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Effective treatment and prevention is available for COVID-19.

Two Effective, Safe, and Inexpensive Cures for Covid Exist

I have published previous letters from the virologist Marc Wathelet to the Belgian health authorities about Covid.  In this one he points out that effective threatment and prevention are available, that awaiting a vaccine simply results in more deaths, and that the vaccine itself is problematic.

Effective treatment and prevention is available for COVID-19.

Dear Minister of Health,

In these difficult times, I would like to draw your attention to a treatment that could make a huge difference to the health of people who find themselves infected with the new coronavirus in Belgium.

It is ivermectin, a well-known and well-understood drug discovered in 1975 that is on the WHO essential drugs list. It is used in humans to treat infections with many types of parasites and it also has antiviral activity. This is one of the drugs that warranted clinical trials to test its effectiveness against COVID-19, as I suggested last April https://tinyurl.com/yyzyoe7n [1], but we did nothing.

An unpublished study (preprint) from Egypt compares the effects of ivermectin to those of hydroxychloroquine. The results are spectacular!   https://www.trialsitenews.com/benha-university-breakthrough-randomized-controlled-trial-shows-ivermectin-effective-for-treating-covid-19-as-prophylaxis/  [2]

The standard treatment for COVID in several African countries, including Egypt, is the combination of hydroxychloroquine, azithromycin and Zinc. This study compares this treatment with the combination of ivermectin, azithromycin and Zinc. It has four arms of 100 individuals each, where moderate and severe forms of the disease are treated with either of these two drug combinations.

They measure the percentage improvement in symptoms and decrease in viral load, and the number of deaths (which comes down to a percentage since there are 100 patients per arm).

Here is the summary of the results obtained:

Hydroxychloroquine, moderate forms:                       74% improvement, 4 deaths

Ivermectin, moderate forms:                                       99% improvement, 0 deaths

Hydroxychloroquine, severe forms:                           50% improvement, 20 deaths

Ivermectin, severe forms:                                            94% improvement, 2 deaths

With such clear results, now is the time to show vision!

Please also see this article that reviews clinical trials with this molecule around the world https://tinyurl.com/yyqbq8gw [3].

I am counting on the experts who advise you to confirm that the benefit / risk ratio of this therapeutic approach is largely in favor of its use for severe forms of the disease. It is essential that this treatment becomes immediately available in hospitals to treat severe forms.

It is not a question of verifying this study with new studies before making this decision, while we have an average of almost 200 daily deaths due to COVID in Belgium over the last week, and therefore an excess mortality ~ 65% at this moment. We don’t have time!

Its use in moderate forms of the disease requires a confirmatory study, but this drug should be available for prescription by front-line doctors when medical supervision can be ensured to monitor for potential side effects.

This medicine is only available in our country in its topical formulation, as a cream (Soolantra®). It is possible to obtain the necessary formulation, 3 or 6 mg tablets for oral administration from neighboring countries, but our pharmacies are not supplied.

I therefore recommend that you 1) authorize the oral form of ivermectin in our country; 2) ensure the supply of our pharmacies with this essential drug; 3) ensure the transmission of this information to hospitals; and 4) organize the necessary trials to confirm or deny its usefulness on the front line for moderate disease.

We must have the lucidity to recognize that this is a “game-changer” and that a very rapid response from the government would limit the harmful consequences of the mismanagement of the health crisis from which our country has suffered until now.

I remind you that none of the vaccines in development are designed to induce mucosal immunity, the only kind of vaccine that is potentially sterilizing, and therefore likely to have an effect on the transmission of the virus.

The criteria for evaluating these candidate vaccines are limited to a reduction in symptoms but not a reduction in deaths or an effect on virus transmission: the bar is set very low to ensure their approval. The reduction of symptoms, if achieved without serious side effects, is certainly desirable, but it is very likely to promote the transmission of the virus because it is the appearance of symptoms that prompts the change in individual behavior that can limit transmission.

In addition, studies are accumulating which indicate that a vitamin D deficiency favors the development of the severe form of the disease: it is a question of setting up a large information campaign to recommend that everyone supplement their diet with vitamin D.

It is a very simple and inexpensive measure, which can have a very substantial effect on the morbidity and mortality associated with COVID-19. Remember that the consequences of sequelae associated with COVID-19 are significant not only for the individuals concerned and their families, but also for our health care budget. What are we waiting for to take this simple step? Have we forgotten that it’s easier to prevent disease than to treat it?

Please act, Minister of Health, act today: do not feed the narrative that the government does not have the interests of its people at heart, only the wishes of the lobbies!

I remain at your disposal,

Marc Wathelet, Doctor of Sciences

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