Hydroxychloroquine, COVID Truthers, Trump and Science

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Michael Siegel

Michael Siegel is an astronomer living in Pennsylvania. He is on Twitter, blogs at his own site, and has written a novel.

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77 Responses

  1. Avatar Marchmaine
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    says:

    Well put; I concur. Which means you’re still $4 short of a Grande whole milk mocha…Report

  2. Avatar gabriel conroy
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    says:

    You’ve studied this much more than I have, but I see the following claims a little (but not a lot) differently:

    In both cases [HCQ Trutherism and anti-vaccination based on the alleged and debunked link between vaccines and autism], the idea was started by flawed studies

    I think we would have some kind of covid-related Trutherism (but maybe not exactly HCQ-based) and we would have some kind of anti-vaccination movement (but maybe not exactly based on the alleged vaccine-autism link). If the flawed studies didn’t exist, people would have to invent them.

    If it turned out that kissing Donald Trump’s giant orange backside cured COVID, scientists would be the first ones telling people to line up and use chapstick.

    I know you’re being a little facetious, but it’s important to remember that scientist are human and that science exists in a political context. By that I mean it’s not a question only of Noble Seekers of Truth Who Follow Only The Evidence At All Times. At least in the short term, Science is influenced by both petty motivations (careerism, the desire to be proven right, professional jealousy, and prejudice), and implementing scientific findings is a political process of resource allocation and balancing some needs against others. (To be clear: I agree with the gist of what you’re saying. Most scientists. Right now. Probably just want to focus on solving the problem.)

    Finally, I have a question about this, which maybe you or someone else can answer:

    Initial small-scale studies of the drug on COVID-19 patients indicated some positive effect (in combination with the antibiotic azithromycin).

    Why is an antibiotic used here? I had thought that “antibiotics are only for bacterial infections and not viral infections” was the rule. I understand rules have exceptions, but I am curious.Report

  3. Avatar Stillwater
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    says:

    I feel like I’m in the twilight zone when an evidence-based scientist writes a post defending Trump’s reckless non-evidence-based claims because the evidence isn’t in yet.Report

    • Avatar veronica d in reply to Stillwater
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      says:

      Exactly. The attempt to “bothsides” in this article was facile and ridiculous.Report

    • Avatar Michael Siegel in reply to Stillwater
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      says:

      Where exactly did I defend Trump’s recklessness? I specifically said he jumped on it because it offered a quick fix and that he wanted to make millions of doses instead of taking more concrete steps. But I also pointed out that this isn’t just about him (HCQ is being touted all over the world) and that some of the things being said (he’s responsible for the aquarium poisoning; he should be charge with a crime) are absurd.

      Moreover, *this did not start with Trump*. This started because of scientific research on the previous SARS outbreaks that indicated HCQ could help. This got going and is still going because thousands of doctors all over the world turn to HCQ as a potential solution. This study was of people in hospitals. They are not getting this treatment because of the Giant Orange Man. They are getting it because doctors are desperate and hoping that the initial studies worked.

      (And I would point out that there is no study yet of any prophylaxis effect. And it may be more useful in that stage when you’re not in the cytokine storm or ARDS phase).

      And you can’t look at people gleeful that a cheap potential treatment for this pandemic failed and think this is deeply unscientific and deranged? It’s not as bad a Trump touting an unproven (but widely used) treatment but it’s still bad.

      It’s like any post that doesn’t blame Trump for all the evils of the world has to be accused of Both Sideism in the First Degree.Report

      • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Michael Siegel
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        says:

        You defended Trump’s recklessness by accepting the legitimacy of his non-evidence-based, and often contra-evidence-based, views on HCQ to make a strained and frankly ridiculous point about partisan politics.Report

      • Avatar veronica d in reply to Michael Siegel
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        says:

        And you can’t look at people gleeful that a cheap potential treatment for this pandemic failed and think this is deeply unscientific and deranged?

        Where are these people? I’m pretty tapped into the left wing ecosystem and I don’t see people talking about HCQ at all, except to point out that Trump is irrational.

        The point: this isn’t really “a thing” on the left. No, we aren’t “gleeful” that HQZ didn’t work.Report

        • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to veronica d
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          says:

          “Trump is lying, again, and it’s going to cause a lot of damage, again.”

          “Stop being so gleeful!”Report

          • Avatar gabriel conroy in reply to Mike Schilling
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            says:

            With Pinky, I also see a sense of vindication, though I don’t have any examples at the ready.

            On a slightly different note, it’s not unusual for someone to want to be proved right or to gain satisfaction from being proved right, even when what’s being proved is something that person wouldn’t wish for.

            Maybe that’s inevitable, and being inevitable, it’s not necessarily a bad thing.Report

            • Avatar InMD in reply to gabriel conroy
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              says:

              The darkest, most Teutonic form of schadenfreude is when you take pleasure in the misfortune of another, even as it leads to your own demise.Report

            • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to gabriel conroy
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              says:

              I also see a sense of vindication, though I don’t have any examples at the ready.

              Allow me.

              This was a case of a known habitual liar making a claim that even at the moment he said it was highly doubtful.
              The village of idiots instantly brayed for the miracle elixir, depriving those who actually needed it of its use and scorned anyone who appealed to expert opinion.

              Then actual scientists demonstrated that the liar was in fact lying and the braying village of idiots were in fact braying idiots.

              That the experts really are experts and are to be trusted more than game show hosts.

              I feel very vindicated, yea, even unto glee.Report

              • Avatar gabriel conroy in reply to Chip Daniels
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                says:

                I should’ve been clearer. “Glee” is probably the wrong word.

                However, Michael Siegel wrote his post, and in my opinion it was a very good post. I decline to nitpick an incidental word choice, other than to agree that “glee” is probably not the right word.

                (Of course, in my comment above, I nitpicked other things he said. I’m not pure, just differently faulty.)Report

              • Avatar Marchmaine in reply to Chip Daniels
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                says:

                There are currently 204 globally registered trials of Hydroxychloroquine as it pertains to Covid-19. 100 are Recruiting plus another 9 are active not-recruiting. 5 have been updated as “Completed.”

                We keep being told “science is messy” and “we’re watching science in real time…” But I mostly see claims of vindication in lieu of “messy science”

                Which is just odd, because Trump’s folly is meaningless folly… there are no diverted resources, no actual recommendations… nothing. Trump’s FDA clearly recommends *not* taking the drug unless under medical supervision or as part of a trial and points to clinicaltrials.gov.

                In fact, *despite* Trump’s folly “actual scientists” are studying whether Hydroxychloroquine might be a useful prophylactic and/or treatment.

                Maybe it will, maybe it won’t… but like a vaccine… we probably won’t have any “scientific” clarity on its efficacy for Covid-19 until 2021.

                At least, that’s what messy science suggests.

                Thou brayest too early for it to be scientific braying.Report

              • Avatar veronica d in reply to Marchmaine
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                says:

                I agree with this. There remains a lot of work to do before we can be sure either way.

                However, note that legit Hydroxychloroquine are experiencing shortages of the drug, so whatever the FDA is saying, the Trumpaloos are having a negative effect on people’s health.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Marchmaine
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                says:

                No, it is already demonstrated that Trump is a habitual liar.

                It’s demonstrated that he was jabbering foolishly without knowing anything of what he was talking about.

                And by this comment you are demonstrating the nonchalance and blithe disregard for consequences that we have been complaining about.

                What the President did was reckless and foolish and caused chaos and uncertainty across the world in a time when the health of 300 million people rely on accurate and honest information.

                It wasn’t an honest misstatement, or even slight exaggeration. It wasn’t a statement made in good faith and sincere intention, it was a lie made with the intention for personal gain and aggrandizement.

                And when people defend him by downplaying it as trivial foolishness, this aids and abets the lying and chaos.Report

              • Avatar Truth in reply to Chip Daniels
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                says:

                “And when people defend him by downplaying it as trivial foolishness, this aids and abets the lying and chaos.”

                This. The article is bad and should probably be recalled.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Marchmaine
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                says:

                Maybe it will, maybe it won’t… but like a vaccine… we probably won’t have any “scientific” clarity on its efficacy for Covid-19 until 2021.

                Dr. Fauci today: “Clearly the scientific data is really quite evident now about the lack of efficacy for it.”Report

              • Avatar Marchmaine in reply to Stillwater
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                says:

                Don’t tell me, have Dr. Fauci call the hundreds of scientists ramping up clinical trials.

                I’m agnostic and pro-science.Report

              • Avatar Jacob in reply to Marchmaine
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                says:

                Only two of these studies include zinc.

                Trump says he is taking HCQ+zinc and the media has a complete blackout on covering the fact that he is taking a two-drug combo, not just HCQ. Testing HCQ alone tells us nothing about the combined effectiveness of HCQ+zinc (which is what he is actually promoting).Report

              • Avatar Marchmaine in reply to Jacob
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                says:

                That’s the point… nobody should care at all.

                If two studies are testing HCQ+Zinc and some are testing HCQ+Bromhexine and others are testing dosage amounts and still others testing early use vs. prophylactic vs. in extremis and others are comparing HCQ+Azithromycin and yet others HCQ alone vs. Azithromycin alone – what Trump is personally taking has no bearing at all.Report

              • Avatar Jacob in reply to Marchmaine
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                says:

                Well it matters since the most theorized mechanism of action is that HCQ opens up a pathway into the cells that allows the zinc to slow the replication of the virus. The actual active ingredient is zinc and the HCQ is a booster. Testing the booster agent alone without the active ingredient seems pretty pointless.

                Current media coverage of HCQ: Hey look, we disproved something that guy didn’t actually believe! He must be a real idiot, that guy. Just think of someone believing this thing that guy doesn’t believe. Can you believe it?Report

              • Avatar Marchmaine in reply to Jacob
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                says:

                That’s the opposite of the position I’m taking.

                I have no interest in proving or disproving Trump.Report

            • Avatar veronica d in reply to gabriel conroy
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              says:

              I’ll admit, if HZD had turned out to work, it would have irritated me. On the other hand, it would save many, many, many lives, so that seems like a good thing.

              I’d get over my irritation. Hundreds of thousands, perhaps in the end millions of lives would be saved. It seems like a pretty decent trade.

              I certainly feel no “glee.”

              The point, as I said before: trying to paint this as a “both sides” issue was facile.Report

              • Avatar gabriel conroy in reply to veronica d
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                says:

                I guess it’s very hard to acknowledge that more than one side is guilty of the same (or simlair) thing and yet try to balance that against one side being worse, more brazen, and harmful. I think the OP was trying to do the balance and perhaps fell short.

                So….the OP shouldn’t have used the word “glee” and perhaps should have signposted “the other side does it too” point more of an aside than a main part of his narrative. But I still don’t think the OP was positing an equivalence. (Or….if he really does see a substantial equivalence, then be clearer about it.)

                I do feel a little chastened that I’m criticizing others for nitpicking when my first comment on this thread was a couple of nitpicks. I’m sure if the tables were somehow turned and whatever post being written grated against my priors in the right way, I’d be the one accusing an OP writer of false equivalences.

                I remember Tod Kelly used to be accused of arguing for false equivalences, and he tended to push back on those accusations. He was right Yet, he had a “on the one hand….on the other hand…(but let’s not forget that…)” style of writing that encouraged that accusation, even if that wasn’t what he was going for. Perhaps the OP made a similar mistake?Report

              • Avatar Jacob in reply to veronica d
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                says:

                HCQ+zinc. Trump says he is taking both together (you can hear it directly from him when you watch a press conference, but the zinc never gets mentioned in the press coverage). Testing HCQ alone tells us nothing about the actual combo Trump is promoting.Report

        • Avatar Pinky in reply to veronica d
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          says:

          I wouldn’t say I’ve seen any conscious glee, but there’ve been plenty of emotional expressions of vindication every time a new study casts doubt on its effectiveness.Report

      • Avatar Jacob in reply to Michael Siegel
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        says:

        Also, since early March the proponents of an this approach have been pointing to HCQ+zinc, not HCQ alone. Trump says in his press conferences he is taking HCQ+zinc, but the media never mentions the zinc part.

        Testing HCQ by itself tells us nothing about the effectiveness of the HCQ+zinc combination.

        So to your point, the extrapolation from the current HCQ-only studies only gets us part of the way to the truth.Report

  4. Avatar greginak
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    says:

    I was initially hopefully when i read the first things about HCQ. I thought we might have gotten really lucky. Of course the very next step was study the hell out of it to see if the initial hope was born out. I have no glee is seeing that it doesn’t work. I take actual anti-glee ( this is a thing in string theory i think) in the both sidings of things. Trump was being himself by touting it; irresponsible, childish and a PR obsessed bs technician.Report

    • Avatar Stillwater in reply to greginak
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      says:

      I was initially hopefully when i read the first things about HCQ

      But were you though? There wasn’t a scrap of evidence to suggest this drug would work against coronavirus strains the way Trump claimed. Plus, the idea that Donald Trump, rather than scientists and others in the relevant fields, would have some unique insight into the drug’s efficacy was laughable on its face.

      The only people excited by Trump’s pronouncement were a) folks who believe the Transnational Intellectual-Elite Industrial Complex are conspiring to suppress common-sense solutions to compelling problems (so that Bill Gates can inject microchips into people’s bodies obvs) or b) folks who delight in expressing their own ignorance as a way to own the libs.

      In terms of evidence, and evidence-based reasoning, HCQ’s highly touted efficacy as a miracle cure was never an open question.Report

      • Avatar greginak in reply to Stillwater
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        says:

        People were talking about HCQ before trumpy saw a PR opp. Sadly the hope was based on a small study we now know to be poor. When i first heard about it, it was clear the initial work was only preliminary and very much needed a lot more study. We got the rest of the science and the drug doesn’t do good stuff. So on to the trash heap it goes for now.

        Even as i was hopeful about it, i gritted my teeth when trump started the bs cannon on it. My feeling was that we might have gotten lucky but we need to see some big studies and he is managing to F it up by turning it into another partisan poo fight and attaching it to his f’ing ego.

        People need hope and positive things to hold on to and focus on. Leaders can help with that. But hope can’t be built on false promises or trying to win the news cycle or just saying shit that feels good at that second. Hope that sustains is built on a solid foundation of what is possible while understanding what must be done.Report

  5. Avatar Michael Cain
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    says:

    To add to the confusion, no one seems to be talking about dosage. For acute malaria, the initial dose is 800 mg. Rheumatoid arthritis treatments start at 400-600 mg daily, then drop to half that or less. Dosages for other prophylaxis purposes are under 100 mg per day, sometimes as low as 60 mg. That’s an order of magnitude range, and we know that the bad side effects are more common at higher doses. TTBOMK, we don’t know what dosages were used in any of the studies, including the informal one President Trump is conducting on himself. (There is plenty of speculation that Trump’s dosage is actually zero because the docs have given him a placebo, but didn’t tell him.)Report

  6. Avatar DavidTC
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    says:

    to bizarre claims that Trump should be charged with crimes for touting this unproven therapy.

    We…uh…actually do criminalize quacks who run around promoting medication without any evidence or medical license. We don’t really ‘arrest’ them, but…such claims are not generally legal. I couldn’t start offering some miracle cure for Covid, making specific medical claims that were untrue, or I’d be fined and forced to stop.

    Like, if Doctor Phil had aired an episode about this, people would also be upset, and calling for his arrest. Which, to be clear, would not happen, he would not be arrested…but he would be fined.

    This only reason this sounds bizarre is it is the _president_ doing it.

    And this, I think, shows the real danger of Trump as a president, and the Republican party’s bootlicking. Because of Trump sheer…absurdity, we have people posting articles like ‘How dare people get upset at non-medical people publicly promoting untested medical treatments during an pandemic’, something that, just six months ago, would generally have been greeted by bipartisan outrage, but has somehow turned into a political issue.Report

    • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to DavidTC
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      says:

      And if Chip were to issue tweets repeatedly accusing a specific person of murder, my account would likely be suspended.
      But somehow, because it is the President doing it, this becomes acceptable.Report

  7. Avatar Oscar Gordon
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    says:

    Anyone know of other drugs being looked at? I’m not hopeful that we’ll have a vaccine any time soon, so I am curious about other drugs that can make the symptoms manageable.Report

    • Avatar veronica d in reply to Oscar Gordon
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      says:

      I hear people talking about Remdesivir as a treatment.Report

    • Avatar greginak in reply to Oscar Gordon
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      says:

      Remsdvir is still be actively studied with some recent positive results. There are new advanced thinga-ma-bobs called Monoclonal Antibodies that a lot of serious people have hope for by the fall. The other stuff i’ve seen that has positive results have been cocktails of a few drugs. It makes sense it might take more than one drug but also makes the studies and replication much more complicated.Report

      • Avatar DavidTC in reply to greginak
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        says:

        I keep reading things that imply doctors made some pretty serious wrong assumptions about what needed treating and how to do it. All the doctors figured ‘It spread flu-like,and people can die from Pneumonia’, so we should focus there….and we were wrong, we had all mentally misclassified it.

        Now, obviously, we’re paying more attention to the cytokine storm and the clotting and stuff. We might be able to figure out treatments to reduce the risk of those other things with existing medication….and we might need to deal with a bunch of different things in a cocktail.Report

      • Avatar Michael Cain in reply to greginak
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        says:

        This application of monoclonal antibodies is new. MAs themselves have been around for years. The 2018 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine was given out for MA work, and the Nobel committee is notorious for waiting a long time to see what turns out to be important, and what not so much.Report

    • Avatar Jacob in reply to Oscar Gordon
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      says:

      HCQ+zinc, which is actually what Trump is taking. Trump will say this his press conferences and the media reports almost universally skip mentioning the zinc part.

      Since early March the predominate theory is that HCQ opens up pathways for the zinc to prevent viral replication. The failure of HCQ alone is not that surprising as it is a booster for the zinc, not a cure in itselfReport

  8. Avatar Greg
    Ignored
    says:

    Typo? Usage? “Bovine” referring to goats.
    Did you mean “ungulates”?
    I’m not familiar with goats as bovines.Report

  9. Avatar Kazzy
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    says:

    Something I’ve noticed, especially lately, is that people seem to be determining the truth value of a statement or fact based on who said it.

    HCQ either helps treat Covid or it doesn’t. Or, maybe it helps some patients and not others or helps in certain circumstances and not others. Regardless, all of that will be true or not true independent of what Trump says.

    The HCQ claims aren’t wrong because Trump touts them. Nor are they right. The truth of claims regarding HCQ simply are.

    It’s possible (and I’d argue that it certainly was) that it was irresponsible of Trump to tout them. It’s possible (and I’d argue that it certainly was) that Trump touted them for the wrong reasons, for selfish reasons. All of that can be true… AND the HCQ claims can still be true. Or not true. Those things are unrelated.

    I do think there is some segment of the left that simply wants Trump to be wrong all the time, primarily because they see everything through a zero-sum-game lens: if Trump isn’t wrong, than we must be wrong. (Note: I think the exact same tendency exists on the right; this isn’t unique to the left.). So when Trump started making HCQ claims — which were not original to him and this seems pretty easily verifiable — I think some folks wanted him to be factually wrong because he seemed to be engaging in so much of the wrongness that has typified most of his life: overconfidently boasting bullshit that serves a personal interest. It is very possible (and, again, I’d argue was the case) that Trump was just pushing a convenient claim with zero idea as to whether it was true or right or good. And he might still have been right insofar as whether or not HCQ works because HCQ doesn’t care what Trump says.

    Now, was he right? I don’t know. The results seem mixed and probably pointing to him being wrong, at least in terms of HCQ being a miracle drug that can easily cure HCQ. I’ll look to the medical experts doing good work to tell me if it’s right, not Trump.Report

    • Avatar InMD in reply to Kazzy
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      says:

      It’s like when news of some shooting or other horrific crime breaks and everyone sits with bated breath waiting to see who’s beliefs get to be confirmed.Report

    • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Kazzy
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      says:

      Yep. Everybody freaking loves science. But it’s when the dialectic shows up and starts separating the sheep from the goats that it’s hard to not notice that we’ve wandered away from a handful of things that we are sure we were told were important once.Report

    • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Kazzy
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      says:

      Something I’ve noticed, especially lately, is that people seem to be determining the truth value of a statement or fact based on who said it.

      Recency bias.Report

    • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Kazzy
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      says:

      He might have been right about drinking bleach too. We’ll never know without multiple double-blind studies.

      Science!Report

      • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Mike Schilling
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        says:

        Do you really think those are the same things?

        Drinking bleach is something we all learned around age 5 was dangerous.

        The effectiveness of HCQ is something actual doctors are claiming. They may be — and, hell, probably are — wrong. And Trump is wrong to back claims that aren’t substantiated. But the last point has zero bearing on whether or not the claims are right. If HCQ works, it’s not going to suddenly stop working because our idiot racist rapist President touted it. It also won’t make it suddenly start working because the 40%’s demi-god President wants it too.Report

  10. Avatar Philip H
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    says:

    Once again folks, science is messy. It starts and stops, makes wrong turns, backs up and retreads roads already trod. Its not a linear thing, and early conclusions can be right, wrong or indifferent. in science Zero is still a valid number.

    This is science playing out in real time, not shielded as it normally is by stuffy overpriced journal editors. Almost 6 months into treating this pandemic in the US, we know a lot more then we did at the outset. But we don’t know most things, and we don’t know what we don’t know. We can’t do double blind controlled trials on real patients who are battling this thing, so the best the doctors of various specialties (and the modelers, and the quants) can do is report, aggregate and analyze.

    Oscar Gordon is right – we are a ways off form a vaccine, so these treatments will continue to be tried. Promising ones will be reported, and failed ones will also be reported.

    Michael Segal is also right – the HCQ issue is not just a scientific or medical one in as much as the President does want a miracle cure so he can get the stock market back up and delude people into believing we are fine and get reelected.

    He can’t wait for a real vaccine because doing so means he looses power. We have no choice in waiting. Science will get us there, but it will be a bumpier ride then anyone expects.Report

    • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to Philip H
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      says:

      We don’t have a vaccine for SARS or MERS, so I’m not holding out hope for a vaccine for COVID anytime soon. I know part of the reason is that SARS & MERS basically fizzled out, and the push for a vaccine followed suit, but people are still working on vaccines for both, so…

      But people around the world need to come to terms with that reality and stop acting as if we can simply hold out a little longer for the vaccine.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Oscar Gordon
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        says:

        I made a comment to the doc a million years ago, while getting my flu shot with whooping cough booster, about getting sick a few months before. She shrugged, poked, and said “Sometimes the shots miss.”

        I know that if we get R0 from a higher number to a lower number, that’s a win. No matter how you slice it, it’s a win.

        But it’s not a “everything is back to normal” win given how high Covid’s R0 is.

        We’re going to have to normalize masks and crap like that. We’re going to have to make fun ones. Fashionable ones. Masculine ones for the guys. Feminine ones for the gals. We’re going to have to pander to people to get them to wear them because that’s the best achievable option that doesn’t require smart people to do something.

        And that sucks.Report

        • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to Jaybird
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          says:

          I have masks from here.
          https://safishing.com/

          They used to have more styles, but I think they had a bit of a run on them. You can still get custom ones, though.Report

          • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Oscar Gordon
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            says:

            That’s exactly the thing I’m talking about. Fun, fashionable, functional.

            We need NFL, MLB, NBA, NHL, and soccer facemasks. Represent the Colorado Rapids while you’re stylishly socially distancing!

            Get one with your preferred Harry Potter house! Tell people that you read YA fiction with your Maze Runner, Divergent, or Fifty Shades mask!

            And we’ve got LGBTQQIIAAPDM+ masks too! Let people know that you’re asexual with our asexual awareness mask! Are you instead Demisexual? We’ve got you covered! And just multicolored ones so that your face mask can match your hair color this week! Or, heck, deliberately clash! It’s your mask, not your problem!

            Programmers? We’ve got you covered! This mask is black with “vi” on it! This other mask is a rich blue with “EMACS” on it! Get in a fistfight in the D&D store!

            OOOH! D&D! We’ve got Beholder masks! Masks with Otyughs on it! Masks that make you look like an elf! They come in XXXL!

            Seriously, there is a lot of money to be made here.Report

            • Avatar Pinky in reply to Jaybird
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              says:

              And after the virus, you can still wear your Fifty Shades mask for…whatever activity you enjoy. Actually, this is really smart. I’m surprised people aren’t making masks with optimistic hashtags on them. And the NFL, they crank out specialty jerseys after one game. They could be selling collectors’ versions, with historic uniform colors or superstars’ numbers. College colors. Disney! They’ll do anything for money. Boba Fett masks, Hulk and She-Hulk masks…even I could figure out how to cash in on this.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Pinky
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                says:

                Live Laugh Love masks!
                Pumpkin Spice masks!
                Dance As If No One Is Watching masks!
                YOLO masks!
                Mustache finger tattoo masks!

                LET PEOPLE KNOW YOU WANT TO SEE THE MANAGER!Report

              • Avatar Pinky in reply to Jaybird
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                says:

                I wonder how 2A, MAGA, USA, Texas flag, Fox News, et cetera masks would sell. Possibly reach an untapped market?Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Pinky
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                says:

                You already keep your family safe by buying gold. You already protect yourself by using Relief Factor. You sleep well at night thanks to your MyPillow.

                Now it’s time to protect your family, yourself, *AND* make sure that you sleep well at night with your LARRY ELDER FACE MASK!Report

      • Avatar Michael Cain in reply to Oscar Gordon
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        says:

        It seems unsurprising that there’s no vaccines for SARS or MERS. Both burned out quickly — 73 SARS cases in the US, 2 MERS cases — and are much more lethal. The fatality rate for MERS was >30%.

        There’s a licensed Ebola vaccine now. It exists as much by happenstance as by plan because of the difficulty of getting permission to do human trials.Report

  11. Avatar Jacob
    Ignored
    says:

    I find it really interesting that there is no mention of zinc in this discussion. Trump has said that he is taking HCQ + Zinc, not just HCQ alone. Most of the doctors who have been most publicly enthusiastic about the potential benefit have been promoting HCQ + Zinc. In fact, the theorized mechanism of action is that HCQ allows the zinc to effectively reach the virus and prevent replication, meaning that HCQ isn’t even expected to be all that effective alone. This combo approach has been pretty consistently covered in conservative media since early March, so this is not a late changing response to the HCQ trial results. (Note that interestingly Fox News dropped mention of zinc recently and has joined the rest of the organizations in ignoring that it is a two-drug combo that Trump is actually taking)

    The almost total blackout on the importance of zinc in the media is difficult to understand. Trump mentions both (watch the video of the press conference), and yet every article excludes the mention of zinc. All the studies look just at HCQ alone, and surprising to no one, find that it doesn’t help, and may even slightly hurt due to already-well-known heart interactions. Unfortunately for those interested in truth we still have no good data to make any judgement on the effectiveness of HCQ+Zinc.

    Doesn’t this strike anyone else as odd?Report

  12. Avatar Jeff Davis
    Ignored
    says:

    Michael Siegel, an astronomer not a medical professional, the author of this article, is clearly an anti Trumper. He doesn’t declare his bias upfront, which would establish a certain willingness to address to subject matter honestly, but his political bias is clearly on display. I have no quarrel with that, we all have our politics, but everyone’s bias distorts their reasoning and if not announced up front, their analysis is subject to that distortion.

    So I have several issues with the “analysis” that challenge its credibility.

    First, the anti Trump bias leads directly to Confirmation Bias: the tendency for a person to believe with little evidence that which confirms his belief, and reject despite substantial evidence that which conflicts with his belief.

    He offers as evidence the findings of the Lancet and VA studies, both of which appear to support a lack of efficacy of hydroxychloroquine (HCQ), but ignores the information that which might tend to support its efficacy. He offers only one side of the argument, his side, while ignoring the other side. This is neither neutral nor honest discourse.

    His use of the term “Truther” is grotesquely prejudicial.

    I could go on at length as he does, but I will keep my comment short and to the point.

    The theory of HCQ efficacy is based on its use as a prophylactic, that is as a preventative. It is not intended to be used, nor is it claimed to be effective, when used in the treatment of established infection, and in particular in the treatment of advanced disease. Mr. Siegal’s disregard of this central point disposes of his argument and conclusion.

    The VA study involves treatment of patients with advance disease, and thus has no validity regarding HCQ effectiveness as a prophylactic. The Lancet study, with all its technical jargon makes no mention — is devoid of any discussion whatsoever — of HCQ use or the theory of its use, as a prophylactic. Nor does it mention anywhere the degree of infection at the initiation of HCQ use. (Under normal circumstances, I have a great deal of respect for The Lancet, but in the Trump era, their liberal bias is almost certainly to manifest an anti-Trump character.)

    For the other side of the story, consult this article:

    https://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/927033

    Read the discussion in the comments section. This website is for medical professionals, and participation in the comments is restricted to medical professionals. Do a search in the comments for the term “ionophore”. That will take you to the heart of the discussion about how HCQ may function as a prophylactic.

    Good luck.

    And by the way, it now appears that heparin provides a substantial benefit in treating the alveolar thrombosis that manifests in advanced cases, often the cause of death from respiratory failure.Report

    • Avatar Andrew Donaldson in reply to Jeff Davis
      Ignored
      says:

      Imagine decrying something for bias and then leading off your retort with “He’s clearly an Anti-Trumper” which is…what’s the word I’m looking for here…oh, yes. Bias. You started with a political problem and worked your way from there. Sad!Report

    • Avatar Michael Siegel in reply to Jeff Davis
      Ignored
      says:

      Every single point you make is addressed in my post. The only studies that supported the HCQ regimen were of advance disease patients in China and France and those studies had significant flaws. I specifically noted that the medicine may show more effect earlier on and that studies had not been done. I also noted that this is not the last word on this.

      I think the word “Truther” is appropriate for what is happening right now. I made a clear distinction between those who want to know whether this works and those claiming it is the miracle cure “they” don’t want to know about.

      I suspect you came across my backhanded criticism of Trump and your eyes turned red with rage and you didn’t read beyond that. But nice try. You got all the talking points on your checklist in.Report

  13. Avatar Marchmaine
    Ignored
    says:

    I guess another for the “science is messy” file?

    “The World Health Organization and a number of national governments have changed their Covid-19 policies and treatments [with regards Hydroxychloroquine] on the basis of flawed data from a little-known US healthcare analytics company, also calling into question the integrity of key studies published in some of the world’s most prestigious medical journals.”

    I don’t know anything about biology and epidemiology… but this particular scandal appears to be Data related, and there I have a bit of experience with exactly how difficult it is for very large corporations who have legitimate access to tons of data globally to aggregate and anonymity this date for use in cross-organization research.

    “Peter Ellis, the chief data scientist of Nous Group, an international management consultancy that does data integration projects for government departments, expressed concern that Surgisphere database was “almost certainly a scam”

    Personally I doubt a political angle to this… appears at first glance to be mostly a financial/business scandal of a fledgling company over-selling the data it has collected to researchers desperate for data. Plus the usual issues of proprietary data/methods and peer review.Report

  1. June 4, 2020

    […] weeks ago, I wrote about a massive study of the effects of hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) on victims of COVID-19. The study […]Report

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