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The problems with The Canadian Press - and those who spread its message.

We represent a large group of scientists, medical professionals, and academics, dismayed about the misinformation on COVID-19 showcased in the Canadian Press article, "Alberta Health Services Says Advisory Group Notes Problems with Ivermectin Studies."1 None of the outlets that have reproduced this article, uncritically in our opinion - including the Toronto Star, the Winnipeg Free Press, and Saanich News - have accepted our rebuttal. Therefore, and given what we believe is the importance of our message in these uncertain times, we reproduce it here in its entirety. We invite readers to refer to the original article to confirm that we are not misrepresenting its key claims, that we hereby challenge.

First, the article claims that ivermectin is "primarily used to treat cases of worms in livestock", omitting far more important applications of ivermectin beyond its veterinary use. With close to 4 billion doses delivered since 1987, ivermectin has been successfully applied worldwide in the treatment of major, disabling human diseases. It is listed as one of 100 essential medicines by the World Health Organization, and has an exceptional safety profile, at doses 10 times those approved by the FDA.2,3 Drs. William C. Campbell and Satoshi ├...┼'mura were awarded the 2015 Nobel Prize in Medicine for its discovery.4

Second, the article claims that studies showing the safety and effectiveness of ivermectin "suffer from bias and small sample size." It ignores the at least 18 randomized controlled trials of ivermectin in the treatment of COVID-19, and the numerous prevention trials that have found large, statistically significant reductions in death, time to clinical recovery, and time to viral clearance.5 It also ignores the meticulous meta-analysis performed by WHO consultant Dr. Tess Lawrie showing the safety and efficacy of ivermectin in the treatment of COVID-19.6 For comparison, remdesivir was approved for use after only one positive study7, yet is no longer recommended by the WHO, due to safety concerns and lack of effectiveness8 - notwithstanding its endorsement by Health Canada to this day.9

Finally, the article asserts that "vaccination remains our best means of preventing COVID-19 at this moment", omitting mounting, negative evidence - reports of adverse reactions post-vaccination - over 2,200,000 worldwide -10 concerning reports on myocarditis,11 and reputable research in peer-reviewed journals showing no association between vaccination rates and cases of COVID-19 - in fact, countries with higher vaccination rates appear to have higher, recent cases of COVID-19.12

What is most troubling is the article's announcement that Alberta Health Services "will be conducting a review" of a doctor who has disputed the government narrative on COVID-19 policy, and, as punishment, has not been "scheduled to work again as a replacement in the Alberta health system." The witch-hunt against professionals who defy official orders to not treat COVID-19 with safe, effective, and inexpensive drugs13, and refuse to follow the "Tylenol and watchful waiting" guidelines of regulatory agencies,14 is the death knell of science, of ethical medical practice, and of human decency in Canada. The blatant disregard of the principle of informed consent enshrined in the Nuremberg Code,15 in the Helsinki Declaration,16 and in the Canadian Physicians code of conduct,17 through mandated injections rushed through the approval process,18 adds insult to injury.

Will such grotesque spreading of fake news that any thinking Canadian (or American) with access to the internet could easily fact-check, lead readers of mainstream news outlets to muster the courage to seek and find the truth about COVID-19 elsewhere? It is hard to imagine what else can save us. Regardless, we believe that in a democracy the public ought to be given access to all sides of these critical issues.

Authors:

Claudia Chaufan, MD, PhD, Health Policy and Global Health, York University (corresponding author)

Steve Pelech, PhD, Biochemistry and Immunology, University of British Columbia

Anton de Ruiter, PhD, Aerospace Engineering, University of Toronto

Jan Vrbik, PhD, Mathematics and Statistics, Brock University

Julie Ponesse, PhD, Ethics, (former) Western University

References

1. The Canadian Press. Review of ivermectin says studies have issues. Winnipeg Free Press. click here. Published 15:10:46 CDT. Accessed October 14, 2021.

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I received my MD from the University of Buenos Aires and a PhD in Sociology at the University of California. I am Associate Professor of Health Policy and Global Health at York University in Canada, past US Fulbright Scholar, past Graduate (more...)
 

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