Antivaccine nonsense Bad science Cancer Medicine Quackery

Tess Lawrie: “You might not believe this, little fella, but it’ll cure your cancer too”

In a turn that should surprise exactly no one, the BIRD Group’s Tess Lawrie effortlessly pivots from promoting ivermectin as a cure for COVID-19 to promoting it as a cure for cancer. It’s another example of how single-issue quacks almost inevitably embrace more diverse quackery.

Way, way back in 2007 or so, a friend of mine, Dr. Mark Hoofnagle, coined the term “crank magnetism” as a pithy phrase to describe a very simple concept, specifically that those who tend to believe one piece of pseudoscience, quackery, and/or conspiracy theory (e.g., antivax pseudoscience and conspiracy theories) will often also be attracted to—and come to believe in—other forms of pseudoscience (various forms of quackery, such as “autism biomed,” alternative medicine, evolution denial, HIV/AIDS denial, and more). These beliefs are often—but do not have to be and often are not—related to each other; they can even be mutually contradictory. The term also describes the tendency of even “one-issue” cranks and conspiracy theorists to accumulate more conspiratorial beliefs over time. It’s almost as though, once one’s brain is “opened” enough so that one’s brains fall out, it’s a two-way street, with that opening allowing all manner of nonsense to enter as well. We’ve definitely seen the same phenomenon play out in a huge way since COVID-19 hit and the disease minimizing, anti-public health, “miracle cure” (e.g., hydroxychloroquine, ivermectin) pushing conspiracy theorists joined forces with antivaxxers before there even was a vaccine against COVID-19, which brings me to Tess Lawrie, who reminded me of this last week with a post on her Substack titled “Can cancer really be cured with ivermectin and other safe, old treatments?” This post reminded me instantly of Mark’s old phrase, while providing an “in” to discuss not only how general conspiracism has spread throughout the COVID-19 minimization/antivax movement while at the same time looking at the claim made in this post.

[Orac note: Due to a family medical emergency that occurred over the weekend, this could be the last post on this blog for several days, possibly longer. Even galactic supercomputers realize that family is more important than the blog, and even this post wouldn’t have gone up if it weren’t a modified version of a post from elsewhere. Moderation is likely to be sporadic as well, although perhaps not as sporadic as some might like.]

And if that weren’t enough, the tagline to Lawrie’s post got me:

Big pharma will say no – but this cancer survivor and TOP scientist knows otherwise

Yep, it’s the cures “They” don’t want you to know about—shades of Kevin Trudeau! Also, the all caps on the word “TOP” just made me chuckle. Moreover, as you will soon see, linking Jane McLelland’s story to ivermectin turns out to be a bit of a “bait-and-switch.” I’ll explain later in the post and as indicated in this “teaser“:

Jane’s own diagnosis and treatment began back in the 1990s and she describes the amazing support she received from her doctors at the time. It seems that when she would suggest a particular drug or protocol, they would be open to the idea, and agreed to let her just try.

So McLelland’s cancer was diagnosed nearly three decades ago, long before the pandemic hit and ivermectin as a miracle cure for COVID-19 became a thing. So where does ivermectin even come in? Patience. Before I get to that, though, I think it’s important to recap Dr. Lawrie’s past activities with respect to ivermectin.

Before cancer, Tess Lawrie hawked ivermectin as a cure for COVID-19

Regular readers might remember that Orac has written about Tess Lawrie before, mostly in 2021 as she became a leading voice in promoting ivermectin against all evidence as a miracle treatment for COVID-19, leading me to quip that ivermectin is the new hydroxychloroquine in multiple posts, based on how, as high quality randomized controlled trial (RCT) evidence failed to find a significant treatment effect for hydroxychloroquine, COVID-19 “miracle cure” advocates switched to ivermectin and spun all manner of conspiracy theories about why “They” kept denying that it was a cheap, safe, and highly effective treatment for COVID-19. What was predictable about Lawrie is how she denied being an antivaxxer but by last June was appearing at the antivax Better Way Conference with Dr. RobertInventor of mRNA VaccinesMaloneBret WeinsteinGeert Vanden BosscheJessica Rose, and even Robert F. Kennedy Jr. supposedly in attendance, leading Tim Hume to describe the meeting as the “Davos of conspiracy theorists.”

I don’t want to rehash a lot of what I’ve written about in detail before, but I do think it important to point out that early in the pandemic hydroxychloroquine, a repurposed malaria drug that also has mild immunosuppressive activity that makes it useful to treat rheumatoid arthritis, was recommended, based on no high quality (or, truth be told, even moderate quality evidence) as a first line drug to treat COVID-19. As I’ve described a number of times, this was based on a report out of Wuhan in early 2020 from Chinese physicians that none of a group of 80 patients with rheumatoid arthritis taking hydroxychloroquine caught COVID-19. As a result of that and old in vitro evidence of antiviral activity, they became interested in using these antimalarial drugs to treat COVID-19. Based on anecdotal reports and small preliminary clinical trials, in March 2020 the Chinese government published an expert consensus recommending chloroquine or hydroxychloroquine for patients with COVID-19. Soon after, a number of nations followed suit. From there, a French “brave maverick scientist” named Didier Raoult—remember him?—latched onto the drug as the “answer” to the COVID-19 pandemic, publishing risibly bad studies claiming to show its efficacy. Tech bros such as Elon Musk discovered the claims about hydroxychloroquine and Raoult’s bad science, leading to Donald Trump Tweeting favorably about his study and, ultimately, to the FDA issuing an emergency use authorization for the drug to treat COVID-19 that it was forced to revoke by the end of April 2020, and by summer 2020 it was very clear that hydroxychloroquine was not only not a “miracle treatment” but almost certainly ineffective, all the familiar-sounding—to RI readers, anyway—“miracle cure” anecdotes touted by Fox News personalities notwithstanding:

Yep, they were all about the hydroxychloroquine in 2020; that is, until they weren’t and were all about the ivermectin.

Enter ivermectin, a drug that is highly effective in treating parasitic diseases of human and animals due to roundworms (helminths). Based on in vitro studies showing activity against SARS-CoV-2, the coronavirus that causes COVID-19, advocates like Tess Lawrie latched onto ivermectin as the new hydroxychloroquine; i.e., a cheap, safe, and effective treatment for the disease. The problem with this claim was obvious right from the beginning to anyone who applies science-based approaches to medical problems. As I discussed, the concentration needed to inhibit SARS-CoV-2 in cell culture is at least 50 times higher than what can be safely reached in the bloodstream. Just from a pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics standpoint, it was always a highly implausible hypothesis that ivermectin would be an effective drug for prevention, postexposure prophylaxis, or treatment of COVID-19, and eventually RCTs showed that it isn’t any of these things. It doesn’t work, leading me to call it the acupuncture of COVID-19 treatments and use it as an example of why science-based medicine isn’t just for “integrative medicine,” but for all medicine.

In any event, Lawrie is one of the founders of a UK group known as the BIRD Group, which exists mainly to promote ivermectin as a miracle cure for COVID-19. Just take a look at the landing page of its website in June 2021:

Tess Lawrie and the BIRD Group
Nope. No bias here on Tess Lawrie’s part! Perish the thought!

And here is what it looked like a week ago as I was writing this:

Tess Lawrie and her BIRD Group strike again
Tess Lawrie and the BIRD Group: Same as it ever was!

When it comes to the BIRD Group and ivermectin, apparently 2023 is the new 2021.

Now, on to the crank magnetism.

Ivermectin: A miracle cure for cancer?

With that background out of the way, let’s take a look at Lawrie’s post from Thursday and the claims made there. First, Lawrie leads with the antivax myth that COVID-19 vaccines cause cancer (or “turbo cancer,” as they sometimes call it) to set up her narrative:

As we covered back in December, researchers and oncologists like Professor Angus Dalgleish are seeing a disturbing proliferation of cancers, in particular following Covid injection. Even before the pandemic, the incidence of cancers was increasing and a recent study has found that the occurrence of brain cancer is related to both GDP and mobile phone usage.

Actually, no. There is no good evidence that cell phone radiation causes cancer, particularly given how there is no good physical or molecular mechanism that would explain how it might do so. I might have to look into that study more, but I can tell from the abstract alone that there are a lot of caveats there. In the meantime, it’s not surprising that Lawrie is moving into more crankery:

Today, I want to focus on what on earth we can do about it. To help me, I’m consulting not an oncologist, or a pathologist, but an exceptional woman who became an expert by necessity. She’s called Jane McLelland and her knowledge in this area is worthy of a PhD. 

Jane is one of several people I have met in the last three years who are top scientists, just without the long line of initials after their names. Her own Stage IV cancer diagnosis forced her down a path of inquiry and investigation – and this research quite literally saved her life. That was about two decades ago, and she’s been helping others ever since.

As I say whenever I discuss alternative medicine cancer cure testimonials—and, make no mistake, that’s exactly what Ms. McClelland’s story is, an alternative medicine cancer cure testimonial—I always preface them by saying that I’m happy the person is doing well and so far surviving her cancer. Always. As a cancer surgeon myself, I don’t wish cancer on anyone, and I particularly don’t want anyone to die from cancer. Unfortunately, however, Ms. McClelland, Dr. Lawrie’s claim that she is a “TOP scientist” notwithstanding, is a fake expert, who claims that her self-discovered knowledge trumps that of experts who have formal training and have devoted their lives to studying cancer and/or treating cancer patients. For one thing, she has no training in oncology or scientific research, being a Chartered Physiotherapist who worked in the UK’s NHS and private practice for twelve years, specialising in Neurology and then Orthopaedic.

Does this sound familiar at all? Similarly, does this part about how “They” don’t want patients to have access to ivermectin, which in the video clip included McLelland claims to be also highly effective against triple negative breast cancer (TNBC)—and that’s my area of expertise!—to cure their COVID-19?

Of course it does:

When the pandemic was at its height, we were inundated with pleas from people who were desperate to get ivermectin to their loved ones in hospital, but who were blocked at every turn. Doctors and hospitals would not even entertain the idea of trying this safe medicine, even when a patient’s prognosis was poor and there was little to lose. In our conversation, I mention one instance where we quite literally helped smuggle ivermectin in a chocolate bar to a woman in intensive care:

It makes me wonder: if this pandemic had arrived in the mid-nineties, it might well have been over within a few weeks. I imagine word would have spread that ivermectin, together with other nutraceuticals such as vitamins D, C, quercetin and zinc, were doing the trick and that would have been that. How things have changed!

Of course, it couldn’t possibly have been all the supportive care in the hospital that saved her—I wonder if she got monoclonal antibodies—but of course it had to be that single dose of ivermectin smuggled to her in a chocolate bar. Let’s just say that when someone’s lungs start getting better it can sometimes happen faster than expected. This reminds me very much of testimonials attributing “miracle cures” to hydroxychloroquine that were circulating early in the pandemic, such as one from April 2020 from a local Michigan State Representative named Karen Whitsett, a New Jersy man named Billy Saracino, and an Alabama man named Carl Shuck (who was still on a ventilator for two weeks), all of whom I discussed at the time and explained why they weren’t good evidence that the drug worked. As I said at the time, were we to believe the media accounts, if you receive hydroxychloroquine (±azithromycin) and recovered, no matter how much time it took, obviously it was the drugs that had cured you. Such was the narrative the media was feeding the public, and such is this narrative. Indeed, I explicitly likened these narratives to the “miracle” cure narratives for Stanislaw Burzynski’s antineoplastons and other alternative medicine “miracle cure” cancer testimonials.

Nor could it have been all the other treatments that Jane McLelland used in addition to ivermectin, which, as you will see, struck me as a small part of the numerous dubious and quack treatments that she used. The similarities between ivermectin miracle cure testimonials and cancer miracle cure testimonials couldn’t be more clear, though. If a patient used a bunch of other treatments plus the miracle cure, it must have been the miracle cure that made the difference. Again, we’ve seen this phenomenon before—and I’ve discussed it more times than I can remember since 2008—with miracle “cures” for cancer, autism, and, yes, COVID-19.

Jane McLelland’s story

So let’s look at Jane McClelland’s “miracle cure” testimonial for ivermectin, as described both of her posts a week ago or so, the latter of which is titled “How to starve cancer” (a title that, unsurprisingly, caused my cancer quackery detection antennae to start twitching even more furiously than they had been twitching after the first article) and includes a video interview. I sighed when I realized that the interview is over 40 minutes long because I realized that I was going to have to watch the whole thing in order to discuss her testimonial in detail. However, going in I couldn’t help but note this part:

Here are just a few highlights:
  • A ketogenic diet can help starve cancers – but diet alone rarely works. It’s also important to be careful about the type of fat you consume.
  • The skin of sweet potatoes has anti-cancer properties – so no more binning the peel!
  • Cancer tries to find different routes to feed itself – so it’s essential to block all pathways, not just one.
  • Different cancers will use different, dominant pathways, so the treatment strategy must be tailored accordingly
  • Safe, effective, repurposed drugs such as ivermectin are an essential element of blocking the right pathways – but they’re usually overlooked (surprise, surprise)
  • Cancer stem cells are unaffected by chemo and radiotherapy, so they’re left behind to seed new tumours. It’s essential, then, to target these – Jane explains how
  • Ferroptosis is a strategy that effectively weaponises cancer’s need for iron, stopping it in its tracks
This is a rich conversation with so much valuable information and I learnt so much speaking with Jane. Please feel free to share with anyone you think may benefit.

Once again, which is it? I’ve discussed how claims for ketogenic diets—which have even been claimed to “beat chemo for almost all cancers” are overblown at best and completely wrong at worst and have even noted how ketogenic diets have been associated with decreased quality of life in cancer patients; so I won’t dwell on that much. I will give her credit; like so many non-experts, she has learned the language. I will admit that, prior to this, I had been unaware that cancer quacks had latched onto ferroptosis, as well, and her mention of it actually piqued my interest because in an effort to restart my lab, which did not do well during the pandemic, I recently started collaborating with an expert on ferroptosis. Of course, like so many cancer quacks, Ms. McLelland knows the lingo but doesn’t really understand it. In this way, she reminds me of Dr. Stanislaw Burzynski, who in addition to his antineoplastons developed something he called “personalized gene-targeted” therapy, which when I examined it turned out to be basically a “throw everything but the kitchen sink at it” approach to cancer, in which he used a bunch of very expensive targeted therapies without much thought about how they might interact, all while claiming he was better at personalized cancer therapy as M.D. Anderson Cancer Center—and had even invented it.

I’m also going to point out that in the clip included in Dr. Lawrie’s very first post, McLelland made a statement that is, to put it kindly, completely wrong. Remember where I mentioned that she claimed that ivermectin is a “fantastic drug” for cancer, specifically TNBC? Right after that, she claims:

I suggest that people look at that [ivermectin] particularly for things like triple negative breast cancer, where the breast cancer is known to be a “cold” tumor; so it doesn’t respond to immunotherapies. But if you take ivermectin it becomes a “hot” cancer that does respond to immunotherapies, and this is a big thing. You know, if we could get more people to take more immunotherapies that could work, that is a big potential step forward. So ivermectin for triple-negative breast cancer works very well and is in fact synergistic with our ferroptosis protocol as well. Ivermectin I love for various factors; it really targets the EGFR mutations and HER2, which is very commonly associated with breast cancer and other cancers that use the HER2 as well.

TNBC doesn’t respond to immunotherapy? TNBC are “cold” tumors that the immune system doesn’t recognize? Quite the opposite, at least for a large subset of TNBCs! I’d like to refer Ms. McLellan to the KEYNOTE-522 clinical trial published in 2020 and NCCN guidelines, which showed that adding pembrolizumab (KEYTRUDA) to standard-of-care neoadjuvant chemotherapy (chemotherapy before surgery) resulted in a significant increase in the pathological complete response rate (the percentage of patients whose surgical specimens contain no residual tumor detectable by pathologists looking at them through the microscope) and benefited even patients with metastatic disease if their tumors expressed the protein PDL-1 Of note, pembrolizumab is an immune checkpoint inhibitor, and immune checkpoint inhibitors are considered immunotherapy. In fact, the use of this immune checkpoint inhibitor is now standard-of-care for operable TNBC. (For those of you not familiar with TNBC, this subtype of cancer lacks the receptors estrogen and progesterone hormones, as well as the HER2 oncoprotein, and tends to be more aggressive than hormone receptor-positive cancers.) Let me say that again. Chemoimmunotherapy is the new standard of care for TNBC since 2020.

Conveniently enough, I encountered this illustration on Twitter of KEYNOTE-522:

And don’t even get me started on how often TNBC has higher levels of tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes, another indicator of an immune response from the patient. Again, on this one issue, Ms. McLelland doesn’t know what she’s talking about. She also goes on to claim that ivermectin also—conveniently enough—targets HER2, which led me to think: You do know that if a breast cancer overexpresses (makes too much) HER2, by definition it’s not TNBC, right?

As for any published data on the use of ivermectin to treat TNBC, a search of PubMed produced just one article from 2015, which showed that ivermectin could potentially restore sensitivity to the anti-estrogen drug tamoxifen in the TNBC cell line MDA-MB-231 (a cell line that I’ve worked with extensively over the years) and MMTV-Myc mouse TNBC cells in vitro. In other words, it’s a single study in cell culture that does not say anything about ivermectin resulting in TNBC responsiveness to immunotherapy. Let’s just put it this way. Ms. McLelland is flat-out wrong about this, and when I see two statements that obviously wrong about something I know a lot about (e.g., TNBC is not immunogenic and sensitive to immune therapy and that ivermectin makes these “cold” tumors “hot”), I immediately wonder what other wrong statements she’s making. In fairness, there are studies examining cell culture and animal models of various cancers that show that ivermectin can apparently inhibit the motility in vitro and metastasis in a mouse model of some cancer cell lines and inhibit EGFR signaling(which stimulates cancer growth), but that’s a long way from any good clinical evidence and just shows how cancer quacks like to cherry pick in vitro data and represent it as meaning a treatment works. (For instance, one of these studies used estrogen receptor-positive cells, not TNBC.) I also noticed immediately that these studies used very high concentrations of ivermectin, just like the in vitro studies testing ivermectin against SARS-CoV-2.

So what about Ms. McLelland’s story? She was diagnosed with cervical cancer in 1994 at age 30 and “did all the normal stuff, chemoradiotherapy” and what sounds like a radical hysterectomy. Sadly, this was before she had married and rendered her unable to have children. In 1999 the cancer recurred in her lungs, but in the meantime her mom was diagnosed with stage IV breast cancer, which had led her to look for treatments. This search had led her to one of the favorite areas of cancer abused by cancer quacks, the Warburg effect, or aerobic glycolysis. (Remember dichloroacetate, anyone?) She also developed leukemia, that was apparently attributed to her cancer treatment.

Here I must note a couple of things. First, it is true that stage IV cervical cancer is usually incurable. However, around 15% of patients with stage IV disease can survive more than five years, although it could well be a much lower percentage after a recurrence. Look at it this way. Even if it’s only 1% of patients with recurrent cervical cancer who survive more than five years, the far more likely explanation for Ms. McLellan’s good fortune and continued survival is that she was fortunate enough to be one of these lucky few who survived, not that she somehow through trial and error stumbled onto a regimen of old repurposed drugs—including dipyridamole (Persantine, a drug that I haven’t dealt with in decades), statins, naltrexone, metformin, and others—that cured her. (Actually, clearly even she doesn’t think she’s cured, as she’s still taking them and appears to be adding to the regimen fairly regularly.) Whatever the case, she relates about how a cocktail of “kitchen sink” drugs led to remission and that she is still taking these drugs. This is how her story as touted on Dr. Lawrie’s Substack is a “bait-and-switch.” Ms. McLelland never actually appears to have treated her cancer with ivermectin as far as I can tell from the interview, although she did use it to treat her COVID-19, and even if she did she used it decades after she had a cancer recurrence.

Whenever I hear a “miracle cure” testimonial like this, particularly from someone who has been promoting her “miracle cure” since the late 1990s, I wonder: Why is there no evidence other than the anecdote? Why hasn’t this regimen been studied? Why aren’t there publications showing how effective it is? (Ms. McLelland’s book describing how she “did her own research” doesn’t help.) I also found it odd how little she mentioned her leukemia afterward, given that when she mentioned it she seemed to be saying that it was the more “incurable” of her two cancers. Unsurprisingly, a lot of cancer quackery tropes are in this interview, including the hoary, ever-popular claim that sugar “feeds” cancer, even to the point where near the middle of the interview Ms. McLelland and Dr. Lawrie complain about how hospitals often raise money using bake sales selling “sweet things” and how discordant that supposedly is. (How many times have I heard this before?)

Ms. McLelland also complains that cancer cell metabolism is not taught in our training, which might have been true 30 years ago but most definitely is not true now—nor has it been for a long time. Indeed, back around 2010 I marveled at how targeting the Warburg effect seemed to be the dominant theme at cancer meetings like the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) and the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO), the two biggest cancer professional organizations in the country, the former dedicated more to basic and translational science and the latter to clinical research. Then, as I went to these meetings year after year, the Warburg effect faded in prominence as other targets rose, such as—you guessed it—immunotherapy with immune checkpoint inhibitors like pembrolizumab. Nor was this because “They” were trying to keep you from knowing about ketogenic diets, targeting tumor metabolism, and the like as treatment modalities. Rather, it’s because the results didn’t quite live up to the hype. It reminded me of how a decade before that even, targeting tumor angiogenesis (the growth of new blood vessels to feed the tumor) dominated these meetings but, as drugs that blocked that process increasingly showed themselves, while effective, not to produce the near-miraculous results observed in mice in the 1990s, oncologists and oncology researchers integrated them—e.g., Avastin—into standard cancer care and started looking for new molecular targets.

None of this stops these two from repeating the same old cancer quack complaints (which are the same complaints of COVID-19 quacks about ivermectin) that “They” (pharmaceutical companies) don’t want you to know about these cheap, safe, and supposedly highly effective treatments for cancer and that Ms. McLelland had succeeded where oncology had failed:

Diagnosed with terminal cancer in the prime of her life, and with no viable treatment options, she used herself as a human guinea pig, putting together a cocktail of low toxicity drugs, not normally used for cancer, alongside a low glycaemic diet and powerful supplements. These ‘starved’ her cancer of glucose, glutamine and fat, which she demonstrates with her ingenious, easy-to-follow ‘McLelland Metro Map’.

Which brings me to ferroptosis.


Ms. McLelland’s hyping of ferroptosis as target for cancer therapy caught my interest because it was a rehash of the same quack narrative about sugar “feeding” cancer, namely that you don’t want to consume a lot of iron because it “feeds” cancer cells. Unsurprisingly, it turns out that ferroptosis is more complicated than what Ms. McLelland describes, in which you somehow get cancer cells to release ferritin (a protein-iron complex) and then oxidize it in order to attack the cells by using high dose vitamin C or use old rheumatoid arthritis drugs to induce ferroptosis.

Basically, ferroptosis is a form of programmed cell death that depends on iron. It is, of course, true that targeting ferroptosis in cancer is a hot research topic right now. Indeed, I did a PubMed search for just the year 2022 and came up with close to 500 references, and a Nature Reviews Cancer article from last year notes:

Ferroptosis, as a unique cell death mechanism, has sparked great interest in the cancer research community as targeting ferroptosis might provide new therapeutic opportunities in treating cancers that are refractory to conventional therapies. In recent years, substantial progress has been achieved in understanding the role of ferroptosis in tumour biology and cancer therapy. On the one hand, multiple cancer-associated signalling pathways have been shown to govern ferroptosis in cancer cells14. The engagement of ferroptosis in the activities of several tumour suppressors, such as p53 and BRCA1-associated protein 1 (BAP1), establishes ferroptosis as a natural barrier to cancer development15,16, whereas oncogene-mediated or oncogenic signalling-mediated ferroptosis evasion contributes to tumour initiation, progression, metastasis and therapeutic resistance17,18,19. On the other hand, the distinctive metabolism of cancer cells, their high load of reactive oxygen species (ROS) and their specific mutations render some of them intrinsically susceptible to ferroptosis, thereby exposing vulnerabilities that could be therapeutically targetable in certain cancer types20,21,22,23,24. Furthermore, some cancer cells appear to be particularly dependent on ferroptosis defence systems to survive under metabolic and oxidative stress conditions; consequently, disruption of those defences would be fatal to such cancer cells while sparing normal cells9. These recent data suggest that ferroptosis represents a targetable vulnerability of cancer in certain contexts. Ferroptosis has also been recognized as a critical cell death response triggered by a variety of cancer therapies, including radiotherapy (RT), immunotherapy, chemotherapy and targeted therapies25,26,27,28. Thus, ferroptosis inducers (FINs) hold great potential in cancer therapy (Box 1), especially in combination with conventional therapies25,29,30.

I recommend that those of you with the background to understand this review take a look. For lay people, suffice to say that what Ms. McLelland says about ferroptosis is sort of correct in some parts—e.g., it is true the catalysis by iron of the oxidation of lipids in the cell membrane is a trigger for ferroptosis—but vastly exaggerated. There is so much more complexity to the process, as the review quoted above discusses. Just take a look at this illustration from the article to get an idea:

Tess Lawrie and Jane McLelland vs. ferroptosis
Fig. 1: a | Ferroptosis reflects an antagonism between prerequisites for ferroptosis and ferroptosis defence systems. The prerequisites for ferroptosis consist of polyunsaturated fatty acid-containing phospholipid (PUFA-PL) synthesis and peroxidation, iron metabolism, and mitochondrial metabolism. Ferroptosis defence systems mainly include the glutathione peroxidase 4 (GPX4)–reduced glutathione (GSH) system, the ferroptosis suppressor protein 1 (FSP1)–ubiquinol (CoQH2) system, the dihydroorotate dehydrogenase (DHODH)–CoQH2 system, and the GTP cyclohydrolase 1 (GCH1)– tetrahydrobiopterin (BH4) system. When ferroptosis-promoting cellular activities significantly exceed the detoxification capabilities provided by ferroptosis defence systems, a lethal accumulation of lipid peroxides on cellular membranes lead to subsequent membrane rupture and ferroptotic cell death. b | Acyl-coenzyme A synthetase long chain family member 4 (ACSL4) and lysophosphatidylcholine acyltransferase 3 (LPCAT3) mediate the synthesis of PUFA-PLs, which are susceptible to peroxidation through both non-enzymatic and enzymatic mechanisms. Iron initiates the non-enzymatic Fenton reaction and acts as an essential cofactor for arachidonate lipoxygenases (ALOXs) and cytochrome P450 oxidoreductase (POR), which promote lipid peroxidation, and mitochondrial metabolism promotes the generation of reactive oxygen species (ROS), ATP and/or PUFA-PLs. Excessive accumulation of lipid peroxides on cellular membranes can trigger ferroptosis. Cells have evolved at least four defence systems with different subcellular localizations to detoxify lipid peroxides and thus protect cells against ferroptosis, wherein cytosolic GPX4 (GPX4cyto) cooperates with FSP1 on the plasma membrane (and other non-mitochondrial membranes) and mitochondrial GPX4 (GPX4mito) cooperates with DHODH in the mitochondria to neutralize lipid peroxides. The subcellular compartment in which the GCH1–BH4 system operates remains to be defined. CoQ, coenzyme Q (also known as ubiquinone); SLC7A11, solute carrier family 7 member 11.

Any similarity between Ms. McLelland’s simplistic take and the complexity above is mainly by coincidence only. Indeed, I want to call her version of ferroptosis “ferrobabble,” a nod to the term “technobabble” in Star Trek, the same way I refer to quacks invoking the immune system as spouting “immunobabble.” As an aside, I’ve written a couple of—as yet unfunded, alas—grants looking at targeting the cystine transporter SLC7A11 in order to induce ferroptosis using a repurposed drug. That’s one reason why I laughed listening to these two women say that no one is interested in repurposed drugs. Lots of investigators are interested in repurposed drugs and derivatives of repurposed drugs to treat cancer. This has been true ever since I first met up with a surgeon and a basic scientist who were researching the repurposed drug that I’ve published on.

Unsurprisingly, near the end of the interview, Ms. McLelland relates how she had been “pressured” to take the COVID-19 vaccines, first a non-mRNA vaccine and then two doses of an mRNA vaccine, after which she resisted getting a second booster. Then she got COVID-19 and—surprise! surprise!—got better almost immediately after a single dose of ivermectin. Also, her regimen has supposedly cured her “late onset cystic fibrosis,” because of course it has.

Again, I’m happy that Ms. McLelland is continuing to do well and remains, as far as we know, cancer-free. However, as much as I don’t want anyone to die of cancer, that doesn’t mean that I won’t, when I see a believer who thinks she’s cured herself of a deadly disease with quackery turn around to start promoting and selling that quackery, hold back on calling it quackery and explaining why. Think, for example, Chris Wark of “Chris Beat Cancer” fame. (He did beat cancer, but it was the surgery, not the quackery, that saved him.)

Tess Lawrie should listen to Frank.
Tess Lawrie didn’t listen to Frank Zappa, did she?

Crank magnetism or crank expansion?

Long before the pandemic, we were discussing cases of how “single issue” cranks and quacks seemed almost inevitably to embrace more and more forms of pseudoscience, conspiracy theories, and quackery. In a way, I think this might well be a related, but distinct form of crank magnetism that I like to refer to as, “Come for one conspiracy theory, stay for conspiracism.” We’ve seen so many examples of this phenomenon, too, beginning with how COVID-19 minimizers and the conspiracy theorists who thought it was a “plandemic” or “bioweapon” soon embraced all manner of other conspiracy theories and pseudoscience, including conspiracy theories involving antivaccine activism, QAnon, antisemitic conspiracy theories, big pharma supposedly suppressing “miracle cures” that “They” don’t want you to know about. Just look at how, for example, Drs. Robert Malone, Pierre Kory, Peter McCullough, and the whole crew of “America’s Frontline Doctors,” among many, many others, have expanded from their single issue “alternative treatments” for COVID-19 to embrace pretty much every conspiracy theory about COVID-19 that there is, including those of “depopulation” and “died suddenly” (of the vaccine) and political conspiracy theories involving how Russia is not the aggressor in Ukraine. Similarly, “old school” antivaxxers like Joe Mercola and Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. have eagerly glommed onto the new COVID-19 conspiracy theories and “miracle cures.” There seems no end to their “magnetism” for crankery.

Dr. Lawrie started out, as far as I can tell, mainly as a believer in ivermectin as a cheap, safe, and highly effective treatment for COVID-19, but then gradually (or not so gradually) embraced more and more pseudoscience until now she’s promoting cancer quackery of the sort that Ms. McLelland has been peddling since the 1990s. Ms. McLelland, in the meantime, has naturally glommed onto ivermectin as the new “in” drug among the COVID-19 conspiracy crowd.

Crank magnetism marches on.

By Orac

Orac is the nom de blog of a humble surgeon/scientist who has an ego just big enough to delude himself that someone, somewhere might actually give a rodent's posterior about his copious verbal meanderings, but just barely small enough to admit to himself that few probably will. That surgeon is otherwise known as David Gorski.

That this particular surgeon has chosen his nom de blog based on a rather cranky and arrogant computer shaped like a clear box of blinking lights that he originally encountered when he became a fan of a 35 year old British SF television show whose special effects were renowned for their BBC/Doctor Who-style low budget look, but whose stories nonetheless resulted in some of the best, most innovative science fiction ever televised, should tell you nearly all that you need to know about Orac. (That, and the length of the preceding sentence.)

DISCLAIMER:: The various written meanderings here are the opinions of Orac and Orac alone, written on his own time. They should never be construed as representing the opinions of any other person or entity, especially Orac's cancer center, department of surgery, medical school, or university. Also note that Orac is nonpartisan; he is more than willing to criticize the statements of anyone, regardless of of political leanings, if that anyone advocates pseudoscience or quackery. Finally, medical commentary is not to be construed in any way as medical advice.

To contact Orac: [email protected]

110 replies on “Tess Lawrie: “You might not believe this, little fella, but it’ll cure your cancer too””

Tess Lawrie… Enough said.

Sorry to hear about the family med. emergency.
Hope everything turns out fine.

“.. overexpresses ( makes too much) HER2 by definition it’s not TNBC, right?”
It’s amazing how she gets that wrong when after all, negative is right there in TNBC!
Also, how alties latch on to a term that sounds so knowledgeable like ferroptosis just tossing it into their pastiche without understanding it

…re the two forms, crank magnetism/ expansion:
— woo attracts other forms of woo BS
— concerns BS beyond life science: political BS, AGW denialism, CTs

Acceptance might reflect a larger overarching/ underlying? style of thought that doesn’t rely upon real world data but persists through strong emotionally based “justification”. They want to believe.
I imagine that it can go either way: woo to political plus or political plus to woo. If the underpinnings are the same, why not?

Real life example…

Two weeks ago I had a challenging patient establish care. BRCA positive breast and uterine CA survivor in her forties. I felt for her experiences which have included a double mastectomy after lumpectomy and lymph node dissection, bilateral salpingoophrectomy, and total hysterectomy. Worse-she also has autoimmune issues out the wazoo.

The good? She really knows the system and is a tremendous advocate for herself.

The bad? She knows enough to be dangerous. She throws terms around that are only germane to treatment of an active cancer, etc. I look at her medical records and can see where she has “talked” an NP or PA into ordering insane, expensive, totally-inappropriate treatment and screening labs on state insurance.

Does this make her a bad person? Not at all. She’s anxious. She’s been through a lot. Feeling like you understand your disease is important. Like anything else, it can go awry.

I think a lot of the hucksters prey on this instinct. That’s what I’ve seen, anyway. The general template is “this disease isn’t your fault. You don’t need to change anything. Just take my special supplements/read my for profit blog/subscribe/etc. your doctor or the “man” is hiding this from you cause…money/evil/they think you’re deplorable/they hate Christians/etc.”

“Don’t let them put you on insulin because it will mess up your insulin degrading enzyme (IDE2/4LIMA.2003) buy my formula of LIMA-armor” or whatever (I just made that up but it’s demonstrative of what you hear from patients that they read on Twitter, etc)

When I tell them their IDE will happily degrade insulin regardless of the source, they go home and read the comments on Twitter saying “don’t believe your doctor-they’ll tell you your IDE is fine. BUY the LIMA-armor! Insulin made me impotent, this miracle cure fixed it overnight!” (this is apropos because a lot of erectile dysfunction is psychogenic; think the pill works? You’re cured!)

Note that neither the patient nor the lunatic who put them on this oath is an expert in IDE or pancreatic function. Neither am I. What I do know is we are cutting off yet another toe because some loon told them insulin was bad and they were desperate for a miracle cure that didn’t involve cutting out the Pepsi and tortillas.

re ‘LIMA-armor”:
Is that so-named because the fiber in Lima beans regulate blood sugar or their phytonutrients ** neutralise cancer causing toxins?
OR is it when you buy a cell phone shield from a firm in Peru?

** common woo word

What’s amusing about that study she linked is that the greatest increase was in young males. Ever see a young guy with a cell phone up to his ear? Ever try to get a young guy to answer his cellphone with anything other than a text? You’d expect the increase to be in women older than 60 (haha I’m only half-serious) if phones could somehow produce ionizing radiation.

@ Orac
Sorry to hear over at SBM that you had a family medical emergency. I can’t do “thoughts and prayers” woo, and understand that it’s meaningless whether or not I say ‘I hope things turn out OK’ or not, but I do hope so anyway. And take whatever time away from RI as you might need. I’ll be here when you get back ; – )

Thank you. As you can see, I’m not entirely oblivious, but I haven’t had time—nor, I confess—the inclination to write anything longer than a Tweet or a short comment since it happened because my time has been so occupied.

This reminds me of a certain UK antivaxxer, Kate Shemirani, of how she cured her own cancer with coffee enemas. I’ll have a latte please.

Orac, wishing well to your family member and hope they recover soon.

No claims on Ivermectin vs cancer, however I wanted to share a personal story.

I had Covid in Nov 2020 and did not use Ivermectin as I thought that it was a false cure for Covid-19. However, as Omicron picked up worldwide in late 2021, I started “doing my own research” again and realized that there is possibly a Covid benefit to Ivermectin. So I bought two blister packs of 12mg pills on the black market at the high cost of $10 per pill.

On Dec. 26 2021, my unvaxed wife fell ill with Covid and it was confirmed by a bright red line on the rapid test. She had 100-101 fever and was visibly unwell.

I gave her Ivermectin 0.3mg/kg with vitamin C, D and zinc. (we had little IVM and I wanted to budget some for another family member)

The result was almost immediate and in 2 hours her temperature went down to normal. In 2 days, I reduced the dose given and the fever returned until I gave her the complete dose, at which point the temp returned back to normal again. She received 5 days of Ivermectin.

While she did feel weak for about 3-4 days and had anxiety for another week afterwards, she did not develop long covid or anything of the sort.

The immediacy of the action of Ivermectin impressed me greatly.

Since then I bought a ton of it from India.

A different family member (much younger but vaccinated) had Covid in January 2021 and did not use IVM, and this person’s covid was much worse than my wife’s despite the great age and comorbidity diference, and he had heart problems for 5 months. Fortunately heart problems subsided around May.

This same person and their partner again had Covid last August, and stayed sick at our home. At that time I convinced them to take IVM as they stayed in our home, and for both their Covid ended in about 24 hours.

Be aware that I heard credible reports from some people that Ivermectin did NOT work for them. Most people reported that it did.

Studies are conclicting and their conclusions seem to differ greatly based on who finances them. The most important TOGETHER study that found no benefit to Ivermectin, receives a 15 million donation from Sam Bankman Fried’s FTX immediately after finding no such benefit. A pure coincidence of course.

Nope. The highest quality studies show no benefit due to ivermectin against COVID-19, either in intermediate or severe disease, against mild disease, or as postexposure prophylaxis.

If you truly (want to) believe that IVM works, the inability by the pro-IVM church to conduct a high quality CT must seem almost criminal…

I’ve beaten this dead horse over and over and I’m not willing to do it again.

The story you tell is BULLSHIT. It doesn’t work like that or I’d be handing it out like a party favor.

If any part of that story is true, it is that she had a fever and a bright red home test. That means she was 5 or 6 days into the infection right when it has crescendoed and us starting to resolve. We never see bright red home tests otherwise.

IVM did nothing and you got scammed.

Hi, all I know is that prior to that evening she was fine. I do have a picture of her test stick.

And once again Igor Chudov demonstrates he knows nothing relevant and writes nonsense.

If Igor Chudov had even the most rudimentary understanding of relevant scientific methods he would know that this exactly the sort of situation that absolutely demands double blind properly controlled randomized trials. These are the sort of trials that scientists evaluating drugs do because they don’t trust anyone, themselves included, to be completely free of bias which can compromise the apparent validity of the results of testing. Of course not all interventions can be evaluated using blinded RCTs and sometimes other methods are required, but even then very great care, arguably greater care, is necessary in order to come to valid conclusions.

But Igor Chudov knows no science. Igor Chudov writes nonsense. Igor Chudov must be a contrarian in order to attract traffic to his website.


Just before Christmas ’22 I had COVID.
Late Sunday, minor sore throat.
Monday afternoon, developed a cough so took a test – positive.
Late Monday night (around midnight – 1am), fever.
Tuesday morning, no fever but exhausted (being awake half the night might have contributed).
Tired for 2-3 days.
Cough for another week.

A remarkably similar progression to your wife’s, however I did not take any ivermectin.

How can you be sure that the ivermectin was the cause of her recovery?

It is impossible to be totally sure because this involves counterfactual reasoning. But the timing was amazing. In just a couple of hours the temperature was gone.

Glad your wife is well now!

Interesting: whatever topic is being discussed you have a personal anecdote for:

vaccines causing death? You know a relative who died “immediately” [or a few days, your story changed] after a vaccine
ivermectin doesn’t work? You have “first hand” stories that you claim indicate it does

I wonder what subject you’ll invent a personal story for next? Bigfoot sightings? UFOs? The Loch Ness Monster?

Really igor, your constant bullshit output is remarkable.

Hi, you are a naive individual who suffers from misplaced trust. You trust people you should not be trusting and are suspicious of run of the mill personal anecdotes.

I do not care if you trust me or not or whether you choose to believe my stories or not. I have nothing to sell to you. Numerous people used ivermectin at this point and the fact that a vaccine skeptic used ivermectin should not surprise you so much.

the fact that a vaccine skeptic used ivermectin should not surprise you so much.

It doesn’t — I know you folks are among the dullest blades in the butter knife drawer. My post was just another comment on your repeated lies and [probably, in my opinion] completely made up experiences.

You trust people you should not be trusting

Who, the thousands of scientists and researchers who have the expertise and equipment to study the issues and reached conclusions based on their own work and the work of others? That’s how rational people start — but we know you are far from a rational person.

and are suspicious of run of the mill personal anecdotes.

First, given their content and your history doubting your stories is the wise move. Second — anecdotes are not data as they are not verifiable and are based on personal opinion rather than any systematic investigation. The fact that you think being “suspicious of run of the mill personal anecdotes” is a bad thing simply comes from your complete lack of understanding of science and statistics.

@ Igor Chudov

Numerous people use all kinds of supplements and claim they help despite numerous well-done research studies. Numerous people believe they were helped by spiritualists, Reiki, etc. And numerous people believe the absolutely absurd QAon.

So, your anecdotal information is MEANINGLESS.

As I’ve pointed out over and over, you have given absolutely NO indication you understand even the most basic immunology, microbiology, infectious diseases (e.g., viruses), or epidemiology (how one studies spread of diseases, etc.), so your opinion is worthless.

One major point: all illnesses have both an objective set of data (called signs) and subjective experiences (called symptoms). If someone is ill, anything they believe is helping them can help lower their subjective experiences. Even levels of experienced pain can be lowered with placebos, not ended; but lowered, so, if someone believes ivermectin is helping them, then their subjective experiences can improve somewhat.


I trust my own experience with ivermectin, guy. I don’t give a damn what Fauci says anymore than I care what Koury says. I watched two patients die on a vent with those stupid IVM blister packs in their belongings nearby. I have about a half dozen, real-world clinical experiences like this. Go back and read my past comments I’m not going into it again.

If it worked, I’d have a bucket of pills on my desk ready for distribution.

@ MedicalYeti

So, just like antivaxxers you base judgments on Post Hoc Ergo Propter Hoc. Since most COVID patients did NOT die, it is also likely that had you given ivermectin to some, they would have lived.

I trust first and foremost placebo-controlled double-blinded clinical trials; but can accept weaker designs if a number of independent studies found same conclusions. And there are a few diseases that are so deadly that any intervention that prevents death should be accepted; e.g., rabies.

And there are a few diseases that are so deadly that any intervention that prevents death should be accepted; e.g., rabies.

I know this is far afield but it relates to the only chuckle I’ve ever gotten from seeing the word rabies.

One of my cycling buddies from RAGBRAI lives in rural Iowa. About 10 years ago he was roaming around in his woods, didn’t see an adult raccoon until he stumbled into it, and it went after his leg: chewed him pretty good, a good sign that it was sick [it got away so he didn’t have it to get it tested].

He got treated and sent me an email saying

I’m now getting “prophylactic” rabies shots. And that sentence names to things I never thought I’d need at my age.

Hey Joel,

That’s fair; I think we are up against a conundrum that is something like idealized vs practical action. Ideally, we would have all the data from rigorous trials behind everything we do in medicine. We don’t. SSRIs are a good example. They have efficacy. We don’t totally understand the mechanism. I have countless examples of patients whose life was changed, regardless.

For starters, I do not now nor would I ever have seen IVM as a replacement for a vaccine or a legit therapeutic. If IVM had shown any possible benefit, would I have used it?

Rewind to 2020/2021.

We had a novel pathogen that was not behaving exactly like previous coronaviruses. We have no therapeutics and were essentially providing life support for the worst cases. We had no vaccine and one was months off. We had severe cases coming out of our ears, no beds, nowhere to transfer patients, no help from the government, no end in sight.

Most importantly: The information coming out of China/Italy/NY early in the pandemic was either unreliable, unsourced, nonsense, inconsistent with what we saw, or hyperbole predictive of the worst public health disaster of the last 1000 years.

If there was any chance IVM could have helped patients make it to their next birthday, that grandnephew’s piano recital next week, their daughter’s wedding; hell, just see and enjoy one last sunrise surrounded by family who loved them I would have used it. Period. That’s the practical part of medicine that gets ignored nowadays a lot in primary care.

It is a pretty low risk proposition, even at the doses Koury was using. Would I have cared if I understood the mechanism behind it? Hell no. I would have cared that it aided recovery or warded off serious illness. Alas, it does not.

For those confused: IT DOES NOT. It DOES NOT help grandma make it to that recital. In fact, I have seven documented cases where a nearly-ironclad argument could be made that it did the opposite because someone sold poor grandma a bill of goods and she didn’t get vaccinated.

I hope that explains my position better. This was a practical matter in the midst of a disaster. Luckily the decision to not use it was easy. The same cannot be said for what went on with HCQ and remdesivir.

I’m just a layperson, here.

An antivaxxer I know took ivermectin for her Covid and wound up with long Covid instead of being cured. Yes, an anecdote, but noteworthy to me.

I have read too many posts at the Herman Cain Awards profiling antivaxxers who believed in ivermectin and wound up with the award of a lifetime.

The most militant and obnoxious advocate I personally know (not a public figure) for ivermectin suggests that doctors are Nazis and deserve a show trial. When asked if he understands that the studies that showed ivermectin was effective against Covid had been faked or were otherwise very low quality, he just throws out word salads devoid of evidence. If the facts do not conform to the theory they must be disposed of.

Meanwhile, Trump, DeSantis, the Republican leadership, etc. all got fully vaccinated as quickly as they could. It’s the lower level and rank-and-file Republicans who suffered for the cause.

Actually you trust antvaxxers. This is a much bigger problem.
CICP will pay compensation for COVID vaccine injuries. Why all these people (or relatives) would not make a claim ?

Last time I heard, not one Covid vaccine victim was compensated.

==> Feds Pay Zero Claims For Covid-19 Vaccine Injuries/Deaths (Forbes)

I hope that some day all will get compensated, and big trials will be underway.


The latest information you have in from 2021? How much time did you spend searching? Are you unable to find current data, or don’t you care?
Do you often resort to the citing of partial facts to make science ‘exiting’?

The CICP sucks. When the emergency declaration ends, injuries related to the Covid-19 vaccines may be compensated under the VICP which is a better process, but that might require adding them to the recommended vaccine schedule.

Perhaps Dorit Reiss could advise on that?

There is a huge backlog of claims, many of them for something besides the vaccines. A relative few have been decided and compensation is being adjudicated for those.

The Australian scheme for COVID vaccine injury compensation paid out AUD937,000 (about USD650000) for the 2021-22 financial year (Jul 2021-Jun 2022), which would be for about 47 people if they all got the maximum AUD20000 payout (the minimum payout is AUD1000, so no more than 937 people).

More than 68 million COVID vaccine doses have been administered in Australia.

Ignore the headline in the News.Com article – the 80-fold “blowout” in cost is the “blowout” from what was actually spent in FY2021-22, to the federal budget’s provision for possible payment in FY2022-23. We won’t know the actual spend for 2023 until after the end of June this year.

I don’t trust people. I trust randomized, double blinded, placebo controlled, peer-reviewed trials.

If I trusted anecdotes, I’d have to talk to everyone who took Ivermectin and died anyway. I’m not smart enough to do that.

If we are interested in anecdotes, here is mine.

Last July, Mrs P. brought COVID-19 home from school and infected me. She did a precautionary test on Sunday and tested positive. I tested positive on Monday with mild symptoms. By Tuesday afternoon I was running a fever and had a poor night, Tuesday night. By Wednesday afternoon I was feeling better with almost no symptoms.

I took no ivermectin. Instead I treated the symptoms with paracetamol and a decongestant.

@ Everyone

Please correct me if I am wrong. My understanding is that SARS-CoV-2 enters cells in two ways: receptor-mediated endocytosis and cell membrane fusion. Ivermectin does block receptor-mediated endocytosis; but given any cell is “attacked” by numerous virions, blocking one or two does no good as the many others will still gain entry. By analogy, imagine someone puts a strong lock on their backdoor; but nothing to reinforce windows and front door, so a team of burglars come to break into house, so, one at backdoor fails but others succeed.

As for Igor Chudov, given his many past comments, nothing he says has any credibility. However, it is possible by sheer chance that someone infected with COVID could start improving just when given ivermectin; but same improvement would have occurred had no ivermectin been given. Typical possibility of Post Hoc Ergo Propter Hoc; but not if Chudov claims it.


It was late at night when I wrote the above. I double checked this morning and early studies did find some action by Ivermectin on receptor-mediated endocytosis; but later ones found NO benefit. In addition, direct cell membrane fusion not the case. It is a fusion part of spike protein. Oh well, should have done my homework. So, ignore my comment above

In any case, Igor Chudov is completely wrong about ivermectin, that is, if he is even telling the truth about what he experienced???

Exactly-in real humans out in the world exposed to or infected with covid it does nada.

There ARE two potential modes of entry of SARS-CoV-2 into cells. Both rely on attachment of the virion to the cell with the spike protein binding to ACE2 receptor sites.

In some ACE2-bearing host cells the spike protein can be cleaved with the cellular enzyme transmembrane protease, serine 2 (TMPRSS2, tempress two) that is expressed at the surface of the cell. That leads change in the conformation of the spike protein, allowing it to “pull” the virion down to intimate contact with the cell membrane and fusion of the viral and cell membranes.That lets the viral RNA enter the cell. This is what happens in human respiratory cells.
There is a nice animation of this by Dr. Janet Iwasa at
(narrator says “sars cahv two” – virtually every virologist I’ve heard discussing the virus says “sars coe vee two”)

In cells that don’t express TMPRSS2, endocytosis follows attachment. The intact virus is contained in the endosome, still attached to the membrane of the endosome by the viral spike. Once the pH in the endosome has been reduced from about 7 to about 5 by pumping in protons, cathepsin L cleaves the spike allowing the viral membrane to fuse with the endosome’s membrane and releasing the viral RNA so it can be transported to the appropriate site.

Hydroxychloroquine interferes with cathepsin, so it can block entry but only in cells that don’t express TMPRSS2 at their surface. Vero cells were used in some early work with SARS-CoV-2 and HCQ and they don’t express TMPRSS2. Since respiratory epithelia in humans do express TMPRSS2 there is no hope of HCQ preventing SARS-CoV-2 infection.

My understanding (and I could be wrong) is that there is precisely one situation in which ivermectin will actually, provably, help someone with Covid, and lead to measurably better results.

It’s when someone also has a worm infection that would normally be treated with ivermectin anyway but is currently in remission, and has a serious enough Covid infection to require steroid treatments. The problem is that the steroids can sometimes ‘wake up’ the previous infection and make it active again, and so the person needs to be put back on ivermectin to keep the original infection from doing more damage.

So ivermectin will help for a particular small subset of people who were probably prescribed it in the past but aren’t necessarily taking it now, but for the vast majority of the population it will do absolutely nothing useful. That was just enough to show a preliminary signal in some parts of the world where such infections are more common, just like hydroxychloroquine showed a preliminary signal because people prescribed it for autoimmune disorders were going to be doubly careful when a new disease was running around.

Very much a correlation does not equal causation thing. Sometimes A doesn’t cause B, but instead there’s a third unmentioned C that caused both A and B.

Hi Joel

I think you are confusing IVM with (hydroxy)-chloroquine. This latter one does stop one point of entry, for Sars-Cov1.
In cell culture, on monkey cells, using a dose at least 10 times the normal dose in human.
It’s from the infamous study back during the Sars-cov1 epidemics.
Vincent MJ,et al. Chloroquine is a potent inhibitor of SARS coronavirus infection and spread. Virol J. 2005. doi: 10.1186/1743-422X-2-69. PMID: 16115318

(infamous for being taken by contrarians, not for any fault on the authors’ part).

Sars-Cov2, the little devil, does circunvent HCQ by having two points of entry.
AFAIK, IVM may have been hypothesized to block one entry point, but that one didn’t even have a good cell culture study to support that idea.

@ Igor:

I looked at your Substack. I won’t criticise it but will provide a more global outlook.

As you may know, I follow alt med/ anti-vax/ contrarians over many years that I discuss here. Contrarians get views/ likes/ subscriptions as well as customers by opposing consensus opinion and general information, thereby often declaring professionals/ consensus rather useless. That is their brand. It attracts particular people. They cater to certain audiences.
A few examples:
— Bill Maher, a libertarian, has moved to the right: he echoes themes reiterated by Conservatives ( anti-woke, anti-CRT, anti-transitioning kids, anti-university, anti-Covid mandates, etc). A while ago, he mentioned that Joe Rogan has many millions of followers and colleges no longer hire him as a comedian – he ain’t woke. So he has skin in the game.
— Mike Adams ( Natural News) used to be just a natural health guy but has shifted towards more political ideas like gun rights, survivalism, farming, religion, taxes. He used to be a proud Midwesterner but now parades his roots as a Southerner. He despises cities and city dwellers. Mike sells survivalist products, foods, supplements and has paid sponsors who sell precious metals, gun parts, real estate, satellite phones. His broadcasts contain many dog whistles that appeal to conservatives. He understands his audience and its anger and fear.
— Gary Null is an old time natural health advocate and provocateur who opposes most of SBM habitually: if research says X, he’ll scream, ” NOT X!”. He produces a shitload of products that include vegan ingredients and mega-vitamins as well as films, books, on-line seminars, health retreats and general rabble rousing. (Hiv/ aids denialism, anti-psychiatry, anti-SBM, veganism, back-to-nature, organic farming, anti-government etc.)
— RFK jr is an environmental lawyer turned anti-vaxxer. He capitalises upon parents’ fears about children’s health frightening them about vaccines, 5G, ‘toxic’ foods and many other concerns.
Like Adams and Null, he also has a charity that funds his activities.
— Del Bigtree is an actor/ television producer turned anti-vaxxer who follows RFK jr’s lead. His charity funds legal actions and information requests.

All of these people make money by being contrarians although they castigate professionals for making money. More than money, they also receive adulation and serve as role models for followers who echo them, emulating their ideas: for every big name anti-vaxxer, there are dozens of anti-vax parents ( mothers mostly) who attend protests, use social media, speak publicly, advise others and write books.

To get followers, they need to say more and more outrageous things, competing with each other. So they may start saying that vaccines don’t work well and end up saying that vaccines KILL. Researchers in the UK and AUS have illustrated that certain personalities are attracted to anti-vax and conspiratorial thinking as I’ve written here myriad times. They’re special, not common, ahead of the curve. Writers thus court these potential followers by opposing the current state of SBM, premiering the nouvelle vague. Before anyone else. Each a Galileo.
It’s a bitch though to present strong data so they leave that out and settle for scraps .

I address you because I feel that you can do better. Orac directly responds to you as do other regulars who are expert. However, I don’t know if quoting them would lead to having more followers on Substack.
I often ask contrarians if their pet theory is taught anywhere at accredited universities, so far, no one has ever answered, “yes”. Maybe that’s why many of them hate universities.

Denice, thank you for your thoughtful reply. Audience capture, influence of money, and shark jumping are all real phenomena. I often ask myself if I am a grifter. (and maybe I am – I cannot make a good judgment on this).

I just do my best and write about what I am interested in, as long as I think that my readers would also be interested.

I am not super naive and I do realize that money or quests for fame are driving many people in antivax space, like anywhere else, but I just try to stay out of discussing that as much as possible as I do not like conflicts.

I try not to write anything that I believe to be false. I do dramatize some things.

One of my schticks on my substack is that Covid is much worse than many antivaxxers and now health authorities believe and the excess mortality we are seeing is only a small glimpse of much worse waves we will see in the future. Covid is only beginning.

The recent MSNBC appearance of Yasmin Vossoughian who had a mild “cold” and a couple of weeks later had pericarditis and myocarditis, is a perfect example of how sudden deaths happen, except Yasmin fortunately is still with us. Her cold was likely covid, that seemed mild, except it was not.

If you did not yet see her 7-minute story, it is worth seeing.

==> Yasmin Vossoughian opens up about health scare

Denice, also, I do listen to many thoughts I hear on this forum. Orac’s critical evaluations of some antivax thoughts led me to decide to NOT pursue discussing them on my substack.

You have never thought that dull scientific facts do not sell in Substack but end is nigh is a huge hit ?

The art is to take dull scientific facts and explain why they are actually exciting scientific facts. For example, a dull sounding article accidentally proved Covid vaccine shedding. (adults got vaccinated but children developed immunity also)

And you,of course do not cite that article. As you stae it, I can imagine any number oif other explanations.
You should first understand the paper.

I’d bet big money that the paper Igor Chudov says “proved” something does no such thing. Rather I think it orders of magnitude more likely that, once again, Igor Chudov lacks the basic knowledge to comprehend what he read. Of course Chudov’s lack of knowledge and understanding don’t deter him from writing “explainer” posts for his readers who know even less than he does.

I’m not sure if that not discussing every anti-vax theory is as ‘admirable’ as you think it is. Especially as you seem to do every effort to avoid correcting your readers, or support those who try to.

You may believe that you’re not naive, but citing those three ‘estimates’ without questioning them does not seem indicative of the critical thinker you think you are.
For example, you seem convinced by Fabian Spieker’s ‘estimate’ (or guess), but when I tried to point out the obvious problems to your friend, he seemed to take offense. Maybe he’s worried that his readers won’t take him seriously, if they understand how problematic his model is. Like many anti-vaxxers, he finds it much better to just ignore criticisms…

Interesting. I possibly missed some of the discussions on his substack. Anyway, I appreciate skeptical voices and such on mine.

Really? I hope that you’ll understand if I don’t believe you.
How many skeptical voices are there on your substack?

The role making money plays for these people varies. RFKJ would be doing what he does even if he needed to deplete his inherited fortune in the process. Money is a means to an end, and different folks will have somewhat different ends for seeking it.

Let me suggest the most important aspects of these professional alties are how they serve as avatars for their followers. The followers are shelling out $$, not raking it in, so what exactly are they buying? To pull from your comment I’d say they’re buying validation and reinforcement for “opposing consensus opinion and general information, thereby often declaring professionals/ consensus rather useless”. But we ought to unpack that a bit more, try to understand why some people want that. The best answer IMHO is that this is a (subconscious) empowerment strategy — ’empowerment’ being an etymologically odd term that means not a gain of actual material power, but a feeling of being in charge of one’s own life.

Thus we might see the relationship between ‘leaders’ and their followers here in terms of slippage or conflation between power and empowerment. Whether these celebrities get money or adulation or not, they do get forms of power, measures of personal authority, from amassing an audience. Take Maher, for example. If his popularity slips, he might lose the clout to do his show the way he wants, or maybe lose the show altogether, becoming a ‘has been’ no longer gathering all the little positive reinforcements he gets from the deference the people he interacts with throughout his everyday life show him as a ‘star’.

This general framework doesn’t directly account for the phenomena of acceleration toward extremism in general and movement toward the reactionary right in particular. That, I’ll suggest, is a function of the larger context, specifically the forces leading those followers to feel disempowered, and actually more subjected than acting subjects as well. While this may seem illogical in one light, in another it’s perfectly reasonable: the easiest path to empowerment is one that reinforces the actual powers that be, rather than risk challenging them. Thus, via largely unconscious processing, we get the either twisted or totally upside-down fantasies of who the bad guys are promoted in conspiracy theories.

@ sadmar:

Of course, you’re right.
Many ASD antivax parents feel cheated out of having a perfect child and lash out at the doctors who “robbed” them via vaccine injury: they experience lack of agency and stigmatisation because of their children’s disability. In truth, many have awful lives as caretakers/ intermediaries. Warrior moms strike back attempting to claw back a measure of control in any manner possible. They assume roles as advisers to naive parents to warn and save them. A few wrangle minor careers out of their involvement in the movement as a substitute for the possible career long term caretaking replaced. They write books and speak publicly as feminists and persecuted minorities.

Reactionaries’ supporters seek to return to a position of power that they never really had in an idyllic past that was largely fictional. So they align with conservatives who tell them that the problem is those people not the already wealthy/ powerful. Actually, from what I read, “bad guys” isn’t just a song but people like us. Me especially.

RFK jr has loads of money and property so wealth isn’t the main lure: he wants to be a saviour and his past precludes him seeking high office like his family so…. he’ll save children from death, destruction and vaccines.

Update: while right-wingers gloat over a federal judge blocking California’s law empowering the state medical board to go after docs who misinform patients about Covid-19 treatment/vaccination, the Washington Medical Board has formally charged pathologist Ryan Cole with similar conduct.

Meantime, the GOP-controlled House of Representatives is set to vote on overturning the CMS mandate on Covid-19 vaccination for health care workers at facilities receiving Medicare or Medicaid funds (the bill doesn’t have a chance to get through the Senate and be signed into law by Biden). The proposal would also ban any future vaccine mandates for health care workers.

Bacon, you’re a path doc, right? From the article: “Cole, a pathologist whose specialty does not involve direct patient-care experience”

Is that true? I had a friend who went into path who said she ran the blood bank and had a couple of other weekly patient encounters…

No, the article overstated it. Pathologists as you noted do head blood banks and may see patients in conjunction with their responsibilities; some also run plasmapheresis units and have direct contact with patients that way.

In my days in academic medicine I frequently was called to clinics to perform fine needle aspirates on patients with superficial masses. Rarely, a patient would come by my office or call to discuss their path findings.

The problem with Ryan Cole is that he’s supposed to have prescribed drugs for patients with Covid-19 via a website. Whether that involved in–person or telehealth visits, he’d be way out of his lane.

Incidentally, I spotted this website, which suggests he may have political ambitions:

It’s a bit short on particulars. Maybe it’s a placeholder for now.

Article in the NYT today on certain vax makers charging Gavi, the umbrella agency of COVAX, over a billon dollars for shots they never delivered and are no longer needed. Gavi apparently didn’t have the clout to negotiate better contracts at the start of the pandemic. So the pharmas fulfilled all the orders for the higher paying first world nations first, not getting around to shipping to COVAX until well past the crest of the wave. So Gavi asked for refunds or adjustments on their pre-payments. The different vax makers all responded differently, along a spectrum from pro-social accommodation of the global health non-profit to scummy unethical profiteering – the later being exemplified somewhat to my surprise not by Pfizer but J&J.

It would be nice if the pharma execs stopped giving fuel to the antivaxers and other conspiracy theorists by cleaning up their act, but too many of them are just naked greedheads. You’d think after being exposed for opioid pushing, J&J would want to avoid another scenario in which they appear as amoral money-grubbing ghouls… but you’d be wrong.

I don’t disagree. I keep saying that it’s possible to accept that vaccines are safe and effective AND that pharmaceutical companies can, with distressing frequency, be totally unethical greedheads.

@ Orac

I’m sure you are aware of attempt to charge $800 for insulin and even now charge up to $400, even though cost to produce probably around $10. I wonder if antivaxxers believe insulin is worthless?

And I’m confident that many antivaxxers purchase supplements and alternative meds that have NOT been researched and also produced at minimal costs; yet make huge profits.

You know, manufacturing coss are only part of total cotss. Add the overheads

Why would we trust “totally unethical greedheads”, their fake trials, their sponsored press, their captured regulators, well compensated scientists, etc?

If they have a “consensus” based on big money passed around, and anyone who disagrees is silenced, is that a true consensus?

Why wasn’t there ever a successful vaccine against any coronavirus?

Why wasn’t there ever a successful mRNA product?

Why no insta-made vaccine ever succeeded?

How sure are we that “it is safe and effective”? 100% sure? Or just 95% sure? Or 90% sure?

Why would we trust “totally unethical greedheads”, their fake trials, their sponsored press, their captured regulators, well compensated scientists, etc?

No one is asking anyone to. That’s why we have the FDA.

If they have a “consensus” based on big money passed around, and anyone who disagrees is silenced, is that a true consensus?

Good thing, then, that there’s lots of science to back up the safety and efficacy of the COVID-19 vaccines.

Why wasn’t there ever a successful vaccine against any coronavirus?

Good thing there’s a first time for everything, and that’s what we have now for COVID-19, multiple successful vaccines.

Why no insta-made vaccine ever succeeded?

Probably because we didn’t have mRNA technology before. This was truly a serendipitous thing. Scientists had been working on mRNA-based vaccines for over a decade before the pandemic hit, and the technology had just reached the stage where it was ready right around the time the pandemic hit. If the pandemic had hit a few years (or even a couple of years) earlier, the path to a vaccine would not have been nearly as quick.

How sure are we that “it is safe and effective”? 100% sure? Or just 95% sure? Or 90% sure?

Nothing in medicine is ever absolutely 100% other than the contention that we all someday die of something. That being said, I’d say we’re pretty damned close to 100% sure, so much so that for all intents and purposes it can be treated as 100%.

Why wasn’t there ever a successful vaccine against any coronavirus?

Prior to the appearance of SARS-CoV-2 there were only ever two known coronaviruses sufficiently seriously pathogenic to humans to warrant development of a vaccine.

SARS-CoV-1 appeared quite suddenly in humans. It was highly virulent but not very transmissible (infected people became very sick very quickly and were taken out of circulation). Work began on vaccines but swift non-pharmaceutical measures pretty quickly ended the comparatively small outbreaks and the virus effectively “disappeared.” Funding to finish the trials on at least one vaccine that was had all the earmarks of being both safe and effective dried up. Even if funding continued it probably would have been nearly impossible to complete satisfactory phase 3 trials. One of the things often overlooked in the time taken for phase 3 trials is the opportunity to reach trial design endpoints. With the COVID-19 vaccines not much time was required because the disease was vigorously and widely circulating. It was easy to recruit and utilize large numbers of trial participants and it didn’t take long gather large amounts of data to meet trial design endpoints. If a disease isn’t circulating, as might be the case with small and/or sporadic outbreaks (e.g. ebola) or has “disappeared” (e.g. SARS-CoV-1) it might take years or be impossible to get enough data to warrant confidence.

The other coronavirus of serious interest is MERS-CoV. There is a vaccine against it for camels. Almost every human case of MERS has been the result of direct spillover from a camel to a human and the total number of cases in humans has been small. There are vaccines in development.

It really isn’t worth the effort to try to develop vaccines against the four common cold cornaviruses if the objective is to prevent colds. Those four account for about a quarter of colds. In all about 200 viruses/serovars cause colds. Work on common cold corona vaccines could be instructive from a scientific perspective but I suspect funding would be nearly impossible to secure.

There has been talk of trying to develop a pan-corona vaccine. It won’t be easy or quick.

“Why wasn’t there ever a successful mRNA product?”

Because it just teaches the cells to make a protein. It degrades quickly. If there was a way to get it to force cells to KEEP making that protein (Like some boneheads claim it does) it would be tremendously valuable for other conditions.

mRNA tells cellular machinery to make a protein for a couple days, essentially. Vaccines are a unique, elegant use of this technology.

Scientists are not well paid. Most involved in basic research are paid by universities, and NIH and various foundations fund lots of research. Pharmaceutical companies are mainly interested in product development.

I feel that we are all getting closer and begin to see each others’ points after having polite, but vigorous discussions. This is what a good forum such as this one, accomplishes.

They “appear as amoral money-grubbing ghouls” because they are exactly that, with aggressive CEOs lacking conscience, and marketing divisions designed to push unsuitable products at the expense of recipients.

What about 171 million doses of bivalent boosters ordered and paid for by the US government? Less than a quarter of that amount was actually used.

They “appear as amoral money-grubbing ghouls”

Because that’s what capitalism and our [US] shitty health care “system” demands them to be.

What’s the motivation for your repeated lies about things Igor?

I lay most of the blame for the pharmaceutical industry taking large profits at the feet of what I call the money changers.

The pharmaceutical industry has been identified by the “investment” world as one where non-workers can expect to be paid lots of money for not doing any work. This creates intense pressure on phama execs to keep the cash rolling in and the dividends rolling out to the non-workers.

From my point of view, the issue is the terrible arguments used by anti-vaxxers rather than the integrity of Big Pharma management.

So proud of their theories that rely almost entirely on personal assumptions from cherry picked data.

Part of the issue is not everyone has a valid opinion on everything at all times. Your YouTube views and Google searches do not make you able to understand things better than legitimate experts. If someone wants to have a “vigorous debate” with me to convince me Qanon is real, I’m under no obligation to take that person seriously or even give them a second more of my time. The same goes for “The vaccines kill thousands!” Or “they’re putting a microchip in them.”

When there is sewage spewing from a pipe in the basement, I’m calling a plumber. I won’t “do my own research.” I won’t argue with him or her about plumbing. Covid was a proverbial broken shit pipe.

But that plumber may be part of the Big Pipe conspiracy, so it is far better to do your own research and find someone who is not in the pocket of Big Pipe. /s

I find that a naturally sourced rock jammed in the pipe with some clay (blessed by a shamen) soon sorts out the leak. Then a hole dug in the garden prevents overflow. Plumbing expert? Pah!

“But that plumber may be part of the Big Pipe conspiracy, so it is far better to do your own research and find someone who is not in the pocket of Big Pipe.”
Or the ducts, it is always the ducts.
(Brazil reference)

“They “appear as amoral money-grubbing ghouls””

That’s not a nice thing to say about Substackers malevolently grifting off false Covid-19 narratives.

But very accurate.

What about 171 million doses of bivalent boosters ordered and paid for by the US government? Less than a quarter of that amount was actually used.

Oh, look, you’ve discovered the oldest fact about public health: You can’t win. Responses are effectively always going to be too much or too little.

So, what about them?

@ Igor Chudov

You write: “What about 171 million doses of bivalent boosters ordered and paid for by the US government? Less than a quarter of that amount was actually used.”

And I was one of those who got the bivalent boosters and we have seen upticks in hospitalizations and deaths, especially among those who either didn’t get vaccinated at all or got vaccinated too long ago, failing to get a booster. Given your immense stupidity, you ignore the fact that the current variants of COVID-19 could mutate even more and those who got boosters will be better protected.

You write: “They “appear as amoral money-grubbing ghouls” because they are exactly that, with aggressive CEOs lacking conscience, and marketing divisions designed to push unsuitable products at the expense of recipients.”

You could say that about CEOs of many companies, including those who produce valuable products or worthless products. Of course, it is an absurd claim. Of course, CEOs goal is to make money and maybe some are amoral; but making a profit on something NEVER indicates its value. As I’ve written before, one can go into a supermarket and purchase potato chips, soft drinks, and candy or fresh fruit and vegetables; both produced by companies for profit.

I’m wondering if you have been or are currently being treated by a psychiatrist or psychologist for paranoid delusions or the like?

As for too much boosters, this is a problem with government acions.Demand was overestimated.

Reading over these comments, I think about the role of confabulation in altie/ woo narrative.
( Actually, I just read an autobio by my SO’s relative created to impress her rightie car club friends in her gated community: she wrote of her encounters with cars over 70+ years that show her importance as a driver, “racer” and “collector”, leaving out irrelevant details like her job, her daughter who doesn’t speak to her, two divorces and moving around multiple states. Lots about cars though starting with “driving” at age 5.)

Alties do this too:
they list their experiences and qualifications to fit the situation: if viruses are a hot topic, they’ll bend reality to explain how their “research” explained viral activity 30 years ago and how they cured viral illnesses in their “patients”. Sceptic C0nc0rdance once made a video examining the many ‘careers’ and ‘triumphs’ of Gary Null ( ” Gary Null is the Kent Hovind..”) that are presented without outside validation- his work in a “lab”, being director of a charity, teaching in universities, speaking at the UN, inventing many life saving treatments, running a medical facility, winning many awards, acquiring many degrees HOWEVER all of the references rely only upon his own sites. No wonder he hates Wikipedia.

Similarly, their anecdotes rely upon unverifiable material and change with the wind. If a doctor becomes well known like Dr Fauci, the altie knew them decades ago when they “killed” hiv/aids patients and advocated for deadly vaccines or meds. Altie “cures” include testimonies and “data” that could be just as manufactured as their ersatz degrees. Their studies include hard to verify conditions or subjective assessments although they claim outside surveillance ( by like minded alties).

People relate to stories and can invent them easily to fit highly redundant formats: the Brave Maverick who discovers the Cure, the persecuted Truth Teller who stands up to Corporate Power, the humble Researcher who breaks the Pharma Cartel’s Iron Grip on medicine, the Brilliant Investigator who uncovers Governmental Dirt, Warrior Moms Who RULE! and are eventually recognised by Everyone ( Capital letters designate IMPORTANCE).

I know a guy who took Ivermectin and was cured!

Of the intestinal parasites he picked up doing field work in sub-Saharan Africa.

Also: Love the Zappa reference.

Also too, and most importantly: Orac, I hope your family medical emergency has a good outcome.

Thank you. I’ll do a progress report in a day or two, without actually giving much detail because, dammit, antivaxxers don’t need to know my personal business other than the bare minimum that I can communicate to let my longtime readers know what’s happening and why I backed away from the blog.

Orac, feel free to delete this response and not approve it.

Do NOT share anything that may be spread all over social networks with the nastiest of comments, especially if it involves a loved one.

Thanks for another fascinating article.

Hoping your family emergency resolves safely and successfully.


Aarno made a great comment yesterday about what sells on Substack.

The lure of contrarianism involves easy self-elevation to a lofty position high about the everyday grind of research and study to a place where alleged experts can cancel professionals’ hard work and informed opinions immediately and irrevocably … they think.

I just listened to a mathematician who believes that current Covid science is as flawed as SBM about hiv/ aids. She has a book coming out on soon. ( Rebecca Culshaw; Progressive Commentary Hour, Tuesday, It seems she’s been at this for a while since Tara Smith interviewed her on Science Blogs in 2006. She asserts that the same pattern is happening now with Covid as happened with hiv: experts are wrong about nearly every detail AND many of the same people are involved, serving their Pharma masters, harming the population for money.

I imagine that most people will agree with the broad outlines of hiv/ aids SBM: there is a retrovirus that causes the destruction of the immune system leading to opportunistic infections, a variety of cancers and usually, death. In the past 30 years, ARVs have been developed that interfere with progression. I have no idea how many people are hiv/ aids denialists today who doubt those facts but I assume that is lower than the number of anti-vaxxers/ Covid denialists.

HOWEVER, what I write above would not be very popular on Substack ( Culshaw has an account) because it is too realistic. FACT frequently does not play well because fantasy, fan fiction and outright BS are more exciting and stimulating.

@ Igor Chudov

In your immense delusional approach to vaccines, you don’t understand that pharmaceutical companies make much more profit on drugs that have to be used continuously; e.g., statins, insulin, drugs for autoimmune disorders, immunodeficiencies; etc. And you ignore that antivaxxers such as Joseph Mercola, estimated to be worth $100 million, made it selling alternative and complementary medicines, lacking any serious scientific evaluations and, even including overhead, are much much cheaper to produce. I guess you don’t consider antivaxxers selling products lacking any scientific support are amoral or worse? My suggestion to you is if you ever get seriously sick, refuse and and all medications, since the manufacturers sell them for a profit.

In fact, the drugs used for hospitalized covid patients make higher profits per dose than vaccines.

@David regarding CICP. Another poster brought up this current link:

Turns out that I was right, no claims were paid.

Zero claims paid out, 14 “pending benefits determination”

Has the CICP Made Any Decisions Regarding COVID-19 Claims?
As of January 1, 2023, the CICP has rendered decisions on 496 COVID-19 claims.

CICP Data for COVID-19 Claims (As of January 1, 2023)
Total COVID-19 CICP Claims Filed: 11,065

Pending Review or In Review: 10,569
Decisions: 496
Eligible for Compensation and Pending Benefits Determination: 14
Denied: 482
Requested Medical Records Not Submitted: 39
Standard of Proof Not Met and/or Covered Injury Not Sustained: 81
Missed Filing Deadline:104
Not CICP Covered Product/Not Specified: 258

I have a feeling that the CICP needs actual evidence rather than the ‘on the list or slightly better than 50:50’ of the VICP.

Should be good practice for those who want to bypass the VICP and go straight to court with the manufacturers.

I had a similar thought. Maybe the reason there have been so few payouts is, shocking I know, because the vaccines are safe…

Turns out that I was right, no claims were paid.

The link reports 30 compensated claims today, just as it did last week.

^ Sorry, I was being a (just risen) dope and forgot Table 1 — 7780 vaccine-related claims, no payouts yet.

As always, you miscite. It is actually “Eligible for Compensation and Pending Benefits Determination.” You forget “Egible for compensation”, that is claim was accepted.
You should check reasons of denials, too. Interesting thing here is
Standard of Proof Not Met and/or Covered Injury Not Sustained 81. Here is an actual dispute. You hardly can complain if you do not post meicaal records and no get compensation, i records are requested.
I do think that claims processing should be much faster.

I think that it’s more accurate to say that you were not wrong, and I hope that those who’s case was deemed eligible will receive assistance soon.
It’s interesting how many filed but did not submit medical records or for products not covered. The tables include 23 filings for ‘alleged injury/death’ related to Ivermectin use and 104 related to Hydroxychloroquine.

But I can’t fail to notice that you didn’t really respond to my actual statement, which referred to your citing a article from 2021. It was nice of ‘Another poster’ (squirrelelite and Aarno), but I would expect anyone to make an effort to make sure they are using current data…

I really enjoy Michigan [lived here all my life] and the Kalamazoo/Portage area is great, but every once in a while we’re reminded that the MI right has a vocal group of idiots. Don’t get me started on the local hullabaloo about Portage schools “indoctrinating students by teaching CRT from elementary through high school”.

Just as an FYI, things have settled down. Hopefully, they will have stabilized by next week and I can resume blogging, although I might do so before that if something really motivates me.

That is all.

@David how many skeptical voices are on my substack?

I am not sure, I know you are on it, which is great. I do recall some other posters.

There are also virus-deniers, who also count as skeptical voices, there is nothing I can do about them and I do nothing at all, except I do not put “likes” on their replies. Those people say that I am controlled opposition because I recognize existence of viruses. In response to any objections, they shoot volleys of bitchute videos.

I did delete some replies in the past, but those were only commercial spams.

I feel that lately, in the last month, there was a serious degradation of Covid discussions, utter crap posted everywhere etc.

Meanwhile excess mortality just peaked at over 40% in Germany around Christmas (Our World in Data excess mortality) and there is no investigation of this whatsoever. Just fact checks and stonewalling. Okay, they say it is not the vaccine. Fine. What is it that causes excess mortality? Silence

There’s no “silence.” We’ve explained this to you over and over. You won’t hear any explanation other than “vaccine.” Thanks for enthusiastically being a part of the problem.

@ Igor Chudov

You write: “Meanwhile excess mortality just peaked at over 40% in Germany around Christmas (Our World in Data excess mortality) and there is no investigation of this whatsoever. Just fact checks and stonewalling. Okay, they say it is not the vaccine. Fine. What is it that causes excess mortality? Silence”

You have ignored Orac’s well-written papers on the effectiveness of vaccines and you have ignored how I and others have refuted your past comments. I could waste time finding valid explanations for the excess mortality in Germany; but, just as I did the same in response to Ginny Stoner regarding excess mortality in US which she ignored, so will you.

You have made it absolutely clear that you are a rabid antivaxxer despite no knowledge or understanding that vaccines are simply applied immunology, a subject you know nothing about, nor do you understand microbiology, epidemiology, nor the history and current status of other vaccine-preventable diseases. Nothing will change your mind. If I supplied a valid referenced explanation for the above you would ignore it or, perhaps accept it; but in the future post more comments asking if something could be the vaccine.

As I suggested to Ginny Stoner, which I know she will ignore, check out Dr Susan Oliver website Back to the Science on YouTube. She is a well-published medical researcher and has posted a number of videos where she tears to shreds antivaxxer claims

@ Igor Chudov

You write: “Just fact checks and stonewalling. Okay, they say it is not the vaccine. Fine. What is it that causes excess mortality? Silence

“Stonewalling” “silence” and why do you use such extreme inaccurate language? Oh, it is typical of you. “Stonewalling” means intentionally withholding info. First, how do you know for sure they didn’t investigate and report, perhaps, only in a health department in German document? Kanst du deutsch verstehen? Of course, you can’t; but if you can doesn’t mean your search was accurate; but you love to use extremes of language based on your own fantasy world

And this is probably some people would have expected. Ivermectin is also used to treat children with autism.
Because if something is good for one thing, it must be good for everything and as we all know autism is caused by parasites./s Never heard this way of thinking, but well, of course someone had to think of this, because it can’t be genetic, so it must be something else.
I’m getting sick and tired of these people. Again another form of child abuse, because people are made to believe it helps there children.
First it was giving children industrial bleach, now it’s giving children something against parasites in animals. What will they think of next?

And they also seem to treat children with all kinds of other conditions as well, including Down syndrome and alopecia.

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