Ivermectin approved by the US National Institutes for Health

A week after representations from Doctors Paul Marik and Pierre Kory, founding members of the Front Line Covid-19 Critical Care Alliance (FLCCC), along with Dr Andrew Hill researcher and consultant to the World Health Organization (WHO), to the NIH treatment Guidelines Panel, ivermectin has finally been allowed for use in covid-19. Although its designation has only been upgraded from “against” to “neither for nor against” it means that US doctors should now feel more open to prescribing and using ivermectin as another therapeutic option, both in terms of prophylaxis and the treatment of covid-19. Dr Kory notes that “ivermectin is one of the world’s safest, cheapest and most widely available drugs” and that “… the studies we presented to the NIH revealed high levels of statistical significance showing large magnitude benefit in transmission rates, need for hospitalization, and death”. The new manuscript from the FLCCC will be published shortly in Frontiers in Pharmacology, but there is a preview available in the meantime.

To mask or not?

The debate over mask wearing continues to rage with two new studies taking opposing positions. The first study, from Stanford University, published in Medical Hypotheses, summarises available evidence in regard to the wearing of facemasks by the general population. It concludes that facemasks “have substantial adverse physiological and psychological effects” and that they do not prevent human-to-human transmission of viral disease. Noteworthy is that this study states no conflicts of interest and no external funding. The second paper, published in The Lancet, is a modelling study that takes the stance that masks work. Alongside their own modelling, researchers in the collaboration used data from a survey of people to assess their mask wearing habits. Commenting on the study the researchers said, the study is observational and does not prove mask wearing prevents transmission of viruses, although it’s unlikely this message will be widely communicated in mainstream media. When we looked at the declarations of interest for the authors of this study, it wasn’t a surprise to find the likes of Google, Ending Pandemics, the National Science Foundation and the NIH amongst others. Another recent study which found mask wearing reduces infection rates had to be withdrawn after rates of covid-19 increased in the areas analysed and a large Danish study published in Annals of Internal Medicine found only a modest reduction in infection rates through mask wearing. While masks may block some of the larger droplets, they don’t prevent aerosols escaping. Masks also carry enhanced risk for the wearer given the propensity to become contaminated with viral particles as they become damp. Less well publicised is the statement from the Director general of the WHO saying, “...masks on their own will not protect you from covid-19”. We encourage you to read and research so that you can make your own informed decision.

Gut health linked to covid-19 disease severity

Poor gut health increases an individual’s risk of developing severe covid-19 disease and contributes to poor recovery from the illness. Published in Gut, a new study analysed blood and stool samples from patients with confirmed covid-19 and compared the results with uninfected people. The gut microbiomes of the covid-19 patients were found to be low in several gut species known to support resilient immune function. The intimate link between our overall health and the health of our gut microbiome is borne out by the results of an international study of the gut microbiome known as PREDICT 1, recently published in Nature Medicine. The study exposes the effect that poor gut health has on the increased risk of obesity and developing metabolic disease. The vast majority of those severely affected by covid-19 suffer from chronic disease and are overweight or obese. Rather than placing our hopes of a return to normality on costly drugs and vaccines, in our view, governments and health authorities should be prioritising the use of micronutrient supplementation such as zinc, vitamin C and vitamin D along with improving metabolic health through diet and lifestyle interventions and modifications.

Natural immunity protective against covid-19

Becoming ill with covid-19 provides natural immunity against future infection. The SIREN study published in medRxiv by researchers from the UK’s Public Health England, found that people who had already been ill with covid-19 were 83% less likely to become infected again. The protection was deemed to last for at least 5 months. The conclusions come after PHE researchers undertook regular testing of health care workers in the UK for new covid-19 infections as well as antibodies over the last 7 months. The study is due to continue for another 12 months. Natural immunity is a thorny subject currently with mainstream sources dismissing the concept preferring to push immunity conferred through vaccination. Check out our recent video and Q&A with ANH founder, Rob Verkerk PhD, on Herd Immunity for a fuller lowdown.

Regenerative agriculture takes centre stage

‘Regenuary’ is the sustainable eating alternative to Veganuary. Started in 2020 by the Ethical Butcher in a Facebook post, Regenuary is a movement that urges consumers to choose food produced using ‘regenerative’ farming methods during January. Consumers are encouraged to eat food (both animal and plant-based) produced using regenerative agricultural practices, that’s seasonal and grown locally (nothing imported). It’s fitting, therefore, that the Food, Farming & Countryside Commission (FFCC) chose January 2021 to launch a new report entitled, ‘Farming for Change: mapping a route to 2030’. The report outlines research showing how agroecological farming can produce enough healthy food for the UK now and in the future. Brexit gives the UK the perfect opportunity to become a world leader in this area, while securing its food supply and reversing decades of damage done by industrial farming processes.

Did SARS-CoV-2 escape from a lab?

The million-dollar question is where did SARS-CoV-2 originate? Those supporting mainstream narratives maintain the virus crossed naturally from bats to humans via an interim species even though no evidence for this exists. Many, including the outgoing administration of the USA, point to an escape from a lab in Wuhan, China. A team representing the World Health Organization are currently in China to investigate the origins of the coronavirus further, although this in itself is courting controversy. This is because the team is being led by Peter Daszak, President of the EcoHealth Alliance who were involved in funding gain of function (GoF) research at the level 4 lab based in Wuhan. Adding fuel to the fire, is the emergence of a video showing Peter Daszak being interviewed by virologist Vincent Racaniello in which they discuss GoF testing on bat coronaviruses. Daszak also appears to reveal the goal of the GoF experiments was to develop a pan-coronavirus vaccine. However, the likelihood of a definitive statement emerging any time soon is unlikely given the many conflicts of interest potentially involved.

Covid-19 and natural treatments

Researchers in the UK are trialing the use of black elderberry liquid for the treatment for mild cases of covid-19 to see if it can reduce the severity and duration of symptoms. Black elderberry has been used for millennia to treat viral infections and has found success in the treatment of flu in recent years due to its ability to inhibit the virus’s entry into and replication in human cells as well as supporting a robust immune response to viral infection. A small study focusing on the use of resveratrol and copper, in India, as part of a treatment protocol in covid-19 patients saw a two-third reduction in mortality. Far from there being no treatments other than costly new-to-nature anti-viral drugs or vaccines based on experimental synthetic biology platforms, Nature, as she has always done, provides us powerful medicine and many options.

Grub up!

You could soon find insects on your dinner plate after the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) deemed mealworms fit for human consumption in a new scientific opinion. The opinion does caution those who are allergic to dust mites and crustaceans to avoid the consumption of mealworms though. Insects are increasingly being investigated as an alternative protein source to reduce the consumption of animal products and reduce climate impacts from animal production.