Covid-19: Why treatment with chloroquine is being sabotaged, Les Blogs de Mediapart, 2020/04/10. Author: Basicblog
Translator: Dennis Riches
Covid-19—Pourquoi ils sabotent le traitement à la chloroquine, Les Blogs de Mediapart, 2020/04/10. Auteur : Basicblog
The European Discovery Protocol has excluded azithromycin from its tests of chloroquine, rejecting the two-drug treatment plan recommended by Dr. Raoult. The French government has also limited Dr. Raoult’s treatment to serious cases, which also goes against Dr. Raoult’s recommendations. Is it a matter of influence from the pharmaceutical lobbies? That explanation would be too simple.
As time passes, many patients are passing away. Information is accumulating, however, which tends to prove the effectiveness of the treatment combining hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin.
The research center called “Institut Hospitalo-Universitaire (IHU) Méditerranée Infection” in Marseille treated 1,000 patients who had tested positive for Covid-19. In addition, doctors in China treated 134 patients with chloroquine and azithromycin. In Senegal 96 were treated, and infectious disease specialist Stephen Smith in New Jersey treated 72 patients. This American doctor, a recognized practitioner in his country, has just applied, to the letter, the treatment method of the “French doctor.” Impressed by the effects observed after a few days, he maintains that “it’s a real change of course” and concludes solemnly: “I think it’s the beginning of the end of the pandemic… I’m very serious.”
To believe Stephen Smith is to trust the long practice of a man who has treated people with various grave conditions for 20 years. He noted or sensed that his coronavirus patients were recovering in an unusual way. His word alone is certainly not enough.
Professor Éric Chabrière in Marseille announced that out of 701 people infected and treated, they report only one death of an 86- year-old patient. It will be essential to see how long they were treated. The report will be out soon. The most supported data is based on Dr. Raoult’s report on 80 patients. The most significant parameter is the decrease in viral load, assessed by the “RCPQ” tests made from nasal secretions. Doctors found “83% had negative results” after 7 days of treatment, and 93% after 8 days. “The number of suspected contagious patients” is zero from the twelfth day.
The 80 patients, with an average age of 52, were managed at various stages of infection, with no specific selection, and more than half have at least one chronic aggravating condition. Critics object that patient improvement could have been natural, independent of treatment. However, there is a Chinese survey that estimated the median time needed [without drugs] to be clear of viral load is 20 days. They knew that those whose health was deteriorating remained infected during this long period. The near-total disappearance of the infection after 8 days, and total disappearance after 12 days, with a high number of patients (80), is therefore most likely due to the chloroquine and azithromycin treatment.
Two of my friends in their fifties were infected with Covid-19. One took more than three weeks to recover, with 40 degrees of fever until the end, without any special treatment. The other was hospitalized with affected lungs, treated with antibiotics with light oxygen (without resuscitation [intubation?]). She left the hospital very tired, after 30 days of acute symptoms. Such patient profiles are in line with the Chinese study.
The other aspect that experts who do not treat patients (non-practicing physicians, researchers or bureaucrats) never mention is the human evaluation of caregivers, informed by their experience. This is difficult to express, and is absent from written reports, and yet it is essential. Like Professor Stephen Smith, they feel through their observation of the people they care for that an unexpected recovery occurred. Journalists could have systematically gathered the testimonies of those being treated, whose knowledge is too often denied by medicine itself, or they could have asked caregivers about these sensitive aspects which are no less important than the raw statistics.
But the most egregious factor, which suffers no methodological bias, and which is confirmed day by day in chloroquine studies in Asia, America, Europe and Africa is this: no side effects have been reported that put patients’ lives at risk. The qualifying point made by Dr. Chabrière, Dr. Raoult’s colleague, is that of the 701 people being treated, none have experienced any related complications due to the side effects of chloroquine. This is not surprising because chloroquine is one of the best known and longest-used drugs in the world, so it is easy to know how to exclude people at risk (long QT heart disease, or retinal pathologies, for example).
The balance sheet
So we have a treatment that has, with high probability, a major impact in three ways:
- A rapid decrease in the rate of contagion because of decreased viral load.
- A quick recovery.
- The drop in the mortality rate, especially when treatment is administered before pulmonary complications, including for vulnerable people.
The Health Commission of Guangdong Province, populated by 104 million Chinese, officially advocates the use of “chloroquine phosphate.” Unfortunately, the precise studies have not been translated. It seems that no effort is being made by the French authorities to obtain these reports, translate them, or interview the practitioners who conducted the tests. Senegalese and American studies have not been disseminated and analyzed by the media, nor by the government or its expert committees, which obscure them.
The French government had two choices for solutions to consolidate the results initiated by Dr. Raoult:
- Apply his method in several hospitals in order to quickly collect statistical data to allow doctors to make better informed choices.
- Launch a heavy, procedural and slow study according to the strict standards applied in times when there is no emergency.
The government chose the second solution, relying on the European Discovery project, which is already lagging behind schedule due to a lack of volunteers. Meanwhile elderly people are dying en masse in seniors’ residences (with a new decree allowing use of Rivotril, considered by some doctors as a way to open the door to euthanasia). They are also dying in hospitals (when they have been admitted), with or without a respirator, with a significant proportion of professionals sent to battle on the medical frontlines without adequate protections.
The government has signed another decree that limits the prescription of chloroquine to hospitals, and only for serious cases, which contradicts the recommendations of practitioners like Dr. Raoult. The icing on the cake is that it clearly does nothing to address the shortage of the drug in private and public pharmacies. As for the sudden disappearance of the chloroquine stock in the Central Pharmacy, supervised by the director of the AP-HP (Assistance Publique-Hôpitaux de Paris), Martin Hirsch, no investigation has been launched to clarify this situation.
Finally, the government is applying all the brakes on the start of mass screening, the only way to cure patients as soon as possible, to relieve hospital congestion, reduce mortality rates, and slow the rate of contamination. This is all the more true because Covid-19 has a high incubation period, and there are patients without symptoms who nevertheless develop pneumonia and get treatment too late. Moreover, people are hesitant to call for help because they know, or believe, the emergency services are overloaded, so they often end up being treated for an advanced case of pneumonia. However, there are antibiotics to fight pneumonia. Last year, the IHU in Marseille insisted: “It is therefore essential to treat patients with a severe respiratory virus with antibiotics.” [Because they develop bacterial infections as well.] The lack of reachable general practitioners does not help. In Paris, for example, the Stalingrad Medical Center is closed. Hospitals are therefore also filling up because of late diagnoses, lack of screening… Nothing is done to accompany people confined at home. We no longer talk about clinics. Are patients referred to well-prepared clinics, if they are necessary? We don’t know. They were almost empty a fortnight ago.
One proof of the government’s unjustifiable procrastination is the withholding of approval for a massive production of tests proposed by the 75 departmental laboratories dedicated to animal hygiene and health. They stood ready to produce 150,000 to 300,000 PCR Covid-19 tests per week, consistent with human standards. They contacted authorities on March 15th., but 25 days later they still have not received permission!!!
As for veterinarians who have been proposing to carry out the screening since March 30th, the authorization decree was only issued on April 6th, with drastic supervision constraints that raise fears of implementation delays. If the tests are not manufactured, ”authorized” testing can always wait.
This is the fate announced for chloroquine. When city doctors can prescribe it, the dispensaries may remain empty, as no supply measures are announced as a precautionary measure. As for the supply of masks and protective clothing, the situation is always opaque. As for the “airlift” (what a nice term), is it enough to provide only hospitals with masks, clothes, and shoe coverings? Who knows? Why does the state allow the city of Nice to require the public to wear masks, at the risk of creating a shortage for health care workers elsewhere? What is going on with local production of protective items? No one knows.
The safest way to the precipice
Prime Minister Édouard Philippe “hesitates.” What is the screening strategy: massive, medium massive, partial, partial-minor? What about a strategy for ending confinement?
But one can dream. One model worked perfectly, that of South Korea. They had few deaths, massive screening, rapid patient care, quarantine rather than confinement, with associated care. Germany has observed, and is applying, massive screenings without containment. It would be enough for the French to organize themselves to quickly apply the Korean example and stop the confinement that not only does not spare lives but sets the stage for a deadly economic catastrophe.
Laboratories, citizens, care-givers and French companies are mobilizing to get the country out of the quagmire created by government carelessness, and what are officials doing? They’re jamming sticks in their wheel spokes. The indecision, decisions and lies of the state, stated with great conviction, are leading the country and its inhabitants straight into the wall.
This stage of incompetence had been achieved already. It is now a question of understanding what drives them to throw us over the precipice.
Who benefits from the crime?
Not the inhabitants of France or any other countries, of course. And this is not new. Anyone who perceives in government actions any notion of general interest, of policy rooted in the people of a given territory, or any relevant use of a nation’s intellectual resources, is asked urgently to contact us. Consider the closure of 5,000 additional hospital beds, as if the previous 95,000 were not enough, the supplementary “boot camp” courses in schools, the anti-industrial strategy, the sale of Alstom-Energy to the United States, the scandal of the shipyards involving judge Alexis Kohler’s conflict of interest, the privatization of Paris Airports, the reform of pensions to sell them off to venture funds. In short, it is not from a French point of view, but from a global point of view that we must deal with this issue.
Let’s start with the easiest matter, chloroquine. Professor Raoult’s treatment includes 600 mg of hydroxy-chloroquine per day for 10 days, combined with 1x500mg and then 4x250mg of azithromycin for five days. The total estimated cost of the treatment is 10.80 euros. The alternative treatment, with a notorious reputation for being ineffective, is Lopinavir/Ritonavir, which costs 433.00 euros. Which is of the greatest interest to the pharmaceutical industry? But the real issue is the vaccines that are being conjured up in laboratories now. If it is shown that a cheap treatment like chloroquine turns the Covid-19 epidemic into a benign disease, how will they impose a general vaccination on us? Not so easily, one presumes, but let’s not underestimate the strength of the convictions of those who dominate the discussion. With the induced expenses, and the adverse effects of vaccines, the future of Social Security looks gloomy, as it does in the present.
The Pasteur Institute, a private research institution, is not the most objective judge in the matter. Olivier Schwartz, director of the Virus and Immunity Unit at the Institute, describes the study of a vaccine that “involves directly injecting synthetic RNA into humans, which will allow the body to directly produce one of the coronavirus proteins.” Of course, he has his opinion on possible treatments: “There is still no specific drug or treatment for SARS-Cov-2, the virus responsible for Covid-19,” he told La Croix on March 23rd. His criteria are undoubtedly “very scientific.”
Arnaud Fontanet is one of two (out of 12) representatives of the Pasteur Institute who are on the CARE expert committee as directors of the Emerging Diseases Epidemiology Unit. He said on February 26th about chloroquine, “The amount of information presented by this study is extremely low.” It must be noted that he was not interested in qualitative information. Bruno Hoen, Director of Medical Research at the Pasteur Institute, reserves his criticism to direct it at the journal BioScience Trends where the Chinese presented their conclusions on the chloroquine treatment given to 100 people. According to him, it is “less a scientific study than a press release, a statement of results. If there is more detailed data, I have not seen it.” Another, Christophe D’Enfert, scientific director of the Pasteur Institute said, “There is no study that shows anything about in vivo efficacy.”
This harmonious concert of indifference proves the cohesion of the great institute. It’s almost a thing of beauty. Most importantly, these luminaries of biological research lack curiosity. All they would need to do is make a phone call to the Ministry of Health, which would contact the French Embassy in China, which would find them a bilingual Chinese doctor to find out “if there is detailed data” or, better yet, if he or she could share observations and impressions. That would be too human, but apparently the raw data is worth so much more. Remember the tremendous enthusiasm for the advent of Artificial Intelligence. Mountains of ones and zeros promised to replace humans for the noblest tasks done now by radiologists and oncologists. It was a nice dream. So what if there is a treatment with old medications that gives hope to the little people, hope that loved ones can be saved? That’s too bad. It’s not worth consideration for our haughty and disdainful great experts.
The Pasteur Institute is very motivated to collect donations, via the funds of the Fondation de France (also private), in partnership with the Assistance Publique-Hôpitaux de Paris (I thought that a public service received donations called taxes?), as can be seen on the e-commerce site in the image below.
How much of the 16 million euros already raised will be returned [if the vaccine is not needed]? Would the money be used to develop an unnecessary vaccine if the chloroquine treatment eliminated the need for it? You’ll find out
Is there a link between the good relations of the AP-HP with the Pasteur Institute and the statement of Martin Hirsch, director of the AP-HP, who on March 1st said, “All … the specialists I saw yesterday say that every time there is a new virus there’s a guy who tells them that chloroquine will work against it. It turns out that chloroquine works very well in a test tube and it has never worked in a living being.” Regardless of whether he is well-informed, this statement is contradicted by the fact that on March 17th the Chinese announced encouraging results from in vivo tests on 100 specimens of a threatened animal species called homo sapiens.
Almost as prestigious as the Pasteur Institute, INSERM [Institut National de la Santé et de la Recherche Médicale] is the leading public institution for medical research. It coordinates the European batterie of tests called Discovery, which ended up including a fifth chloroquine antivirus cocktail. One small problem: they forgot to include azythromicin in the treatment. They’re not going to be blamed for not being able to read. They calculate too well [to make sure the treatment will fail to show results].
In vivo experimentation
The opportunism of a few institutions cannot explain this terrible farce. The prospect of selling vaccines or molecules is not enough. An army of approved economists and ecologists, as sincere as Daniel Cohn Bendit, is already scrambling behind the scenes to take over from biologists and other epidemiologists. The dilemma is historical, ethical, ideological, organizational, industrial, panopticon-like, civilizational.
Half of humanity confined within four walls offers a magnificent field of experimentation for the dominant class. It would be a shame to put an end to it too quickly. The degree of voluntary servitude of a frightened population must be assessed, quantified, pushed to its maximum. To what extent will they hold out psychologically, in what contexts, in which neighborhoods? Will people accept the digital tracing of their movements and acquaintances for the sake of fighting Covid-19? Will they believe in its usefulness, in the promise to keep data anonymous ad vitam aeternam? How can a recalcitrant population be forced to get vaccinated? The experimental playground is very exciting.
More than thirty years ago the philosopher Gilles Deleuze and his psychiatrist friend Felix Guattari saw the specter of “deterritorialization” emerging. This is probably the concept that best explains the current situation. Leaders are disconnected from the inhabitants and the specifics of the territories they administer. It is the same with the CEOs of multinationals who weave their ties with shareholders at the expense of any concern for what they produce, for what and with whom.
The “social distancing” proposed to us is the acceleration of a long-standing process of distancing. It is a distancing synonymous with disempowerment. Contrary to appearances, they are very strong at sowing confusion in people’s minds. In order not to endanger others, I apply spatial distance. If I talk to him, I’ll stand a little further away than usual. It’s spatial. “Social distance” incites indifference. I can let the other die on his or her own while respecting the principle of distancing. This is the ultimate stage of the irresponsible atomized individual, presented under the guise of altruism.
This is consistent with the confinement that is actually in place. Collective action froze with the trauma of the brutally imposed confinement. The stairwells are no longer cleaned. The virus thrives on elevator buttons and in the air, in the crowded trains and elsewhere, while everyone, when he or she can, respects to the letter the law of “social distance,” which has been imposed by no incentive, no provision of equipment, no facilitation of the authorities to organize collectively. We know of nurses who offer their help, voluntarily or not. One of them has remained at home unresponsive for several weeks.
Social engineering is underway. Algorithms are running continuously. Behaviorists powered by Orange [a telecom provider] analyze movement between Paris and Bretagne, interactions, correlations. It is as if an ant colony is being scrutinized through a magnifying glass.
The crisis in the crisis is a blessing for some. The economic crisis was slow in coming. The automatic generator of crises was running full tilt, all oiled up after the unlearned lessons of the 2008 crisis. Blaming the crisis on an anonymous virus allows for the cleansing of what decision-makers want to dispose of. It is a wonderful opportunity to change everything on the margins of the system but not what should be changed in the system: the decision-making process, therefore management, in particular.
No grey skies without lightning
Yes OK, that line above is dark, menacing and black, but it doesn’t rhyme, no more than Covid-19 rhymes with the magnitude of the chaos caused.
As implemented in France, confinement is limited to “contamination.” The very affected populations of the Grand-Est, Hauts de France and Ile-de-France are probably close to the threshold of group immunity, the old threshold of good old flus that heralds the end of winter. High spring temperatures will kill the virus in the air faster. Korea, Sweden and Germany show that Covid-19 is a severe flu transformed into a cataclysm by the forced transformations carried out against society, and aggravated locally by strange creatures.
In a sensible world, a handful of savvy citizens, guided by ancestral common sense, would be able to bring the country out of confinement in a matter of days, without breakdown. The resources allocated to the Ministries of Health and Industry and the associated Ministry of Import/Export Solidarity would be sufficient to provide, in a maximum of one or two weeks, the necessary equipment.
Veterinary and medical laboratories could be pressed into the manufacture of test kits and provision of decentralized mass screening procedures. There could be requisition of buildings if necessary.
There could be rational management of the territory’s pharmaceutical plants to produce medicines according to emergency needs.
There could be precise assessment of the production and import capacity of all necessary equipment. We could have open source publication of all management elements used by departments. If the margin of safety were not sufficient, and the levers of the Ministry of Industry were activated, citizen initiatives could be called upon. A hybrid process of central and local decisions could be put in place. The state could take the role of facilitator as much as possible.
All radio and television stations, local and national, could regularly communicate, for the duration deemed sufficient, important information on the essential points:
- Local means to be diagnosed, treated, screened (city clinics, coordination of general practitioners with hospitals).
- Distribution of equipment and coordination of citizens to assist people in difficulty, organize their quarantine and their food, offer temporary safe housing if hygiene conditions are not sustainable.
- Daily update on shortages/risks of shortages of each useful product and service, medicines, protections.
President Macron’s visit to Dr. Raoult in Marseille means at best the loss of four more days. His speech was rescheduled for the following Monday evening. To announce which decisions? There is nothing to discuss. Produce and provide masks and gowns (where are we in this process?). Start bulk screening (immediately remove administrative barriers—for example the 75 health laboratories that are standing by ready to act!!??). Treat people as soon as possible by any means deemed good by doctors. Provide them with the raw materials and adequate citizen and state assistance. Apply the necessary transparency to ensure that the actions of potential contributors, individuals, businesses, and collectives are facilitated.
Treat the problem and cut the palaver.