Daily Bread for 8.24.21: Ron Johnson’s Push for Ivermectin

Good morning.

Tuesday in Whitewater will see afternoon thundershowers with a high of 91. Sunrise is 6:12 AM and sunset 7:41 PM, for 13h 29m 20s of daytime.  The moon is a waning gibbous with 95.5% of its visible disk illuminated.

Whitewater’s Finance Committee meets at 4:30 PM. 

 On this day in 1909, workers start pouring concrete for the Panama Canal.

Bill Glauber and Mark Johnson report ‘You are not a horse. You are not a cow’: FDA issues blunt warning on taking ivermectin, drug promoted by Ron Johnson to treat COVID-19:

For months, Republican U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson has been talking up the anti-parasitic drug ivermectin as part of a cocktail of repurposed drugs for early treatment of COVID-19.

Johnson’s push even earned him a week-long suspension from YouTube.

On Saturday, the Food and Drug Administration issued a blunt warning for people not to use ivermectin to treat COVID-19.

The move by the FDA came amid reports that an increasing number of people in Mississippi and Louisiana were self-medicating with ivermectin intended for livestock.

In Wisconsin, a handful of people have called UW Health in Madison after taking the drug for COVID-19, said Nasia Safdar, the health care system’s director of infection control. Most experienced gastrointestinal side effects after taking the drug, and called because they were worried.

“I would say that we do not recommend it,” Safdar said, “and it is a danger to use it.”

The FDA made much the same point in a tweet: “You are not a horse. You are not a cow. Seriously, y’all. Stop it.”

Jonathan Yardley, an associate professor at Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine, said ivermectin is used to kill worms in horses and cows, but is quite powerful.

There is no evidence that ivermectin will help treat or prevent COVID-19, said Amesh Adalja, a senior scholar at Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security. “The clinical data is very weak and there is no confidence in it.”

Worse, Adalja said, some people are using the drug instead of getting vaccinated, and are taking the higher-dose veterinary ivermectin instead of the version that would be used to treat a human.

“I think the misinformation has been great,” Adalja said, singling out Johnson’s hearing for promoting a conspiracy that the drug is being suppressed.

He added: “I get some of the most voluminous amounts of hate mail every time I speak out against ivermectin.”

The same question about Johnson, posed before, applies now: Ambitious, Compromised, or Crackpot? The same answer applies: Whether Ambitious, Compromised, or Crackpot, Sen. Ron Johnson Doesn’t Disappoint.

Johnson’s push for snake oil cures may simply be an effort to undermine any legitimate medical research to which his fanatical supporters object. (Johnson, himself, may not prefer one bogus alternative therapy over another. His goal may be to ingratiate himself with those who doubt conventional medicine.)

America’s vaccines are among the most effective in the world; it serves enemies foreign and domestic to denigrate baselessly American medical science, and to push absurd alternative ‘preventatives.’

Dr. Amesh Adalja’s point about hate mail should not be overlooked. The right-wing populists are emotional, impulsive, and impatient. They disrupt meetings when they hear something they don’t like, and threaten advocates of views contrary to their own. They may describe themselves as possessed of ‘common sense,’ but to a majority watching them, the conservative populists look, sound, and act like crude, threatening adolescents.  (Trump, with his puerile insults, is the model for this ilk.) They prey on a reserved, reticent majority.

It’s a strategy that produces occasional local victories but frequent national contempt.

How Scientists Find, Tag, and Get Rid of ‘Murder Hornets’:

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