Home > Critical Thinking, Current Affairs, Dystopia, Musings, Philosophy sans Sophistry, Reason, Secular Religions, Skepticism > Controversy over Hydroxychloroquine Exposes Emptiness of LIEbralism

Controversy over Hydroxychloroquine Exposes Emptiness of LIEbralism

Let me begin by saying that I would have preferred to write about the actual science behind the potential usefulness of Hydroxychloroquine (and other 4-aminoquinolines such as Chloroquine, Amodiaquine etc) for treating COVID-19 infections. In fact, I might still do that in the near future. But the debate around their use, has for reasons we shall soon explore, now entered the realm of ideology aka secular religious beliefs. While we can certainly argue over who is to blame more for the politicization of what should have been a scientific debate, one thing is very clear- the debate around use of Hydroxychloroquine to treat COVID-19 has exposed the incredible vacuousness of LIEbralism, specifically its american variant.

I won’t bore you with the history of how anti-malarial drugs were developed almost 70-80 years ago in this post, other than saying that it is a very interesting story- provided you are interested in how drug development actually worked during the golden age of drug discovery. The only relevant part of that story for the purpose of this post concerns their subsequent re-purposing for treating auto-immune diseases. To make another long and interesting story short, by the 1970s, it became obvious through a bunch of serendipitous observations that these drugs could be used to treat autoimmune diseases such as Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE) and Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA). Nowadays in western countries these drugs, specifically Hydroxychloroquine, are almost exclusively used for the treatment of autoimmune diseases.

The anti-viral effects of these drugs were accidentally discovered sometime in the 1970s during experiments aimed at determining the mechanisms of viral entry into cells. Some of the first published reports about their anti-viral activity can be found as far back as 1980. Without going into further detail in this post, the ability of CQ and HCQ to block infection and spread of infection of a number of viruses from diverse families at concentrations achievable in body tissues with normal therapeutic doses is established science- not a matter of controversy. Some of you might ask.. why haven’t these drugs been used for treatment of viral diseases till now. Well.. there are two main reasons.

Firstly, by 1980, we had already developed very effective vaccines for every major acute viral disease affecting humans. So.. we already had vaccines for everything from rabies and yellow fever to measles and mumps by the time this particular effect of CQ and HCQ was discovered. Effective vaccines are just way cheaper and far more effective at controlling infectious diseases whenever they are available. Secondly, while these drugs do have some effect against chronic viral diseases such as HIV and Hepatitis C, we quickly found far more effective and specific drugs to treat those illnesses. In other words, we never needed drugs such as CQ and HCQ to treat acute viral infections on any large scale until now.

As far as coronaviruses are concerned, we have known that both drugs inhibit the SARS virus in cell cultures at very reasonable concentrations since 2004 and 2005. In fact, the first instance of a paper describing this effect for a species of bovine (cattle) coronavirus can be found as early as 1990. We also have data showing the efficacy of CQ for treating certain coronavirus infections in animal models as early as 2009. So the idea that CQ and HCQ can treat coronaviral infections, especially if given early on in the course of illness, is perfectly sound and based in experimental data. The real question, then, is whether they work in humans suffering from coronaviral diseases. And this brings us to the issue of when such drugs should be started..

The thing with acute viral infections is that, unlike most bacterial or fungal infections, peak viral replication occurs before the peak clinical symptoms. This has a lot to do with the ability of one virus (infecting a cell) to generate several hundred daughter viruses in contrast to one bacteria multiplying into two every thirty or so minutes. Long story short, drugs for treating acute viral infections work best (or at all) only if given early on in the course of illness. That is why drugs like Oseltamivir (Tamiflu) and Valaciclovir (Valtrex) have to be started within 48 hours of first definitive symptoms, of Flu and Herpes Simplex (or Zoster) respectively, for maximal efficacy.

As far as COVID-19 is concerned, there are two phases of the illness: predominantly viral (first 4-5 days) and predominantly inflammatory (6-7 days onward). Note that serious respiratory issues occur in the inflammatory phase, not the earlier viral phase. For any anti-viral drug for this illness would have to be administered within first 4-5 days of symptoms to have any worthwhile effect. That is why even a direct anti-viral such as Remdesivir which works pretty well in many animal models of various coronaviruses has such poor efficacy in hospitalized patients on ventilators. If the patient has reached the stage where peak viral replication has already occurred, you are far better off giving supportive care than any anti-viral drug.

Based on my knowledge of medical microbiology and pharmacology, here is what I think about the potential efficacy of HCQ in treatment of COVID-19. The drug will very likely reduce the extent of viral multiplication and size of peak if given within first 3-4 days of symptoms. Such a substantial reduction in viral load will likely result in a far more benign course for the illness. Furthermore the strong immunomodulatory effects of HCQ will also reduce the amounts of various pro-inflammatory cytokines released by the body in response to the virus. Long story short, HCQ if given within first 3-4 days of symptoms (fever, malaise, cough etc) will very likely result in a substantial reduction in number of people who go onto become ill enough to require hospitalization and mechanical ventilation.

My point is that HCQ is not a wonder drug, but used early enough in the infection it should reduce the risk of clinical deterioration often seen in later phase of disease process. So.. it is not going to miraculously prevent infection or milder forms of the disease- just stop people from getting ill enough to require hospitalization and intubation. In that respect, it is very similar to Oseltamivir and other neuraminidase inhibitors used to treat Influenza. And guess what.. more than a few preprints of publications from China say the exact same thing. According to them and emerging reports from Italian doctors, using it to treat patients within first few days of illness or when they have just arrived in hospital with mild respiratory failure reduces the risk of hospitalization and intubation respectively by about 3-4 times compared to historical controls. Also, people on that drug who are not in serious respiratory failure seem to recover faster than otherwise.

While a reduction of 3-4 fold reduction in rates of hospitalization and intubation is not in the same class as using antibiotics to treat bacterial pneumonia, it is definitely better than nothing. More importantly, and relevant to rest of this post, the drug has little to no efficacy in people who are already far into the second phase of illness. So giving it to people with severe respiratory failure and those on ventilators is close to useless. This is why I find the corporate media obsession with “studies” by LIEbral american doctors in certain states who purposely bias their test population with patients who are very ill and in second phase of illness to be both sad and darkly comic. Who are these dumbfucks trying to convince? Then again, LIEbrals have never been known for their intelligence, otherwise the orange man would have never won the presidency in 2016- but he did.

But why are these pathetic attempts to pretend that HCQ has no efficacy so incredibly stupid and likely to backfire very badly? Well.. because the world is bigger than coastal states.

As we speak, doctors from Turkey and Russia to India and Italy are prescribing HCQ quite freely to patients within first few days of illness. From the look of things thus far, it seems that the strategy of prescribing that drug to anybody with even mild or suspected COVID-19 is certainly reducing the rate of hospitalization and death. While Italy started a bit later than others down that path, their death rate is now going down much faster than countries such as UK and USA at an equivalent stage of the pandemic. You can bet that these results will be written up and published in medical journals within next few months. Even in this country, some states are using HCQ far more freely to treat even milder cases or those in first stage of illness. These results too will be written up and published soon. And guess what will happen next..

As I have said in many previous posts, LIEbrals are too stupid to pick the right fight- in addition to be quite incompetent, despite their “credentials”. The fight these dumbfucks chose this time was always a losing proposition. Let me explain. See.. there are only two possible outcomes to the HCQ controversy: 1] It works to a limited extent and reduces need for hospitalization and intubation or 2] It has zero therapeutic effect. Notice that I said nothing about adverse effects.. here is why.. HCQ, when taken in normal therapeutic doses, is a remarkably safe drug in real life. This is especially so if you are taking it for less than two weeks. The smart thing to do was ignore the HCQ controversy and insist on the drug being tried under a variety of circumstances.

That way, you can win regardless of outcome. If it turns out be effective, that is great news. If it fails, you can claim to have tried all possible options- and let other people blame Trump. But the LIEbral mind is too petty and stupid to gasp such solid reasoning. Instead these fucking dimwits converted the HCQ controversy into political football, a game they will lose either way. Confused? Let me explain, again. See.. if it turns out that HCQ reduces hospitalization and intubation, LIEbrals look like petty murderers. But even if turns out to have zero therapeutic effect, almost nobody outside their clique will believe it because these morons have lied about everything connected to Trump for past four years. The boy who cried wolf!

The sad reality is that even if HCQ was ineffective, too many voters will connect the LIEbral attempts to smear that drug with their futile attempts to get rid of Trump via the Russia-Gate, Ukraine-Gate and other stupid conspiracies. It does not help that democratic politicians seem very enthusiastic about prolonging the lockdown resulting in far more unemployment and human suffering than would otherwise occur. Also, if it eventually turns out that HCQ reduces risk of hospitalization and death when given early, the orange man will end up looking like a genius.

What do you think? Comments?

  1. ...this blog has gone down in quality as of late...
    May 22, 2020 at 10:51 pm

    “As far as COVID-19 is concerned, there are two phases of the illness: predominantly viral (first 4-5 days) and predominantly inflammatory (6-7 days onward).”

    So someone could theoretically have symptoms week one. Think they are either sick with the common flu or covid. Try to get tested, have the gov’ tell them they can’t get tested. Their employer tell them they are fine because they pass the temperature check. Never pass into the inflammatory stage but have chronic fatigue such that one old want to nap up to 4 hours a day. Then if they are able to get tested because the gov’t finally decides there are enough tests, be okay. Asking for a friend…

    Yes, ideally they should test anybody who is febrile for more than one day. Also there is another older anti-inflammatory drug, Indomethacin, which has decent anti-viral activity against Coronaviruses. It is also a bit less likely to cause side-effects than HCQ.

    And if this is the case, then those who move to the inflammatory stage are almost given a death sentence when they are told not to worry about mild symptoms but call 9-11 when they have difficulty breathing…

    Telling symptomatic people to stay home without any further medical treatment until they have trouble breathing is a bad idea. That is how you kill people (especially old ones) or cause potentially lasting damage (to lungs ) from disease or mechanical ventilation.

    man, this is such a shit show. I really hope all the politicians are jailed and I don’t care if the current economic system collapses, maybe it should…

    So am I understanding this correctly, it’s not lockdowns but early intervention that saves lives.

    Yes.. lockdowns, at best, spread the same amount of mortality over a longer period.

  2. MikeCA
    May 23, 2020 at 3:18 pm

    So here is a preprint that suggests cannabis can reduce the the ability of the COVID-19 virus to infect human cells.


    So if you just smoke a lot of weed it will keep you safe from COVID-19. LOL.

    Actually that is not what the preprent says. It is talking about High-CBD Cannabis Sativa Extracts, not THC which is what gets you high. While you might get some CBD from smoking weed, it is probably not enough to make much difference. I guess they are proposing using CBD extract to treat or prevent COVID-19 and this medication would not get you high.

    Also two of the authors of the paper work for start up companies that are trying to find commercial medical uses for cannabis and so probably stand to profit from any real medical use.

    Perhaps.. but there is a much safer and commonly available drug with decent anti-viral activity against Coronaviruses. An old, but very potent, anti-inflammatory drug known as Indomethacin.


  3. MikeCA
    May 23, 2020 at 3:53 pm

    “Yes.. lockdowns, at best, spread the same amount of mortality over a longer period.”

    This is not what the lockdown was suppose to do. If you remember in mid March when most of the US lockdowns started, the US had almost no ability to test for COVID-19. We had no idea how widespread the disease was, we only knew that hospitals were starting to fill up with patients that had it in a few places. We were basically flying blind and so a lockdown was the only possible way to stop hospitals from being overrun and people left dying in their homes as has happened in some countries.

    And that has a lot with governmental incompetence, which was hardly restricted to this country. Remember than UK, France, Italy and Spain have higher rates of death from COVID-19 than USA.

    The idea of the lockdown was to significantly reduce the spread and to buy time to setup far more robust testing and contract tracing. The lockdown seems to have accomplished the first goal at least in NY. Unfortunately the federal government decided to just punt on testing and contract tracing and leave that up to states and local governments. The states and local governments are ultimately the ones that need to do the testing and contract tracing, but they do not have the authority to demand private companies take emergency steps to manufacture tests, testing supplies and testing equipment. There also has been no federal leadership on scaling up contract tracing. So states and local governments have been left fumbling around trying to hire and train thousands of contract tracers.

    Nobody said that orange man was competent, but lets us not forget that the governors of NY, NJ and PA came up with the brilliant idea of sending thousands of old patients with COVID-19 back to nursing homes than keep them hospitals or empty hotels. There is a reason why those states have such high body counts in nursing homes.

    Many states are now opening up with higher infection rates than when they locked down and very minimal efforts at contract tracing.

    It is a gong show all around..

    • doldrom
      May 23, 2020 at 7:43 pm

      Test & contact tracing are containment strategies. Once it’s endemic these are basically passed phases. The idea that we are going to reverse and go back to containment & eradication is simply not a plan, it’s insanity. Unless you can eradicate it, and eradicate small outbreaks, slowing spread for two years long is insanity. That’s why this policy is so screwed up. First we said we’re not going to contain, and kept public transit and air travel going. Then we said we’re going to mitigate to make sure the peak doesn’t go beyond the available ventilators. No we’re trying to go back to square one. This shit show is being run by people who do not have the imagination to think of the consequences, and are counting on not being held responsible.

      The reason it’s called a livelihood is because you’re doing it to survive.

  4. doldrom
    May 23, 2020 at 8:24 pm

    The liberal press is on a hopeless effort to paint HCQ as dangerous, even though there are 70 years of usage telling us it is not dangerous and is prescribed routinely without monitoring. Also dangerous is doing anything that is not FDA approved for that purpose. This is absolutely ludicrous, especially when the they are advocating that the safe choice is being intubated, put in coma, and dying.

    They have unmasked themselves more than with any other issue as being cultists for obedience and authority.

  5. doldrom
    May 23, 2020 at 8:32 pm

    The Press also tries to hold Sweden in a bad light, cherry picking 3 things which are disingenuous, one-sided, and blatant propaganda:
    1. Higher mortality rates than neighboring Norway. Well yes, but lower than many other OECD countries, who are going to need a permanent lock-down to prevent re-emergence.
    2. Haven’t kept old people in nursing homes safe. Well yes, but nursing homes are bigger in Sweden than in Norway, and the same is true of every other OECD country … in Canada 80% of the deaths are in institutional living.
    3. Very risk, gambling with lives, and still are not closing in on herd community. Ah, but wait until we see the results of total containment strategies over a year or two; after all, we were going to do “science”, as if there’s some unanimous unison emanating from that corner.

  6. bonzo
    May 24, 2020 at 2:23 am

    I’ve been thinking some more about this Sweden versus Norway thing. Under a previous blog post, I talked about “percentage increase in years of life lost” as the correct metric. But what if you spread the excess deaths over several years and thus there is no apparent increase because the curves are smoothed. Instead, all you notice is that life expectancy has declined slightly. What about countries in Africa with very low life expectancy because of other health system problems? Covid-19 hardly affects these countries because so few old people, but that doesn’t mean they are healthcare successes. Even in Europe, there are significant disparities in life expectancy between countries. Because covid-19 mostly affects the elderly, countries with longer life expectancies, presumably because of good healthcare systems and healthy culture, might appear as failures in the face of covid-19, even though life expectancy continues to be higher than other countries which appear successfully coping with covid-19. It’s actually a tricky problem.

    Accurate estimate of years of life lost to covid-19 would require an individual estimate, for each patient who died with covid-19 present, of what their life expectancy would have been in the absence of covid-19. Life insurance companies have experience with such estimates, though I’m not sure if life insurance companies still allowed to use factors like race, sex, obesity, sexual orientation (homos notorious for drug abuse, sleep deprivation and other unhealthy behaviors), drug and alcohol use, etc.

    That remains to be seen..

  7. MikeCA
    May 24, 2020 at 2:54 pm

    There is a Washington Post story today about how Covid-19 is spreading into rural America. The initial epidemic was centered in big metropolitan areas, New York, Detroit, Chicago, New Orleans, … Now there are starting to be small outbreaks in rural areas. The number of cases in each out break is much smaller than those in the big cities, but they are overwhelming to much smaller and weaker health care systems in those rural areas.

    The first waves of these rural outbreaks were centered mostly around meat packing plants and prisons. They then spread from the employees at the meat packing plants or prisons into the community.

    Rural America is much less densely populated, so I don’t expect these outbreaks to spread rapidly like they did in New York. Instead I expect to see slow propagation through rural America of localized outbreaks centered around spreader events at some kind of gathering where people are close together, like in a meat packing plant. Trump seems determined to restart in person church services which could serve as spreader events though out rural America.

  8. P Ray
    May 25, 2020 at 9:40 am

    Just for the puerile and juvenile jokes:
    Chinese researchers find live coronavirus on feces of patients who died – suggesting the pathogen can be spread through human waste

    Researchers found coronavirus genetic material on four stool samples collected from a patient and in 11 others, indicating the virus may be spreading through the fecal-oral route.

    “Eat shit!” may soon become the an initiation dare.

    • Jack Donovan
      May 25, 2020 at 12:20 pm

      Oh, you know I love me some rectum licking good. I’m covered in brown face and how is that waycist when I’m just eating some taco bell remnants from a fella white nationalist? BTW, since we now have cornavirus to go with our hep and aids, we’ve opened up the Wolves of Vineland bath house to you icky mino’s. Cum on down and bring AD wit’ ya. I know you are a str8 guy but after a couple of bottles of vodka, well, we can work on that last minute resistance. Where do you think rapey roosh learned it from, a white nationalist of course !!!

  9. MikeCA
    May 27, 2020 at 10:39 am

    It is interesting that both Trump and Bolsonaro in Brazil have been big supporters of Hydroxychloroquine. They are very similar cult like, right wing populist leaders. Both have no idea what to do about the Covid-19 pandemic. Both have latched onto Hydroxychloroquine as a miracle cure they are promoting.

    I think part of his is they both have no idea what they should be doing so they feel the need to latch onto a miracle cure. The fact that they are promoting this when the CDC and other experts are cautious fits in perfectly with their anti-science, anti-expert political views.

    • doldrom
      May 27, 2020 at 11:19 am

      Look at Morocco, a country that early adopted hcq. 200 deaths. Compare to Spain.

  10. ...this blog has gone down in quality as of late...
    May 27, 2020 at 4:48 pm

  11. bonzo
    May 29, 2020 at 10:10 am
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