points.

“That’s the thing about Covid-19–the list of doctors speaking out against a vaccine-only approach just keeps growing.”

That’s the thing about strawmen – they eventually collapse, rot or go up in a blaze of spontaneous combustion.*

No leaders in the medical/scientific community promote a “vaccine-only” approach. It’s quite helpful though if one can prevent a disease instead of trying to treat it once people are sick.

*”the “spontaneous” part often means the strawman was a careless smoker.

Wally Boag:
You will be reading about me in the papers soon.
I smoke in bed.

I think Orac is working on an article as we speak that will show without a doubt that JAMA is a right wing grift conspiracy.

JAMA actually did publish a sutdy about ivermectin:
López-Medina E, López P, Hurtado IC, et al. Effect of Ivermectin on Time to Resolution of Symptoms Among Adults With Mild COVID-19: A Randomized Clinical Trial. JAMA. 2021;325(14):1426–1435. doi:10.1001/jama.2021.3071
Result is, no effect

I feel like a pre-print, non peer reviewed paper shouldn’t be getting included in meta-analyses in the first place, is that totally off base?

@ PF

I would agree with you.
Peer-review is far from perfect, but sometimes reviewer #2 does a good job at asking the right questions and filtering out the most obvious nonsense.

Thinking about it, it seems like a weird form of time travel that an article, yet to be accepted, will be in essence “published” as part of a metadata article before its real publication date.
I wonder how the non-published articles’ authors would react if I was to pursue this line of thinking and assert that, since the metadata article “published” their results, then the publishing of these articles has become redundant and could be dropped.

In related anti-vax news…

USA Today- Deaths from Covid rose 25% in the past 2 weeks as cases rose in all states.

a YouGov poll reveals that 90% of those who reject the vaccine fear side effects more than Covid.
Only 10% of them trust Fauci
Only one in five trusts the CDC and one in five believes that the government is micro-chipping people with the vaccine.
,,,,

We can see the effects of altie/ anti-vax activity in data like these:
side effects are highlighted / exaggerated in contrast to the “minor” symptoms of the illness itself. Dr Fauci and other experts are reviled ( see trolls here as well) and crazy stories about micro-chips and “kill” shots abound on the net ( see NN, PRN, Del etc)”

Trolls don’t come up with these tall tales by themselves: they are instructed by professional dissemblers, however, they spread mis-information and can’t be held responsible for its effects directly that’s why it’s important for us to show where it originates.

NN, PRN, Del etc. are but minor players in the professional COVID disinformation campaign. The big guns are Fox News, other right-wing media outlets, and now, following them, not just “extremist” GOP politicians like MTG and Lauren Boebert, but “mainstream” Rs like Sen. Bill Cassidy — a supposedly pro-vax physician who just proclaimed that vax refusers are justified because you can’t trust any government led by Joe Biden. Seriously…
from WaPo: https://is.gd/BZThOk
from Media Matters: https://is.gd/IL59ZP
https://pressrun.media/p/the-murdoch-variant-spreads

Agreed.
There is great overlap between the alties and the righties these days.
They even replay TUCKER!
Probably Adams (NN) is the worst because he mixes alien-Nazi tropes with anti-woke rhetoric and underground tunnels a la Jordan Peele’s US film.

FOX requires its employees to be vaccinated. Joy Reid.

CNBC stocks fall as fears of Delta variant grow.

Yet woo-meisters ( PRN) tell us that the virus is merely a cold, not any concern. People are immune. The articles used are on their website.

@Denice Walter

CNBC stocks fall as fears of Delta variant grow.

It’s not about the virus. It’s about the pointless counterproductive lock-downs.

I don’t usually respond to contrarians but this important.

Of course, lockdowns adversely affect stock prices and the economy in many ways but what other means of controlling spread of the virus did governments have last year?
I live in one of the worst early places for illness and death. In mid- March 2020, nearly everything shutdown with severe restrictions on social activity, stores and schools.
I followed R0 and positivity numbers for here and other places closely. As numbers came done ( May), things began to re-open, getting very good by summer. Then in November, they got worse but openings stayed the same and social distancing and masks were stressed whilst schools stayed mostly open with reduced capacity during the winter, despite higher numbers.

Vaccinations started in January and peaked in April 2021. It was hard to find an appointment but I chanced into one at a food store: extra doses were left over after the employees got vaccinated. We have a very high rate of vaccination. Businesses opened, people went shopping and ate out – first outdoors, then indoors. Deaths are now in the single digits not the hundreds daily as they were last year..

All of these peaks and troughs in illness, death and vaccination rates are illustrated by graphs and charts for my locale and everyone else’s. In the market crash of 2020, I probably lost the equivalent of the price of a small, new luxury car in my mutual funds but they came back with increased earnings.( I didn’t sell).

Before a vaccine was available, lockdowns and harsh social restrictions were the only way to contain the spread of the virus. Now, we see places that are highly vaccinated doing well and places with low rates having increases in illness and death You don’t need lockdowns if most people in an area get vaccinated even the present day new variants are controllable through vaccination NOW..
Look up charts and observe how these events transpired..

@Denice Walter

what other means of controlling spread of the virus did governments have last year?

Yes, lock-downs were the right course of action when the pandemic started.
But they should have been ended once we got more information on the virus and figured out who is in danger and who isn’t.

@ Scientism Dave:

But we don’t have lockdowns now. The closest thing to them here, where Covid erupted last year, was about 6 weeks where many businesses were closed BUT people still shopped with restrictions and got takeout food, some offices remained open but schools closed etc. After that, things started to gradually re-open, one step at a time- by July, there was much more economic activity and traffic People ate out of doors, shopping was less limited but with masks and social distancing. Even when the virus’ growth increased in November, they didn’t shut down again but continued restrictions on large gatherings, restaurant capacity, schools as a hybrid of at-home and on-site, half day at half capacity, locally determined etc

Things started to change around May 2021 as re-openings increased even more.
The vaccination rate amongst adults has been at least 60% for months. There are live sporting events and concerts with thousands attending,

If there are any lockdowns in the future. it will probably be in places with low vaccination rates OR if new and deadlier variants emerge and spread rapidly.
Shutdowns are extreme measures for extreme situations. No one wants them.

a

Yes, lock-downs were the right course of action when the pandemic started.

But they should have been ended once we got more information on the virus and figured out who is in danger and who isn’t.

I totally agree. Do you think we should get together and roll natrual? Tucker Carlson was right about masks.. They are ugly.

But they should have been ended once we got more information on the virus and figured out who is in danger and who isn’t.

So, the vaccinated vs. the unvaccinated? Nice own-goal, Dave.

Have you bothered to try it out for yourself?

I’ll trust the docs of the FLCCC over Dr. “Oruc” any day. The Egyptian study have little effect on the data for its positivity as a treatment and actually boosted the case for its prophylactic benefit.

Thank you for calling the RI troll help line. Your comment is important to us. Press 1 to speak to a skeptic. Press 2 to speak to one of our comedians. Press 3 to record a brainless rant. Press 4 to record a brainless rant with 15 decibels of amplification. Press 5 to listen to an endless loop of the Best of Fox News. Charges may apply. Press 6 to repeat your comment with a different nym. For all other requests please stay on the line. The first available agent will be with you shortly. Estimated wait time is three…zero minutes. Thank you! (click)

Speaking of FLCCC, I have only now seen their “Terms and Conditions.” They’re a riot — the “prohibited conduct” includes doing anything that could “[c]ause damage, embarrassment or adverse publicity to the FLCCC Alliance” having once beheld their site.

They must have pulled this from somewhere with paying subscribers.

“Basically, if you remove Elgazzar 2020 from the mix of studies of ivermectin to treat COVID-19 that have been subjected to meta-analyses, you will see that current best studies show a pretty consistent lack of benefit, with one or two small trials as the exceptions.”

This just shows the author of this hit piece did not read the meta analysis by Dr. Lawrie (or is hoping we didn’t), nor did they consider other studies taking geographic data into account such as the one by Pierre Kory.

Lawrie demonstrates the effect of removing the ONE study from her meta analysis here:

https://odysee.com/@BretWeinstein:f/TessLawrie:0

It does not change the conclusion.

I’ve noticed a common theme among covid “fact checkers” – they seem to rely on readers uncritically accepting their framing instead of reading and evaluating evidence for themselves.

There is better evidence in support of Ivermectin as a solution than there is to support vaccines (boosters anyone?), which is exactly why vaccine fetishists and profiteers are struggling so hard to suppress it.

“It’s not the 62% or 52% that is the determinant of statistical significance, but rather whether the confidence interval (CI) includes 0. ”

I take this to mean that further study is required to reduce the confidence itnerval. It seems there are also flaws in some of the research that conculde that ivermectin is not effective (prophelactic).

Frankly, I find many who comment here and elsewhere are not interested in finding the truth, but merely data mining studies that support their pre-conceived conclusion which is oftern more political than scientific.

FWIW, I have been vaccinated, but wonder how long the effects will last. Will I need a subscription booster? Would ivermectin provide additional belt and suspenders protection keeping up my protective pants against COVID? Could ivermectin help in countries that do not have adequate access to vaccines (we don’t have to be USA centric in a constant war of red and blue states, please try to think less parochially).

I find the anti-ivermectin crowd to be politically motivated and dismissive of even the need for open mindedness or curiosity for more data. It almost seems the point of this article, “hydroxychloroquine, take 4”, that research is pointless, science could never find anything of value, all that we ever get from medical research is snake oil, unless of course the CDC or a government official says otherwise. I recall an admittedly non-scientific film, Dallas Buyers Club, were HIV/Aids patients were dying because the FDA would not approve drugs that really did work to save lives here in the US. It is interesting to see how history can repeat itself. Whether in Saigon or Kabul.

That’s funny, but I find the pro-ivermectin crowd to be extremely politically motivated and dismissive of any disconfirming data.

I took a serious look at the data for ivermectin, hoping it might work but not really expecting that it does. It doesn’t.

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