Man reportedly died from COVID-19 after hospital rejected court order to treat him with ivermectin


TheBlaze 07 October, 2021 - 01:46pm 2 views

The Rockets looked good at times on defense with the usual early-season hiccups every team deals with, especially a group with several players under 21 years of age. On the offensive side, the team looked surprisingly fluid at different points of the game. Different players were able to get to the basket. The three-point shooting and free-throw shooting were off for most of the game, but they made the plays necessary to pull out the victory when it counted.

Yes, it's just preseason, but there was plenty to be happy about if you are in the Rockets’ front office. Here are three things that surprise me the most about last night's win.

One of the biggest revelations from last year was the potential of Kevin Porter Jr. After several issues with the Cleveland Cavaliers the previous year and a half, the Rockets traded for their soon-to-be point guard for a heavily protected second round pick.

Porter Jr. had his moments last year, culminating with his 50-point, 10-assist game vs. the Milwaukee Bucks, where he dominated against one of the best defensive teams in the league and the soon-to-be NBA champions. Most of the attention was on Green yesterday in his first-ever NBA game, but Porter Jr. was on fire from the start.

KPJ was under total control for most of the game, weaving in and out of traffic, finishing on the break, and shooting 5-10 from deep. The three-point shooting is the most encouraging part considering Porter Jr. shot in the low 30s last year, which was a point of emphasis for the young guard all offseason. Porter would finish with a game-high 25 points to go along with 5 assists and 4 rebounds. The only negative for Porter Jr. was the 4 turnovers, but that can be cleaned up the more reps he gets at the point guard spot.

With all eyes on Jalen Green, expectations were high going into his first game. At the end of the day, though, Green is still a rookie who can't even drink legally in Texas. Green has all the tools of a potential superstar. The ability to jump out of the gym, score from anywhere on the court, and confidence you usually see in a seasoned veteran. Even with all of those qualities, Green will need time to get his footing in the NBA.

Last night Green showed flashes of brilliance. He was patiently waiting for an opening, turning down the pick set by Christian Wood and hanging in the air for what seemed like hours to finish at the basket for his first-ever points in an NBA game. He also showed his ability to score from mid-range coming off of a pick. Green, however, struggled with his shot overall, finishing 4-14 from the field.

That wasn't a huge surprise considering it was his first-ever NBA game. What was surprising was the great passes made by Green throughout the game. Green isn't known for his passing ability, and he had a few nice passes to step his teammates. He didn't try to force shots, and even though it didn't show up in the start line, he had several occasions where his passes led to easy baskets for his teammates, what they call "a hockey assist", where you pass to a teammate, and that teammate makes the pass that leads to a basket.

Green also finished the game with six rebounds which was a pleasant surprise. Green several times was able to guard his man and then drop back into the lane to help out on the boards or since he was switched onto bigger players able to box out centers and forwards for the board.

The biggest question for Josh Christopher coming into this season was could he consistently make outside shots? For a time yesterday, it didn't look like Christopher would even see the court. However, early in the fourth quarter, Christopher subbed in for Green with the Rockets trailing by five points. Christopher would hit all three of his three-pointers and finish with 11 points to help the Rockets pull out the victory.

Christopher also played the passing lanes well and, despite a couple of turnovers, was the driving force in the comeback win. Christopher won't shoot 100 percent from beyond the arc for the season (maybe), but if he can consistently shoot well from deep, he won't be spending much time in the G League because he is already great at getting to the basket.

This is only game one of the preseason, and it will be plenty of ups and downs for the young Rockets. You usually can't take too much from a preseason game, but when you are coming off the worst record in the league the previous year, every game is vital in that team development.

Read full article at TheBlaze

Ivermectin: How False Science Created A Covid 'Miracle' Drug

New 08 October, 2021 - 08:12pm

For some years ivermectin has been a vital anti-parasitic medicine used to treat humans and animals.

But during the pandemic there has been a clamour from some proponents for using the drug for something else - to fight Covid and prevent deaths.

The health authorities in the US, UK and EU have found there is insufficient evidence for using the drug against Covid, but thousands of supporters, many of them anti-vaccine activists, have continued to vigorously campaign for its use.

Members of social media groups swap tips on getting hold of the drug, even advocating the versions used for animals.

The hype around ivermectin - based on the strength of belief in the research - has driven large numbers of people around the world to use it.

Campaigners for the drug point to a number of scientific studies and often claim this evidence is being ignored or covered up. But a review by a group of independent scientists has cast serious doubt on that body of research.

The BBC can reveal that more than a third of 26 major trials of the drug for use on Covid have serious errors or signs of potential fraud. None of the rest show convincing evidence of ivermectin's effectiveness.

Dr Kyle Sheldrick, one of the group investigating the studies, said they had not found "a single clinical trial" claiming to show that ivermectin prevented Covid deaths that did not contain "either obvious signs of fabrication or errors so critical they invalidate the study".

The scientists in the group - Dr Gideon Meyerowitz-Katz, Dr James Heathers, Dr Nick Brown and Dr Sheldrick - each have a track record of exposing dodgy science. They've been working together remotely on an informal and voluntary basis during the pandemic.

They formed a group looking deeper into ivermectin studies after biomedical student Jack Lawrence spotted problems with an influential study from Egypt. Among other issues, it contained patients who turned out to have died before the trial started. It has now been retracted by the journal that published it.

The group of independent scientists examined virtually every randomised controlled trial (RCT) on ivermectin and Covid - in theory the highest quality evidence - including all the key studies regularly cited by the drug's promoters.

RCTs involve people being randomly chosen to receive either the drug which is being tested or a placebo - a dummy drug with no active properties.

The team also looked at six particularly influential observational trials. This type of trial looks at what happens to people who are taking the drug anyway, so can be biased by the types of people who choose to take the treatment.

Out of a total of 26 studies examined, there was evidence in five that the data may have been faked - for example they contained virtually impossible numbers or rows of identical patients copied and pasted.

In a further five there were major red flags - for example, numbers didn't add up, percentages were calculated incorrectly or local health bodies weren't aware they had taken place.

On top of these flawed trials, there were 14 authors of studies who failed to send data back. The independent scientists have flagged this as a possible indicator of fraud.

The sample of research papers examined by the independent group also contains some high-quality studies from around the world. But the major problems were all in the studies making big claims for ivermectin - in fact, the bigger the claim in terms of lives saved or infections prevented, the greater the concerns suggesting it might be faked or invalid, the researchers discovered.

While it's extremely difficult to rule out human error in these trials, Dr Sheldrick, a medical doctor and researcher at the University of New South Wales in Sydney, believes it is highly likely at least some of them may have been knowingly manipulated.

A recent study in Lebanon was found to have blocks of details of 11 patients that had been copied and pasted repeatedly - suggesting many of the trial's apparent patients didn't really exist.

The study's authors told the BBC that the "original set of data was rigged, sabotaged or mistakenly entered in the final file" and that they have submitted a retraction to the scientific journal which published it.

Another study from Iran seemed to show that ivermectin prevented people dying from Covid.

But the scientists who investigated it found issues. The records of how much iron was in patients' blood contained numbers in a sequence that was unlikely to come up naturally.

And the patients given the placebo turned out to have had much lower levels of oxygen in their blood before the trial started than those given ivermectin. So they were already sicker and statistically more likely to die.

But this pattern was repeated across a wide range of different measurements. The people with "bad" measurements ended up in the placebo group, the ones with "good" measurements in the ivermectin group.

The likelihood of this happening randomly across all these different measurements was vanishingly small, Dr Sheldrick said.

Dr Morteza Niaee, who led the Iran study, defended the results and the methodology and disagreed with problems pointed out to him, adding that it was "very normal to see such randomisation" when lots of different factors were considered and not all of them had any bearing on participants' Covid risk.

But the Lebanon and Iran trials were excluded from a paper for Cochrane - the international experts in reviewing scientific evidence - because they were "such poorly reported studies". The review concluded there was no evidence of benefit for ivermectin when it comes to Covid.

The largest and highest quality ivermectin study published so far is the Together trial at the McMasters University in Canada. It found no benefit for the drug when it comes to Covid.

Ivermectin is generally considered a safe drug, though there have been some reports of side effects.

Calls over suspected ivermectin poisonings in the US have increased a lot but from a very small base (435 to 1,143 this year) and most of these cases were not serious. Patients have had vomiting, diarrhoea, hallucinations, confusion, drowsiness and tremors.

But indirect harm can come from giving people a false sense of security, especially if they choose ivermectin instead of seeking hospital treatment for Covid, or getting vaccinated in the first place.

Dr Patricia Garcia, a public health expert in Peru, said at one stage she estimated that 14 out of every 15 patients she saw in hospital had been taking ivermectin and by the time they came in they were "really, really sick".

Large pro-ivermectin Facebook groups have turned into forums for people to find advice on where to buy it, including preparations meant for animals.

Some groups regularly contain posts about conspiracy theories of ivermectin cover-ups, as well as pushing anti-vaccine sentiment or encouraging patients to leave hospital if they aren't getting the drug.

The groups often provide a gateway to more fringe communities on the encrypted app Telegram.

These channels have co-ordinated harassment of doctors who fail to prescribe ivermectin and abuse has been aimed at scientists. Prof Andrew Hill, from the University of Liverpool, wrote an influential positive review of ivermectin, originally saying the world should "get prepared, get supplies, get ready to approve [the drug]".

Now he says the studies don't stand up to scrutiny - but after he changed his view, based on new evidence emerging, he received vicious abuse.

A small number of qualified doctors have had an exaggerated influence on the ivermectin debate. Noted proponent Dr Pierre Kory's views have not changed despite the major questions over the trials. He criticised "superficial interpretations of emerging trials data".

Dr Tess Lawrie - a medical doctor who specialises in pregnancy and childbirth - founded the British Ivermectin Recommendation Development (Bird) Group.

She has called for a pause to the Covid-19 vaccination programme and has made unsubstantiated claims implying the Covid vaccine had led to a large number of deaths based on a common misreading of safety data.

When asked during an online panel what evidence might persuade her ivermectin didn't work she replied: "Ivermectin works. There's nothing that will persuade me." She told the BBC: "The only issues with the evidence base are the relentless efforts to undermine it."

Around the world it was originally not opposition to vaccines but a lack of them that led to people to ivermectin.

The drug has at various points been approved, recommended or prescribed for Covid in India, South Africa, Peru and much of the rest of Latin America, as well as in Slovakia.

Health authorities in Peru and India have stopped recommending ivermectin in treatment guidelines.

In February, Merck - one of the companies that makes the drug - said there was "no scientific basis for a potential therapeutic effect against Covid-19".

In South Africa, the drug has become a battleground - doctors point out the lack of evidence but many patients desperately want access as the vaccine rollout has been patchy and problematic. One GP in the country described a relative, a registered nurse, who didn't book a coronavirus vaccine she was eligible for and then caught the virus.

"When she started getting worse, instead of getting proper assessment and treatment, she treated herself with ivermectin," she said.

"Instead of consulting a doctor, she continued with the ivermectin and got home oxygen. By the time I heard how low her oxygen saturation levels were (66%), I begged her daughter to take her to casualty.

"At first they were reluctant, but I convinced them to go. She passed away a few hours later."

After years of trials, the vaccine has shown potential to save tens of thousands of children's lives.

15 sayings from around the world

Don't use parasitic infection drugs for COVID-19 treatment

KRIS 6 News 08 October, 2021 - 08:12pm

Pack of pills, preventive antibodies add to arsenal of COVID-19 treatments

Washington Times 08 October, 2021 - 08:12pm

Focus on vaccines shrouds therapeutic plank of the fight

Vaccines are the focus of the global fight against COVID-19, but a flurry of therapeutic breakthroughs and fights over limited supplies of antibody drugs are returning treatments back to the spotlight.

Merck said this month that it would ask the Food and Drug Administration to authorize a course of pills that cut in half the risk of hospitalization or death from COVID-19 in clinical trials. Days later, AstraZeneca said it would seek emergency approval of a groundbreaking antibody drug that helps at-risk people avoid illness before they are exposed to the coronavirus.

The drugs add to a battery of treatments taken off the shelf or newly developed and deployed since the start of the pandemic. They include a common steroid that reels in wild immune responses to “monoclonal antibodies” that helped President Trump recover in October last year before this summer’s wave of delta variant cases drove demand across the Sun Belt.

Federal officials say therapeutics are no substitute for vaccines, which are cheaper than pioneering drugs and decrease the likelihood of infection or disease in the first place.

But treatments are still critical weapons against a virus that has upended the world and is likely to remain, especially as millions refuse the vaccines and some people fail to mount a robust immune response from the shots.

Seated on a couch in the Oval Office, Dr. Anthony Fauci of the National Institutes of Health told Mr. Trump and reporters in April 2020 that the antiviral drug remdesivir showed promise in getting COVID-19 patients out of the hospital faster than those who did not receive the treatment.

Sold under the brand name Veklury, the drug was the first COVID-19 treatment to get full FDA approval last year and is the “antiviral standard of care” for treating hospitalized patients with COVID-19, said Chris Ridley, a spokesman for Gilead Sciences, which makes the drug.

Approved for patients ages 12 and older, a three-day regimen of intravenous therapy reduced the risk of hospitalization or death from COVID-19 by 87% after 28 days, Dr. Joshua Hill, an assistant professor at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, told the Contagion Live website last month.

Mr. Ridley said remdesivir also was linked to a reduction in mortality in three real-world studies of more than 90,000 hospitalized patients.

Although it remains a standard treatment, experts say, the benefit is marginal if the timing isn’t right. Doctors said the same could be true of a groundbreaking antiviral pill from Merck.

Given too late, “then these will not be effective. Even remdesivir has fallen out of favor for use in the sickest patients,” said Dr. Panagis Galiatsatos, an assistant professor at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine in Baltimore.

Merck, based in New Jersey, announced on Oct. 1 that it would seek emergency approval of the pill treatment molnupiravir after it was shown to be 50% effective in staving off hospitalization or death in people with mild to moderate illness. The drugmaker said it stopped the trial early in consultation with the FDA because the results were positive.

If authorized for use, it would be a notable advancement. Pills are easier to administer than intravenous drugs and can reach a wider range of patients. If its product is authorized, Merck said, it can make 10 million courses of treatment by the end of this year and produce more next year. Earlier this year, the U.S. government pre-purchased 1.7 million courses for use once the FDA green-lights the treatment.

The company said it will provide “timely access” to the rest of the world based on a tiered pricing system under guidance from the World Bank.

In other words, the steroid does not attack the virus itself but targets “the aberrant immune response the virus can cause — as can other infections,” Dr. Galiatsatos said. He said the drug remains key in treating moderate to severe COVID-19.

The World Health Organization says the steroid reduces mortality by 8.7% in critically ill patients and by 6.7% in severely ill patients. The FDA has authorized injections of the drug for use against COVID-19.

While prolonged use could lead to side effects, the treatment is short and “generally safe,” WHO says.

WHO recommends that only patients with severe COVID-19 take dexamethasone and advises against this treatment for those with mild illness.

When Mr. Trump fell sick with COVID-19 one year ago, he received an investigational drug from a company called Regeneron Pharmaceuticals that uses “monoclonal antibodies” to mimic the body’s defenses as the patient mounts a natural response.

The treatment sparked cries of special treatment but shed light on a highly effective tool in keeping COVID-19 patients out of the hospital.

Regeneron’s product and a monoclonal antibody cocktail from Eli Lilly were approved for emergency use in November. The drugs likely have saved thousands of lives, but they are cumbersome to deploy. They are typically given intravenously, requiring supervision from overtaxed clinics and hospitals.

The FDA granted emergency authorization in June to another antibody treatment from GlaxoSmithKline that resulted in an 85% reduction in the risk of hospitalization or death among high-risk adult outpatients compared with a placebo group in trials. The company has entered agreements to provide 420,000 doses of the drug, sotrovimab, worldwide — including the U.S., Australia and parts of Asia and Europe.

A study from earlier this year found Regeneron’s cocktail of two monoclonal antibodies decreased the chances of hospitalization and death by 70% and cut the duration of symptoms by four days. The company said real-world studies by independent groups showed similar results.

The company delivered more than 1.5 million doses — one dose per patient — to the U.S. government and will deliver another 1.4 million doses by January.

Eli Lilly says its treatment combination of bamlanivimab and etesevimab reduced the risk of death and hospitalization by up to 87% in trials. So far, more than 535,000 treatment courses of bamlanivimab or both drugs together have been given to patients. The drugmaker estimates it has prevented more than 25,000 hospitalizations and 10,000 deaths in the U.S.

The Biden administration in mid-September bought 1.4 million doses from Regeneron for $2.9 billion, or $2,100 per dose. Administration officials took over the distribution of the monoclonal antibodies, saying it wanted to ensure equal distribution. Several states in the South accounted for the majority of the drug’s use.

Mr. DeSantis and Republican lawmakers cried foul. They said the decision amounted to rationing and would put people’s lives at risk.

“Prior to this week, health care providers were able to obtain mAb therapies directly from distributors. With no warning, that changed, leaving Florida providers scrambling for information and a path forward for previously scheduled appointments of this life-saving therapy,” Sens. Marco Rubio and Rick Scott of Florida and House lawmakers said in a letter to Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra.

AstraZeneca announced Tuesday that its long-acting antibody drug AZD7442 cut the risk of symptomatic disease by 77% in a trial that enrolled many people with underlying health conditions.

It is a notable development because it is a preventive measure that is given before exposure to COVID-19 — not afterward — and can help vulnerable people who don’t mount a response from vaccines.

The company is asking the FDA to authorize emergency use of the drug, which is given by infusion and can provide protection for up to a year.

“Vulnerable populations such as the immunocompromised often aren’t able to mount a protective response following vaccination and continue to be at risk of developing COVID-19. With this first global regulatory filing, we are one step closer to providing an additional option to help protect against COVID-19 alongside vaccines,” said Mene Pangalos, the executive vice president of AstraZeneca’s biopharmaceutical research and development.

Last year, it was hydroxychloroquine — a malaria medicine that some people called a game-changer against COVID-19 but never gained credence among the medical community as a worthwhile treatment.

The Food and Drug Administration says ivermectin is approved for human use for infections caused by some parasitic worms and head lice and skin conditions such as rosacea. Multiple clinical studies are underway abroad to test ivermectin against COVID-19, but the FDA says current data does not support its use against the coronavirus.

“There’s a lot of misinformation around, and you may have heard that it’s okay to take large doses of ivermectin. It is not okay,” the FDA’s website says. “Even the levels of ivermectin for approved human uses can interact with other medications, like blood-thinners. You can also overdose on ivermectin.”

Dr. Galiatsatos said one of his patients asked about ivermectin, so he pointed out the lack of randomized clinical trials that are considered the gold standard.

“At that moment, he understood and didn’t push forward,” he said.

Dr. Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, has praised monoclonal antibody treatments in recent months and said they are “underutilized.”

He also hailed Merck’s pursuit of a pill treatment as “tremendously important” before adding a caveat: Promising treatments shouldn’t replace vaccination, which can reduce the risk of infection and disrupt chains of transmission to the vulnerable.

Doctors say vaccines also tend to offer the best protection against the worst outcomes from COVID-19.

“The vaccines are 90%-plus in their ability to reduce hospitalizations and death,” Dr. Galiatsatos said. “Still the best.”

OPINION: Cancer won't wait for a gap in the diary. You must get tested

WPTV News - FL Palm Beaches and Treasure Coast 06 October, 2021 - 09:00pm

Doctors routinely bash men for ignoring health symptoms, swerving screening and medical appointments like the plague threatening their health.

In my experience, it’s women at the age most at risk of killer diseases who are the real ostriches.

Pushing their own self-care to the bottom of overwhelming to-do lists, and putting off breast, smear and bowel screening because they are “too busy”, is the mantra of too many 45-60-year-old women.

We all know to skip a call-up for a health check is stupid, are horrified when our friends admit to it, but still do it, muttering another couple of months won’t matter, when our diaries aren’t so hectic.

It does matter. We don’t have time not to.

Skipping a mammogram, cervical smear test or putting the bowel screening kit – it’s not nice, but that’s the point – can be the beginning of the end. A matter of life or death.

Cancer doesn’t pause for a gap in the diary.

Women find it difficult to accept, but It’s not selfish to put your own health first. Far from it,

Saying no to elderly parents who expect your attention after work, or telling your 18-year-old to get a bus home rather than expect mum’s 24/7 taxi because you have a medical appointment is not selfish, self-focused or self-centred. It’s critical and should be top of your list.

It emerged this week that nearly 12,000 women could be living with undiagnosed breast cancer after missing out on screening and test referrals as fall-out from the pandemic.

That’s 12,000 wives, partners, mothers, daughters, granddaughters, friends and employees. People we know and love.

The charity Breast Cancer Now estimates there has been a shocking 50% rise in UK women who have not had breast screening since services restarted last summer and believes almost 1.5 million fewer women had breast screening between March 2020 and May 2021 compared with pre-pandemic levels

Mammograms are a key tool in the early detection of breast cancer and vital to stopping women dying from the disease. Routine screening mammography gives patients the best chance to discover a small invasive cancer before it has spread to other parts of the body.

Skipping just one can greatly increase a person’s risk of death.

Studies have shown that 50 percent of women died from their breast cancer if they did not have routine screening mammograms than women who had routine screening mammograms.

Today, if you say one thing to your friends, partners, mothers, daughters, friends with women eligible for any health screening services to check that they’re up to date – and men too while you’re at it.

If they make excuses, play the bad cop. It’s the best act of friendship and love you can do for them. It could save their life.

We can all shove a letter to the bottom of the pile and delete a text, but the constant words in the ear from people you love on your case to get checked out leaves no room for excuses.

If you have missed a scheduled mammogram book one now.

The worst culprits are those women working full-time, with young adult children still demanding their time, at the same time looking after elderly parents because that’s what expected of them.

These women are stretched to breaking point, navigating their way through the menopause and all that brings.

A regular conversation I have with my friends is how sexist families still are, with parents and siblings expecting that daughters will keep an eye on elderly parents, whatever their own commitments and wherever they live.

The women feel it’s their duty so get on with it, often at a cost to their own wellbeing and health, their own medical appointments becoming ‘nice to have’ when they get time, but making sure their elderly parents make theirs.

It’s the other way round, surely? Women in the sandwich generation – looking after people of different generations – need to keep themselves in tip top health.

Martyrs tend not to survive, and being a martyr to looking after others and always putting them first is never the route to a long healthy life.

The bad news is that, for NHS England to meet its March 2022 target of addressing the shortfall in people starting cancer treatment, an extra 10,000 people would need to have started treatment for breast cancer between May 2021 and March 2022.

The Royal College of Radiologists says breast imaging and treatment services were “massively under-resourced even before the pandemic hit”.

It all adds up to one thing. Act today and book any missed screening. Quickly finding and treating those with undiagnosed breast – or any other - cancer must be a priority.

We don’t have time to wait.

The greatest performance by a non-politician who should seriously consider becoming one was former footballer Gary Neville on Good Morning Britain.

He stormed a discussion with former Tory minister Edwina Currie.

Articulate, calm and to the point, from a pavement live in Manchester outside the Conservative Party Conference, he destroyed Currie with his arguement for keeping the £20 a week uplift in Universal Credit, condemning the policy to withdraw it as “brutal.”

Passionate, measured and, crucially, in-touch despite his massive earned wealth, he ‘s exactly the type of person we need in Parliament to properly represent ordinary people

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