On December 8, 2020, when most of America was consumed with what The Guardian called Donald Trump’s “desperate, mendacious, frenzied and sometimes farcical” attempt to remain president, the Senate’s Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee held a hearing on the “Medical Response to Covid-19.” One of the witnesses, a pulmonologist named Dr. Pierre Kory, insisted he had great news.
“We have a solution to this crisis,” he said unequivocally.
“There is a drug that is proving to have a miraculous impact.”
Kory was referring to an FDA-approved medicine called ivermectin. A genuine wonder drug in other realms, ivermectin has all but eliminated parasitic diseases like river blindness and elephantiasis, helping discoverer Satoshi Ōmura win the Nobel Prize in 2015. As far as its uses in the pandemic went, however, research was still scant. Could it really be a magic Covid-19 bullet?
Kory had been trying to make such a case, but complained to the Senate that public efforts had been stifled, because “every time we mention ivermectin, we get put in Facebook jail.” A Catch-22 seemed to be ensnaring science. With the world desperate for news about an unprecedented disaster, Silicon Valley had essentially decided to disallow discussion of a potential solution — disallow calls for more research and more study — because not enough research and study had been done. Once, people weren’t allowed to take drugs before they got FDA approval. Now, they can’t talk about them.
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