Censored doctors, as it turns out, were right
Last updated 3/1/2021 at 10:39am
We are hearing stories locally about people going to the hospital with COVID-19 and being told to return home with no treatment. If they get worse, they return to the hospital for treatment. This is opposite of what many frontline doctors, after treating thousands of patients, are telling us is the best way to treat COVID-19 patients.
A doctor friend of mine recently sent me an interview of another doctor in New York, Dr. Vladimir Zelenko. Zelenko has boasted a near 100% success rate treating 3,000 COVID-19 patients with hydroxychloroquine (HCQ), azithromycin and zinc sulfate for five days. He has only lost three patients out of 3000. His treatment is now called the Zelenko Protocol.
I prefer to listen to actual doctors who are on the frontlines treating patients than politicians or media people. The problem is that many doctors are being censored even though they have firsthand knowledge. They have had their hands tied politically by being threatened to have their licenses removed and their decisions for treatment questioned by pharmacists. I believe this is unprecedented and an overreach in the relationship between a patient and a doctor.
The first instance of censorship that I know about as it relates to COVID-19 and physicians were Drs. Dan Erickson and Artin Massihi, who own urgent care centers in California, including one in Temecula. From their observation, they were saying that the pandemic wasn’t as deadly as was being reported. They were shunned and their videos were removed as disinformation from social media. As it turns out they were correct.
Then there were the frontline doctors speaking out about hydroxychloroquine as a safe, inexpensive and available treatment. They were ridiculed and censored, although they had amazing personal experience in treating thousands of actual patients internationally.
Studies against hydroxychloroquine were cited which later were found to be phony but the damage had been done. A well-known drug offered over-the-counter in some countries and widely distributed had been discredited by U.S. politicians, agencies and media which could have been used to save hundreds of thousands of people, especially in the disadvantaged neighborhoods.
Instead, billions of taxpayer dollars were used to fund new experimental drugs and vaccines and many patients died in the interim. The winners were the pharmaceutical companies at the expense of seniors, the medically vulnerable, the disadvantaged poor and taxpayers.
On Dec. 8, 2020, I was watching Dr. Kory, a lung specialist who had personally treated over 1,500 COVID-19 patients, in the Senate hearings on COVID-19. Dr. Kory spoke about the success he had treating COVID-19 patients with Ivermectin, an inexpensive and available antiparasitic drug that has been available since 1975. He was just asking for the NIH to review his immense amounts of data, 30 studies. He was decrying the decisions of the government agencies who had not looked at new evidence since August 2020, even though there was an immense amount of new data from treating patients.
He talked of seeing patients who would die needlessly because they were seen too late, stressing as other doctors had, that early treatment was the answer. Sen. Johnson submitted the data and a letter to the NIH after the hearings. Here is an early version of the manuscript, "Review of the Emerging Evidence Demonstrating the Efficacy of Ivermectin in the Prophylaxis and Treatment of COVID-19” https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fphar.2021.643369/abstract
On Jan 14, 2021, the NIH changed their recommendation on Ivermectin from being against using, which tied doctor’s hands to a recommendation referencing the increased numbers of clinical trials that have been done with positive results since their last update on Aug. 27. The NIH now recommends neither for or against the use of Ivermectin, which frees doctors and healthcare providers to prescribe it off label.
Proponents were disappointed and wanted it listed as an emergency use drug, but the NIH cited more trials needed.
Back to Zelenko and hydroxychloroquine. As early as March 2020, Zelenko started treating COVID-19 patients. He said on a typical day his patient load skyrocketed to as many as 250 patients and he was searching around the world for a way to treat these patients. His research brought him to hydroxychloroquine, azithromycin and zinc.
He found that early treatment was crucial, in fact he found that he couldn’t wait for tests to come back before he started treatment and 90% of his tests came back positive for COVID-19. He discussed the misinformation and outright lies that were spun about HCQ, including fabricated research, in an apparent effort to suppress and prevent widespread use.
According to Zelenko, early treatment is crucial. “During the first five days of SARS-CoV-2 infection, the viral load remains fairly steady. Around Day 5, it exponentially increases, potentially overwhelming your immune system. To prevent complications, treatment needs to begin within the first five days of symptom onset.”
He said early treatment is also crucial to prevent “long-haul” symptoms after recovery. None of Zelenko’s patients who started their treatment within the first five days went on to develop long-haul symptoms.
How was Zelenko rewarded for his success? He was banned on Twitter after millions of people saw his tweets. County health officials said Zelenko’s claims were “unsubstantiated” and urged residents to listen to public health officials.
The problem with censoring frontline doctors with real life experience is that people can die who could have been treated successfully.
Zelenko said, “When we have a large population of people that need to be treated, it has to be oral, cheap, safe and effective,” he said. “By the way, this is not new. This information was known in 2005 – even before.
There are papers with [Dr. Anthony] Fauci's name on it, calling [HCQ] a miracle drug. Fauci called HCQ a vaccine. There's a paper in which he called it an absolute dream treatment and vaccine. So, it's conveniently forgotten but that's what it is. It's a matter of scientific record.”
Zelenko figured out early on that only one-third of his patients actually needed the triple-drug regimen. The remaining two-thirds were in low-risk categories and did not need drug treatment.
In all, Zelenko has only had 15 patients who ended up requiring hospitalization, four of whom were intubated. All were eventually successfully extubated and recovered. The remaining 11 were admitted for intravenous antibiotics for pneumonia. In all, only three of his high-risk patients died from COVID-19, which puts the mortality rate for this treatment at just 0.3%.
“You cannot ignore that. That's not even counting the risk stratification patients, which I chose not to treat. In other words, I was able to tell these patients, ‘I know you're going to be fine. Go home, and you'll be fine.’ And that has value.
If you include those, the mortality rate is even less. And this has been reproduced. You don't have to listen to me. You can call it anecdotal all you want, but there are now Harvard professors of virology with 4,000 patient experiences.
Dr. George Fareed, for example, or Dr. Harvey Risch from Yale School of Epidemiology, who has shown that it's absolutely statistically proven that HCQ used in the prehospital setting is absolutely effective. It's impossible for it to be a mistake,” he said.
Zelenko tells the story of how he got started treating COVID-19 patients with HCQ: “Hospitals were near capacity and all the outpatient services were closed. Half my staff was sick and all of a sudden I had a war zone. I basically started learning triage medicine, trying to save as many people as possible.
"At that time, the whole world had been focusing on building respirators and hospital capacity [instead of putting] emphasis on prehospital care. I found that bizarre because that's never what we do in medicine. We [use] common sense and intervene in the earliest stages.
"It's much easier to fix a small problem than a large problem. For example, someone has cancer, we don't wait for it to become metastatic disease. We treat as soon as possible. Someone has a small infection. We put the infection out.
"If you look at the CDC, they recommend starting the treatment of influenza with antiviral drugs within the first 48 hours, except when it came to COVID-19. We were told to send patients home, and when they get sicker, send them to the hospital, where there was a good chance they were going to get intubated, especially in March and April.
"At that point, in the city, they had mortality rates above 80%. So, it was a death sentence. None of that made sense to me at all. So, I quickly started to brush up on my virology."
He decided to treat high-risk patients as early as possible, and this turned out to be key. Early treatment really saves lives when it comes to COVID-19. This is not a situation where the wait-and-see strategy is well-advised.
Zelenko likens HCQ and zinc like a gun and a bullet. HCQ is the gun that shoots the zinc into the cell. Zinc is the silver bullet that kills the virus by inhibiting an enzyme associated with viral replication inside the cell. The antibiotic azithromycin is given to prevent bacterial pneumonia and other secondary bacterial infections that are common in COVID-19.
Today, we have even more information, of course, which means there are more tools available beside HCQ, zinc and antibiotics. Ivermectin, for example, appears very useful, especially for prevention, as do steroids and blood thinners. So, Zelenko will now tweak the treatment of individual patients based on their symptoms.
Unfortunately, as discussed by Zelenko, there was essentially a “psychological operation” put into place to scare people away from HCQ. A big part of that was turning it into a political issue. From the start, doctors who used the drug were threatened with the loss of their medical license, which is unheard of for a drug with such a long history of safe use.
The biggest reason for the fear was unfortunately due to falsified studies and trials using toxic doses. It’s difficult to not suspect an ulterior motive in light of those facts. As noted by Zelenko, a main component of pandemic response, namely prehospital or outpatient treatment, was suppressed.
The question is why? One obvious reason was that it was a presidential election year, and then-president Trump came out in support of HCQ in March 2020. His announcement sparked immediate backlash from a chronically hostile media. “There were plenty of people willing to use every possible way to vilify the president and to discredit anything that might give him a win,” Zelenko said.
Then, of course, there were financial interests at play. Millions of dollars were being invested into new drugs like remdesivir, for example – a drug that costs more than $3,000 per treatment and is only for in-hospital use.
Meanwhile, Zelenko’s early outpatient treatment costs about $20.
If you would like a link to the entire interview, email me at [email protected] and I will be happy to send it to you.