The “Penicillin” of Covid is Cheap – Is That The Problem?
March 9th, 2021 - By Patrick T. McBriarty
Fast approaching a year of dealing with Covid I am finally starting to feel better thanks to a friend of a friend and a Nobel prize winning substance, known in medical shorthand as IVM. My journey is not over, but IVM has offered a major path to recovery which has been thwarted from the start. This is my story…
Mid-morning on March 23, 2020, I was knocked down with fatigue, slept for 2-1/2 hours and awoke to a growing malaise and brain fog. For two weeks I was living a basic existence — eat, nap, rest, sleep and was unable to work, overly sensitive to dehydration and physical activity. Two weeks of recovery followed and I usually could get in a half-day of work before brain fog shut me down. After this month feeling mostly recovered I got back to work and back to cycling to ride 520 miles in the following 4-weeks. In retrospect I had not fully recovered. My ability to recover was still compromised, yet the only indicator was a feeling my full-lung capacity was not what it was while riding, but I expected this would go away in time. What I didn’t know was all bets were off and my old markers for exertion, rest, recovery, and fitness were soon thrown out the window for new more fragile reality.
With no warning on May 16, after waking from a good night’s sleep and eating breakfast I crashed on my brother’s couch in a fog, suddenly fatigued and unable to do much more that day than doze or go to the bathroom. In hindsight my push to log more miles and consecutive bike rides two days prior was too much. Though I didn’t really feel as bad after resting all day, this ushered in 9-months of fluctuating fatigue, malaise, and the pronounced inability to recover full health.
Week to week I oscillated feeling okay for a few days or hours then low energy, low oxygen saturation readings, and a nagging exhaustion and lack of ambition would hit with little or no warning. The need to rest seemed to have no end. In late June and July I was able to rally and organize programming for the Chicago Maritime Arts Center and work with the kids and instructors (outside, with masks) to help teach boating skills, ecology, and tool skills. But by the end of July I was spent and the instructors managed mostly without me as I was back to the sleep, eat, a half-day of work, nap, rest, sleep, rinse and repeat cycle for August through December.
Finally taking some action I went to Florida for the month of January hoping some warm weather might cook Covid out of my system. It did raise my spirits, but only mildly relieved my symptoms as I struggling for weeks to write, and I finally posted a third blog post about my Long-Covid experience in mid-January. This led to a great outpouring of support for which I was very grateful and several well-meaning health care suggestions — the best from a friend of a friend recommended Ivermectin.
After a couple days researching, it became clear Ivermectin offered serious potential for recovery
from Long-Covid and was very safe to try. In a video talk Dr. Kory from the FLCCC Alliance said, “Ivermectin is the “penicillin” of Covid.” However, it was also clear few doctors in the U.S. were willing to prescribe Ivermectin for Covid and it would be next to impossible and take a lot of time and hassle to get a prescription. I was out of patience after nearly a year in poor health and frustrated by my inability to recover. So, after a few more days I decided to buy Ivermectin through an online pharmacy, damn the prescription, and undertake the “Therapeutic Test” (see image below) as suggested by the friend of a friend.
Three weeks later 30-tablets of 6mg Ivermectin arrived from Germany in a small package. Following the protocol above I recorded the severity of my symptoms and by the end the “Test” the tightness in my chest had dropped from 40% to 15%, my energy level went from 70% to 85% of normal, and ability to concentrate went from 60% to 85% of normal. Best of all I felt significantly better. Ivermectin, aspirin and baking soda had made a huge difference. Yet, I still had lingering symptoms and was unsure what to do with the remaining doses of Ivermectin (IVM).
Messaging the friend of a friend I asked. She made it clear she was, “not a doctor,” but would try texting a doctor in her network who had experience prescribing IVM and the “Therapeutic Test.” The next day she relayed the doctor’s reply. “If there has been improvement continue with the IVM treatment until total improvement of the symptoms. The IVM dose can be increased by 50%, the idea is to eliminate all the viral load, because later it can reactivate.” Having had no adverse side effects and feeling greatly improved I upped my dose from three pills to four for the following 4 days. My last six pills were spread over the following 3-days. By then the tightness in my upper chest was down to 5-10% and often I did not notice any discomfort all. My energy level was 90% of normal, and my ability to concentrate 90% of normal. The brain fog and fatigue was essentially gone and IVM was so cheap, I wished I had ordered a larger quantity, however I had no idea double the amount for the “Therapeutic Test” would be insufficient.
The next two days without IVM were crummy and felt like I was going backward, but it was reassuring I only felt tired mid-day rather than burdened with fatigue. Consistently over the next three weeks, waiting for more IVM, I was feeling better and better. My energy was more robust, I was less grumpy or frustrated, and could think more clearly than ever over the last 9 months. There was a euphoria as my resilience and positive disposition returned. Though still taking naps most days it felt more like healing rather simply recovering. My ambition returned along with an inkling and desire to make plans. I was willing to watch a funny movie whereas previously I shunned any comedy without the energy or desire to laugh nor entertain anything besides gallows humor. Now completing 10,000 steps or more 4-5 days a week I was even willing to make myself dinner instead of having cereal, a sandwich or leftovers.
Though I am not a doctor, throughout this illness I continually listened to my body (a skill refined over decades as a recreational athlete) as much as possible to decide what was best for my health. I also kept researching Ivermectin, Covid-19, and other health questions as they occured. I tapped into online support groups monitoring the chat to glean new or helpful information.
As a writer and working with a nonprofit I had the added advantage of a flexible schedule to allow rest and recovery and not have to push myself too hard. I followed the dietary recommendations of the “Therapeutic Test” almost to the letter and found deviations (ingesting wheat, chocolate, caffeine or a wee dram of alcohol) seemed to increase the tightness in my chest and impede my recovery. In another experiment, I took half a dose of IVM in the morning and the other half in the evening. That hit home a common side effect of drowsiness with IVM and I lost all productivity that day. From there on I only took IVM after dinner. Later an authority on Ivermectin with the Front-Line Covid-19 Critical Care (FLCCC) Alliance recommended taking IVM with the main meal of the day so it combined with the ingested fats and increase IVM’s efficacy.
Finally on May 4, my second shipment of IVM arrived. I had ordered double the quantity and two days later, to be safe placed a third order. It was cheap and I had suffered for so long it was reassuring knowing more IVM was on the way. Who knows I may need it in the coming months or years. In reality SARS-CoV-2, known as Covid-19, like the H1N1, known as Influenza, (which caused the 1918-1919 pandemic) is still with us today. Covid-19 is just as likely to hang around 100-years from now too. So extra Ivermectin may come in handy in the future for prevention as detailed by the FLCCC Alliance’s I-MASK+ Prophylaxis protocol (please check this out).
As I write this on Day-7 of my second round of Ivermectin my activity level and ability to recover is stronger than it has been for 9-months. I feel almost normal and very little tightness in my upper chest. Of course I AM feeling fluffy (fat) for not workout so long, stuck at home with food as the only real reward of the day. Its hard not to overeat and I have alternately succeeded and failed. I may have avoided the dreaded Covid 19, but not by much at 10-12 lbs over my normal weight. But if I consider the loss in muscle mass and therefore I am carrying more fat… drat, maybe it is 19!?!
Cautiously testing my limits, the last few days I have worked longer and been more productive, my mood has lightened, and I am generally feeling more hopeful. Previously mild exercise held a penalty in the following days or week, but this week doing more has not caused similar dramatic setbacks. So I am thankful to seemingly be on the path to full health.
My frustration now has a new focus. I become incensed by the U.S. medical establishment’s resistance to recognizing the value of Ivermectin to prevent or potentially remedy mild, severe, and long-Covid-19 symptoms — particularly as huge segments of the population wait for vaccines and continue to get sick or die. There is a lot of good information to share with doctors about Ivermectin. Certainly, IVM may not work for everyone, but with little or no side effects and potential upside against Covid-19 why not try it?
One serious caution with IVM is for people with a compromised brain-blood barrier such as Meningitis. In other words if you have a compromised brain-blood barrier or Meningitis – estimated 1.2 million cases worldwide each year — don’t take Ivermectin. The other lesser issue being discussed on social media is after taking IVM daily for 2-4 weeks or more people struggle with inflammation after coming off IVM. Several groups are sharing information trying to figured this out. Luckily my symptoms are pretty mild though pernicious and hopefully will not be taking IVM more than a few more days and avoid that problem.
The Bigger problem is… IVM is too cheap! Yes, that’s right being inexpensive means Big Pharma or Big Health Care cannot make money on this treatment. As the movie Wall Street is quoted, “GREED is good!” There is little monetary incentive or business reason to encourage the use of IVM against Covid-19. And worse Big Pharma and Big Health Care representative may see this as a threat and sew doubt, objections, and controversy around the use of IVM to keep more expensive, less effective treatments that generate income in the forefront allowing the health care industry to cash in.
My first round of IVM cost $26 plus $20 for shipping and handling. In the U.S. we are all about making money, and the U.S. health care system is no different. Please recognize in this country, the health care industry and health insurance is organized on a fee-for-service basis. No shoes, no shirt, no health insurance? No service! Money is the incentive driving U.S. health care. Direct financial incentives should be tied to improving the health and wellness of the U.S. population. Instead an illogical health care system is perpetuated because the U.S. is a growth driven economy. There is little incentive to change the system because more expensive health care and insurance industry feeds the economy and is not tied to patient outcomes. Financial incentives drive doctors, hospitals, and clinics to run tests, prescribe drugs, create expensive vaccines, technology, procedures, and make decisions biased toward generating income with little or no financial incentives to improve patient outcomes. Again financial incentives should be designed to push for patient health and wellness.
Of course this is complicated by insurance companies situated between the patient and health care provider. As for-profit businesses insurance companies make money by collecting and holding money which is then invested to generate additional returns and profits. So insurance company decisions to deny service, delay payments, or disqualify procedures add to the bottom line, while the individual patient’s health and well being is at best a secondary consideration.
I am not implying some kind of conspiracy nor collusion. I am saying the U.S. health care and health insurance system is not designed to help patients and financial incentives leave the best interest of the patient and U.S. population on the sidelines. That ought to be changed. Life threatening conditions are generally well managed by U.S. health care, however long-term ailments, chronic pain, and difficult diseases like Lupus, ME/CFS or cancer leaves a patient to face a frustrating labyrinth that is the U.S. health care and insurance system between you and effective treatment. Again with no or poor health insurance you are left to God, Allah, the greater good, or your own devices to muddle through.
U.S. doctors call their work practicing medicine (author’s emphasis on “practice”) and they are trained not to break the rules and discount alternative medicine even if it is effective and easily available. Doctors must carry burdensome and expensive malpractice insurance and play it safe or risk litigation or threats of losing malpractice insurance. Add to this U.S. doctors don’t dare step outside normal medical practices to work with patients and try a medicine if it is not backstopped by published triple-blind, gold-standard medical trials or research. Given the specter of astronomical malpractice settlements what doctor can afford to practice without insurance let alone try something new or untried? These constraints impact individual medical treatment and I would venture would resist implementing continuous improvement of medical practices and treatment.
Meanwhile in a pandemic these issues are magnified as more and more people suffer and die. In the U.S. alone we now surpassed a half-million deaths attributable to Covid-19. Shouldn’t we try something different?
As both an indictment of the U.S. health care system and sad state of affairs the U.S. by far spends more per person on health care than any country on earth. Yet, as a proxy for national health in the United States, life expectancy at birth in 2019 was 78.5 years, while other developed countries spend substantially less per capita their populations live 2-6 years longer than we do. Checkout life expectancy data from the World Health Organization in years below:
- Australia — 83.04
- Canada — 82.24
- Denmark — 81.32
- Finland — 81.61
- France — 82.48
- Ireland — 81.84
- Italy — 82.62
- Japan — 84.26
- Netherlands — 81.79
- New Zealand — 81.96
- Norway — 82.62
- Singapore — 83.22
- Spain — 83.22
- Sweden — 82.4
- Switzerland — 83.45
- United Kingdom — 81.4
Our frontier spirit and the cowboys story most Americans tell ourselves about innovation is hurting us, as we regularly ignore useful ideas from clever people living in other countries. Discounted out of hand simply because they were not invented here first. Combine this xenophobia with our bias against less developed countries and racism, how can a thoughtful American reasonably expect the United States to ever improve let alone adopt effective changes in health care or other national systems like education, policing, or taxation if not comparing and contrasting ourselves with other nations. Such comparisons are healthy and helpful to spur innovation and develop better ways to live and do things.
So, “God forbid,” as the anti-vaxxers might say to the U.S. medical system trusting foreign doctors, particularly from less developed countries experienced in the use and efficacy of Ivermectin. “Object and spread fear to bury the facts,” as representatives of Big Pharma might say to keep public from learning three scientists (Campbell, Satoshi, and Tu) discovered Ivermectin in 1975 and won a noble prize for this work. “Ignore, ignore, ignore,” doctors more beholden to corporate profit than public health might say about the 4 billion doses of IVM administered to date combating tropical diseases (like scabies or river blindness) with little or no adverse side effects. Add to this July’s tweet, “62 studies confirm the effectiveness of hydroxychloroquine,” from our past President since proven as inaccurate and false and a campaign that made scientists and policy folks even more skeptical of succeeding off-the-shelf prescriptions to relieve the suffering and death of Covid-19.
So, a debate has been running for months below the surface of mainstream media on the efficacy of Ivermectin. Social media is filled with users in multiple groups comparing notes, experiences, symptoms, and remedies in an effort to find relief to their suffering seeking a path to full health. What I and others have learned experimenting in parallel with new data and continuing release of new studies showing the efficacy of Ivermectin. The case is compelling as the risks are low and marginal enough for me as an athlete and proponent of healthy living to try it without a prescription. And it has ended 350-days of suffering.
What will it take for more Americas to wake up and begin asking questions? We have to recognize sitting back and hang our hopes on vaccines alone to solve the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic is foolish. As time slips by this disease will continue to mutate and change and we will need a variety of methods both simple and complex in our collective arsenal to move forward. The best of these may be simple: masks, fresh air, selective quarantines, contact tracing, and better ventilation in buildings, but also medical treatments, vaccines, and approaches like the I-MASK+ protocol employing Ivermectin, vitamins, and aspirin to combat and defeat this virus.
A Few Links to Research & Stories on Ivermectin:
“How a nurse saved herself from her battle with COVID-19,” on YouTube, posted March 11, 2021.
- “Ivermectin and COVID: what’s going on? (Dr. Carlos Chaccour, ISGlobal)” on YouTube, posted March 8, 2021 offers a great review of the history with this issue from its beginning to current time.
- FLCCC Alliance Weekly Update – Possible Solutions for Long Haulers (Feb. 17, 2021) This is the FLCCC Weekly Update regarding possible solutions for those with Long Haulers.
- “Sharp reduction in COVID-19 case fatalities and excess deaths in Peru in close time conjunction, state-by-state, with ivermectin treatments,” by Quintero, Hibberd, and Scheim, on SSRN website, posted: 21 Jan. 2021. On May 8, 2020, Peru’s Ministry of Health approved ivermectin (IVM) for the treatment of COVID-19. A drug of Nobel Prize-honored distinction, IVM has been safely distributed in 3.7 billion doses worldwide since 1987. It has exhibited major, statistically significant reductions in case mortality and severity in 11 clinical trials for COVID-19, three with randomized controls. The indicated biological mechanism of IVM is the same as that of antiviral antibodies generated by vaccines—binding to SARS-CoV-2 viral spike protein, blocking viral attachment to host cells.
- FLCCC Alliance – The Front Line Covid-19 Critical Care Alliance is an international collective highly published critical care specialists from major academic medical centers with collectively over 1,000 medical publications started in January 2020 to studying SARS-Cov-2 finding solutions. Their recommendations are based on the rapidly emerging research into COVID-19, the early clinical experience in China reflected by the Shanghai expert commission, and their decades-long clinical and research experiences in severe infectious diseases around the United States.
- FLCCC Alliance’s FAQs on Ivermectin, last updated Feb. 15, 2021
- “What’s Behind the Ivermectin-For-Covid Buzz?” by Kristina Fiore for MedPage Today, Jan. 6, 2021, provides a good report on the back and forth between the FLCCC Alliance and medical establishment’s arguments. Interestingly there are no comments or discussion from patients here.
- “COVID-19 IVERMECTIN Saved Lives in Toronto Nursing Home,” June 22, 2020, YouTube video. Discusses Scabies treatment of Ivermectin in Canada and its positive effects on preventing Covid at a nursing home.
- “COVID-19 in Nursing Homes: a Way Forward to End the Tragedy,” by Covexit.com, Dec. 4, 2020. This article presents a concrete way forward for avoiding or at the very least containing COVID-19 outbreaks in nursing homes, through prophylaxis and early treatment.
- “Oral ivermectin for scabies outbreak in long-term care facility: potential value in preventing COVID-19 and associated mortality,” by Bernigaud, Guillemot, Ahmed-Belkacem, Brimaldi-Bensouda, Lispine, Berry, Softic, Chenost, Do-Pham, Giraudeau, Fourati, and Chosidow, in British Hournal of Dermatology, 16 January 2021. Tells of patients treated with ivermectin for scabies had significantly less infections and no mortality from Covid.
- “A five-day course of ivermectin for the treatment of Covid-19 may reduce the duration of the illness,” by Ahmed, Karim, Ross, Hossain, Clemens, Sumiya, Phur, Rahan, Zaman, Somani, Yasmin, Hasnat, Kabir, Aziz in the International Journal of Infectious Diseases, Feb. 1, 2021.
- “Use of Ivermectin Is Associated With Lower Mortality in Hospital Patients With Coronavirus Disease 2019,” by Juliana Rajter, Sherman, Fatteh, Vogel, Sacks, and Jean Rajter in CHEST Journal, Jan. 1, 2021.