Hookahs and Infection Risk, Prognosis and Medical Care

Interview: Professor Didier Raoult, Marseille, France, March 2, 2021

Original source: Chicha et risque d’infection. Pronostic et soin.

Go to this link for the subsequent interview covering treatment results obtained by IHU Méditerranée


I keep coming back to Professor Didier Raoult for his weekly insights into the pandemic and the social reaction to it because he is one of the most accomplished and respected specialists in virology and infectious diseases—at least he was regarded as such prior to 2020. After the official pandemic reaction was launched, he was suddenly a pariah for espousing views that contradicted the official reaction being endorsed in mass media. His adversaries tried to prove that his treatment protocol (hydroxychloroquine, azithromycin, zinc and vitamin D) was ineffective, but their research deliberately ignored the prescribed timing, doses and ingredients of the protocol, as if they were designing their research to produce a desired result. The “definite proof” that it did not work was published in The Lancet in the summer of 2020, but it had to be retracted shortly thereafter when glaring flaws in the methodology were pointed out.

Before I post the partial translated transcript of his recent interview given on March 2, 2021, I will summarize some of Dr. Raoult’s statements about the pandemic, some of them from this transcript and some from other recent interviews:

1. Confinement and various other behavioral changes had no proven effect on the spread of the virus. Many places that took limited measures did just as well as those that took strict measures. The infection curve peaked during confinement. In fact, confinement may have worsened the spread because family members spread the infection to each other while they were closed up in their homes.

2. People have died because they didn’t get proper care at an early stage of infection. There are effective drugs, nutrients and treatments, but patients have to start these before serious symptoms develop.

3. The financial interests promoting the new drug Remdesivir worked hard to sabotage Didier Raoult’s treatment protocol (see above). In his address to the French Senate, he alleged that the campaign against him was a stock market play to drive up the stock of the maker of Remdesivir. Later on, the drug was proven to be ineffective. The trials of it involved the unethical treatment of a placebo group that was given a dangerous perfusion treatment containing the placebo. In those who received the drug, it may have prolonged the time during which the virus was in the body, and it may have promoted the evolution of variant strains.

4. A big factor in the high rates of hospitalization and death is chronic disease, especially diabetes and obesity. We have to start addressing these problems as seriously as we reacted to this respiratory disease.

5. The vaccines are a welcome development, but they are just one tool among many. There is no single magic wand that is going to make the problem disappear. The mRNA vaccines seem to work, and they might be the right choice for some people, but they have been developed very quickly. The long-term effects are unknown. Because the vaccine provokes the body to produce a way to shut down the spike protein on the Sars-cov-2 virus, virus strains that evolve a different way to get into cells might become dominant. The mRNA vaccines may prove to have limited power because of this limited targeting in their design. The virus may evolve around it. The Chinese vaccine, made in the traditional way that conforms to the definition of “vaccine,” seems to be the better option.

6. As a society, we have lost the ability to stay calm and deal with the challenges of a disease of this nature. Societies in East Asia fared much better, and their ability to stay calm was probably a factor in their low rates of serious infection. Panic and prolonged stress have a terrible effect on the immune system.

7. Demographics explain the high death rates in many countries where the elderly account for a large percentage of the population. Mortality is high among people 65 or older, and low among people below that age. The “failure” now is ironically due to the success of preventing people from dying of other causes before they reached old age.

8. It’s time to come back down to earth and get back to normal living. Lockdowns are going to drive everyone mad. Treat patients and let everyone else live their lives.

9. This year will be remembered by historians as one of the worst scandals ever.

In this recent interview, when speaking of effective treatments, Dr. Raoult mentioned Ivermectin but did not mention hydroxychloroquine, perhaps because he no longer wishes to be dragged into the controversy over it, but his treatment protocol is still being used at IHU Marseille, with good results.

In the latter part of the interview, not transcribed or translated below, Dr. Raoult put forward a theory that the spread of the corona virus among young people in the summer of 2020 may have occurred because they often smoke hashish together with a shared hookah. He was suggesting a reversal of the line from the old song by The Fraternity of Man: “Don’t bogart that joint, my friend.” Now you must bogart it and roll me a separate one. This amusing but possibly important theory was the one thing in the interview that the French media picked up. The more important issues raised were overlooked. But who cares? The video has been seen almost 500,000 times on YouTube. People don’t need the old media channels to stay informed.

The summary of Dr. Raoult’s views in points 1-8 can be verified by listening to recent interviews posted on the IHU Méditerranée Infection YouTube channel (all interviews in French). See also this lecture, in English, at IHU Méditerranée given by John P. A. Ioannidis, MD, DSc Professor of Medicine, Epidemiology and Population Health, Biomedical Data Science and Statistics, Stanford University.

PARTIAL TRANSCRIPT: Hookahs and Infection Risk, Prognosis and Medical Care

Professor Didier Raoult, what have we learned [about Sars-Cov-2] regarding mortality and life expectancy, based on what has happened in different countries?

We can confirm something that is very striking that will require a very thorough reflection. For now we know this: the two worst countries in the world have been the United States and Britain. It’s extraordinary because they were the opinion leaders every time our services [in France] asked a question. It’s the United States that our government turned to, or to the British, in order to do like them, and they are the worst of all. They have lost 1.3 to 1.4 years of life expectancy… They had been equal with Cuba for a long time, and now they have gone behind Cuba, probably behind Kerala, probably equal now to life expectancy of three North African countries: Algeria, Tunisia, Morocco. So people are going to have to think about the myths they’ve maintained about America for the last twenty years. It’s not like that anymore. That’s not how you take care of people. Same in Britain. We know that there has been at least a year of life expectancy lost…

And there were a lot of deaths among people aged 45 to 64 in Britain. That has not been seen in France. They’ve mishandled people. They have given poor care, and it shows in the statistics because at the beginning of the disease, both in the United States and in Britain, and sometimes in France, the obsession was not to treat people but to test various therapies. In Britain, we see the inpatient mortality [of seriously ill patients] figures that went from 58% to now 23%, which is pretty much normal. It was the same with us at the beginning, in some cities which I won’t name. There was an absolutely amazing mortality, the same as in New York, the first big city hit. Hospital mortality has been reduced two-fold now, and there is an investigator who explained this in a scientific journal… At first we were obsessed with getting patients into therapeutic protocol trials, and then we abandoned that idea. We started to just treat people, and so none of these big therapeutic tests—none—came to anything. None. These included thousands of patients.

We were able to see the degradation of medicine in the United States and Britain by seeing in protocols in some publications in which even diagnostic tests had not been done. We see in the study conducted by the British in Recovery project the inclusion of patients who had tested negative. They didn’t even have the illness being studied, but they were included. The results were published. It’s unheard of. In Britain, following the Solidarity research, they prescribed toxic doses of hydroxychloroquine, which any medical manual reports as toxic and dangerous—2.4 grams a day! No one does that. So there has been a degradation of medicine which is now obvious. That is to say that the countries in which care has taken second place behind virtual medicine are doing stupid things that are seen after a year. So we have to come back to basics…

You have to start by looking after patients, but the problem is still going on. We still have a lot of people who said they were told to stay at home despite the fact that they had oxygen saturations of 90 or 91%. Without treatment they were told to take doliprane and wait for it to pass. And then after ten days, when they were completely wiped out, they came to hospital. This weekend we hospitalized three such people. They had oxygen saturation of 90% [below 95% is considered unsafe], several days of fever, and no treatment! They were told to stay home, to not move. So this is what medicine has to come back to. This is absolutely essential, and the countries that have abandoned medicine the most are the countries in which we see the greatest mortality, including in therapeutic trials. I’m sorry to say that Chinese morality is more in line with my thinking than British morality.

In the trials of Remdesivir they did unnecessary perfusions*, with nothing in them, to see if it was better than the Remdesivir. The Chinese said “No, we didn’t do that because doing an unnecessary perfusion doesn’t conform to our morals.” It’s dangerous. So we have to get back to doing medicine. Therapeutic trials are good when you’re at a therapeutic impasse, but before you’re at a therapeutic impasse in this disease, there’s a lot you can do. We need to oxygenate. We have to give anticoagulants. We have to follow up on our patients, and then we have to open the doors to drugs that are innocuous and that show some effectiveness. In France, there are people who have shown that antidepressants are effective. You have to start with ivermectin, which is the most innocuous treatment in the world. There are at least four studies that have shown that it is effective on severe cases. We have to try it. These are things that are innocuous, and of course they don’t make money for anyone. No one is going to pay for testing, but it’s an available drug that can be used. So we have to stop blocking the use of drugs that have been used for decades without the slightest problem. We have to be able to use them in this pathology when there is evidence that these drugs work. I think we need to get back to medicine. We have to stop thinking we’re going to have a magic wand that cures the disease as it is now. I think we are at a real turning point. Now we can see that those who have done the most harm in all of this are the ones who did the most preaching to others. We will have to change our mindset because we will have to go back to taking care of people—caring for people rather than imagining that we are going to try new things and invent new things to save people.

* perfusion:

1. the act of pouring through or over; especially the passage of a fluid through the vessels of a specific organ.

2. a liquid poured through or over an organ or tissue.