We are all fascists now, apparently. If you “just stayed home” and went along with the orders to quarantine your uninfected self, you are a submissive, banal little Eichmann. If you are one of the people who make this accusation, and you worry about the negative repercussions of the lockdown and think it might do more damage than the virus itself, then you’ll be told you’re a sadistic fascist who wants to let the old and vulnerable die—as if we haven’t all done that every day of our lives with other pandemics and other deadly trade-offs we accepted in order to travel and consume in our privileged first world lifestyles. In either case, you’ve betrayed all the lofty principles you once claimed. The screaming voices of a people in lockdown tell each other they are sellouts and hypocrites.
So here we are, divided and conquered. We have always been collectively guilty for nuclear fallout, air pollution and ecological sacrifice zones. Now we are guilty of murder for possibly spreading germs to person A, who might spread them to person B, who might die from the infection.
Lately this horrible social discourse has become something I avoid like… uh… what’s the right simile? … oh, yeah… the plague. I avoid it like the plague.
Instead, I’ve been focused on staying positive and finding some reasons to be courageous in the face of this viral threat and the social reaction to it. It is appalling to see the degree of panic and helplessness that has gripped society. People seem to think that if one virus particle lands on their tongue they are destined to fall ill and perhaps die. They have simply bought a ticket in a loser’s lottery and they now face the 100-to-1 odds of dying within the next three weeks. It’s fate, just a matter of rotten luck. It could take anyone anytime!
This view seems to come from an outdated notion of infectious disease that sees immunity as merely a question of avoiding pathogens completely or developing or not developing, through natural responses or vaccines, antibodies to a microbial enemy. Yet the science has progressed a lot since antibodies were seen as the only aspect of the body’s immune system. Medical science now knows that immunity is holistic, involving the effects of trauma and stress, nutrition, exposure to toxins (and the timing in life of those exposures), the availability of clean air, soil and water, physical activity, emotional state, and the status of the gut biome—the bacteria within our bodies that have the potential to decrease or increase our defenses against dangerous microbes. We are not helpless. But I’m not a doctor, so don’t take it from me. This view of the immune system is explained well in this video by Dr. V.A. Shiva: The Immune System: Your Body’s Operating System (52 minutes) (author of Your Body Your System, 2016). I cited Dr. Shiva here for his medical knowledge, not his political views.
For the sake of focusing on some displays of courage and rational thinking in the face of the viral threat, I have tried to stay focused in my day-to-day life on what I can do to boost immunity in the widest sense of the term, which means not only washing hands and wearing masks but also getting exercise, playing with my children, following a good diet, and avoiding stress and the dark thoughts that lead to miserable emotional states. One can also expand this concept of help to people whose immune systems need much more repair than those of people who have been living in comfort. We can work on making changes in the political economy that created this pandemic and panic-demic catastrophe.
My recent posts on this blog have been focused on a practical, inexpensive and readily available treatment for Covid-19 that has gained a lot of interest in France and elsewhere, but not so much in North America. This treatment involves a combination of anti-malarial medicine and a common antibiotic. The use of these drugs against viruses—which common wisdom says are unaffected by such drugs—leads back to the discussion of the immune system’s complexity.
If this treatment protocol turns out to be as effective as it seems to be, we could all be getting outdoors again—getting “back to normal” or getting on with the business of overturning the rotten system that created this crisis—a system that first destroyed public health and then destroyed the health care system that could have lessened the suffering.
The translation that follows is a blog post by a French academic who discussed the controversial new treatment and quoted two of the researchers involved in it.
Professor Raoult’s other heresy: “It is essential to treat patients with severe respiratory virus infection with antibiotics, especially if they have underlying diseases.”
source: personal blog of Patrice Gibertie 2020/04/08
Translated by Dennis Riches
Author’s Biography (from Amazon author’s page)
Patrice Gibertie was associate professor of history, chair professor of Geopolitics and Economic History, Université de Bordeaux III. He taught preparatory classes, and founded and directed the CPGE of Notre Dame du Grandchamp High School in Versailles. Author of Why are the Gauls Afraid that Islam will Fall on their Heads? The Impasse of Multicultural France.
Scrupulous observers do not understand why the state refuses any experimentation with the Raoult protocol and persists instead in the simple experimental use of hydroxychloroquine without azithromycin and only when the infection has advanced too far.
Behind this obstinacy there is certainly the motivation to make Dr. Raoult seem like a charlatan, but above all, it is a question of avoiding the greatest heresy promoted by Professor Raoult.
Thousands of French people have died and will die because of a simple truism of our age: “antibiotics should not be overused and given automatically.” This has been said often about the famous drug doliprane.
What does Dr. Raoult tell us? In general medicine, antibiotics can be more widely prescribed when viral respiratory infection is diagnosed:
Since 2002, everyone has known the slogan “Antibiotics should not be overprescribed and given automatically.” This has been put forward by Medicare in France to reduce the use of antibiotics in cases of viral infections. The argument seems irrefutable: the inappropriate prescription of antibiotics would increase the resistance of bacteria; viruses that cause certain respiratory infections (flu, RSV, rhinovirus) are not affected by antibiotics; it would therefore be unnecessary, and even dangerous, to prescribe antibiotics during infectious episodes caused by these viruses. The teams at IHU Méditerranée Infection wish to make society reconsider this concept.
First, it is not established that the prescription of antibiotics by general practitioners has any impact on resistance. The massive use of antibiotics in enclosed environments such as hospitals or animal farms exerts selective pressure that promotes the development of resistant strains. However, this selective pressure is not important enough in the context of general medical practice for resistant strains to actually develop. The field data we collect on a weekly basis attest to this (100,000 strains tested).
Second, viruses enable co-infections with bacteria that can be fatal. It has been shown that most victims of the Spanish flu were affected by bacterial infections as well. In the past two weeks, five people have died from streptococcal infections with influenza in this region, including a 13-year-old girl who died. The presence of a virus does not stand in the way of bacterial growth: on the contrary, viral infection enables it.
Epidemiological data from the 5th week of 2019 show that there was an emergency at AP-HM [Assistance Publique-Hôpitaux de Marseiile]. That week, we diagnosed 406 influenzas, 24 respiratory syncytial virus infections and 80 rhinoviruses. At the same time, we found in samples of patients in the Southern Region a significant number of bacteria associated with viral respiratory infections: streptococci, pneumococci and Haemophilus.
In conclusion, the diagnosis of a viral respiratory infection should not contra-indicate of the use of antibiotics, for the reason that a viral infection aggravates the development of bacterial infections.
Professor Raoult insists that some antibiotics also play an antiviral role:
Every simple understanding is wrong. Frankly, sometimes simplification becomes dangerous. This is the case with antibiotics. The fact that they can also act on viruses is ignored by many. They are unaware of their ignorance and thus think that others are more ignorant than they are. Almost all general practitioners therefore do not treat viral infections with antibiotics. That’s unreasonable.
In early December 2018, the IHU Méditerranée Infection published the analysis of 99,932 bacteria isolated from patients in Marseiile. These data showed that, despite scaremongering predictions, there has been no increase in antibiotic resistance for 15 years (Le Page et al., No global increase in resistance to antibiotics: a snapshot of resistance from 2001 to 2016 in Marseille, France).
Today, a new study conducted by the IHU with data from critical care units throughout France is a further blow to the most catastrophic theses.
Indeed, in recent years, analysts have conducted studies based on mathematical models and statistical projections. Lacking moderation, they attribute to antibiotic resistance thousands of deaths, up to 12,500 in France. These figures are widely picked up by the media and policy makers, without questioning their validity. A study published in 2018 by Cassini et el. in the renowned journal The Lancet Infectious Diseases attributed to these resistances 5,543 deaths per year in France.
However, these models, as complex as they seem to be, do not sufficiently deal with the reality on the ground. They use estimates and extrapolations that are questionable in their reliability. Indeed, microbiology is complex and no scientist can reduce it to mathematical projections. We have to rely on the actual data to make real estimates.
It is with this in mind that Didier Raoult (microbiologist), Marc Leone (resuscitator), Jean-Marc Rolain (pharmacist) and Yanis Roussel (doctoral student) sent a questionnaire to more than 350 intensive care unit practitioners. The results are formal: of the 250 responses obtained, almost 90% report less than one death every two years in their ward due to a therapeutic impasse related to antibiotic resistance (42% report none). These results mark a disconnect between the observed data and the modeled data. They were published in the “Correspondence” section of The Lancet Infectious Diseases on 2019/02/01.
From the beginning Raoult has refused to separate the antibiotic from his protocol.
Let’s start with this excellent explanation by Bernard Duguet, Doctor of Pharmacy:
The virus seems to have many codes. Could it interfere with bacteria? Before answering this question, we must mention a fact that has gone under the media radar. Bacteria have been found in patients with advanced or severe forms of Covid-19, and among these microbes is prevotella. (Refer to the recent paper by S. Chakraborty.)
We now have evidence of a disease, Covid-19 [the virus itself has another name, SARS-CoV-2], the conditions of which have a dual viral and bacterial origin, earlier than we think, well before stage 2 and then 3 and the long-known and observed bacterial complications. It is a kind of atypical duet played by two microbes.
There could therefore be two agents combining to infect patients with Covid-19. It seems that a probably unknown interaction causes viruses and bacteria, especially prevotella, to aggravate the disease. It is as if the bacterium had used the viral genome to modify itself, while the same viral genome uses the bacteria as a place to stay or even hide, which explains something about the viral load analysis. In other words, there could be an early symbiosis between bacteria and the SARS-CoV-2 virus that makes them complement each other to infect and attack the patient. It is quite a new discovery, but that is how science moves forward.
Last question. Does azithromycin act against the bacterium prevotella? The answer is yes. This would explain the effect of azithromycin in Didier Raoult’s results on the decrease in viral load. Furthermore, this antibiotic has fallen into the public domain, so laboratories around the world are producing it and marketing it generically.
So now we can understand why general practitioners are using this antibiotic from the beginning of treatment for their patients who are at risk.
TRANSLATOR’S NOTE: The author used italics to apparently quote Dr. Raoult, but quotation marks and italics were not used consistently to clearly indicate which parts were quotations and which parts were written by the author. In the translation I tried to indicate quotations in indented block text in the way that seemed most likely to be correct.