Remember the dark days of Spring 2020, when ex-President Trump started singing the praises of the anti-malarial drug hydroxychloroquine, only to have its claimed effectiveness for COVID-19 debunked by a series of randomized, controlled trials? Thought we had moved past the phase of data-free conjecture on drug efficacy?
Well, think again. The newest entrant in the miracle-drug sweepstakes is ivermectin, an antiparasitic drug used in humans, horses, and, yes, sheep. Despite cheerleading from Wisconsin Sen. Ron Johnson (must be the “America’s Dairyland” thing), there is no evidence the drug conveys clinical benefits in either treating or preventing COVID-19.
Read my op-ed today in STAT, in which I describe how an enterprising British medical student came to unmask apparent plagiarism and data fabrication, leading to the retraction of a study often touted by ivermectin proponents. As I conclude, “I urge people to heed the lessons of hydroxychloroquine, bleach, and all the other purported Covid-19 cures: effective treatments will be identified through systematic scientific study, not by wishful thinking, fabrication, or miracles.”