Drug repurposing is defined as
“the process of finding new therapeutic indications for existing drugs“.
World Ivermectin Day: 29 July 2023
Origins of World Ivermectin Day
The inaugural World Ivermectin Day was commemorated on 29 July 2021 as a way to raise awareness of the safe, effective, highly-politicised, anti-parasitic / anti-viral / anti-inflammatory molecule. NZDSOS memorialised the first anniversary of World Ivermectin Day in 2022 with an article acknowledging the history, mechanisms of action and some of the controversies which arose in 2020 around this simple, natural, cheap and non-patented drug.
An initiative of the British Ivermectin Recommendation Development (BIRD) Group, World Ivermectin Day was launched to raise awareness of the drug’s life saving benefits. BIRD was established by Dr Tess Lawrie, a medical doctor and medical research consultant who specialises in systematic reviews and meta-analyses, including contracts with the World Health Organization.
In December 2020 Dr Lawrie watched critical care specialist Dr Pierre Kory testify before the US Senate Hearing on the Medical Response to COVID-19. Dr Kory’s testimony on ivermectin for prevention and treatment of COVID can be viewed from 29 minutes, although every testimony during the 2.5 hour hearing deserves the time of anyone trying to make sense of the ivermectin controversy.
Impressed by Dr Kory’s convincing testimony, Dr Lawrie conducted a rapid systematic review and meta-analysis on the evidence for ivermectin. Her research confirmed Dr Kory’s claims that the drug was effective as a preventive and early treatment option for COVID. Her attempts to inform the UK health authorities were met with silence.
At the same time, Dr Andrew Hill, a research fellow at Liverpool University in the UK had been recruited by the World Health Organization to conduct a similar systematic review on the effectiveness of ivermectin against COVID. Dr Lawrie communicated with Dr Hill, who was similarly excited by the evidence for ivermectin and they agreed to collaborate on a Cochrane review.
Unexpectedly and without warning, in January 2021 Dr Hill published a low quality research publication on a pre-print server. His conclusion – often the only text that clinicians and the general public read – contradicted the extremely positive data, instead claiming that further research was required before regulatory authorities could approve ivermectin for COVID prevention and treatment.
Dr Lawrie has stated that this had the impact of restricting ivermectin’s use, discrediting and censoring doctors recommending ivermectin, and facilitating authorisation of the experimental gene-based COVID-19 injections which have caused so much harm to population health at the same time as pharmaceutical company investor wealth boomed. Incensed by the impact on human life and suffering that this discrediting of ivermectin would cause, Dr Lawrie challenged Dr Hill. Their video call conversation was recorded and subsequently made into the short documentary by Oracle Films, A Letter to Dr Andrew Hill.
Dr Hill reluctantly admitted that external influences had ‘shadow-authored’ his paper. UNITAID was the sole sponsor of Dr Hill’s paper, and a week prior to its publication they reportedly gifted $40 million to his employer, Liverpool University. The primary funder of UNITAID is the Gates Foundation (read more detail here). Dr Hill’s conflicts of interest seem to inform us who was involved in this fraud. That the return on investment trumps scientific credibility and human life seems glaringly obvious.
Threats to Authentic Public Health
Yale University epidemiologist Professor Harvey Risch eloquently describes the role of repurposed drugs in a pandemic. As outlined by the Great Barrington Declaration, priorities in a pandemic are isolation and treatment of the sick, protection of the vulnerable, and development of repurposed drugs and early treatment protocols to reduce hospitalisation.
This guidance is consistent with established public health principles, written succinctly in epidemiologist Dr Donald Henderson’s seminal 2006 article Disease Mitigation Measures in the Control of Pandemic Influenza. In 2019 the World Health Organization published a systematic review of the evidence for pandemic interventions, offering corresponding recommendations. As we have outlined many times, they then ignored their own evidence in order to implement severe and harmful restrictions.
Very early in the pandemic multiple doctors began speaking about successful patient outcomes with repurposed drugs including, but not limited to, hydroxychloroquine and ivermectin. One of the first was New York family physician Dr Vladimir Zelenko, who quickly faced severe backlash after writing to then-President Trump about his treatment protocol.
Epidemiologist / cardiologist Dr Peter McCullough has experienced similar smearing since the publication of his July 2020 paper, Pathophysiological Basis and Rationale for Early Outpatient Treatment of SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) Infection. Indicating the demand for evidence based medical guidance, this became the most-downloaded article in the history of the Journal of American Medicine.
The peer-reviewed meta-analysis by Dr Tess Lawrie’s team, Ivermectin for Prevention and Treatment of COVID-19 Infection: A Systematic Review, Meta-analysis, and Trial Sequential Analysis to Inform Clinical Guidelines, was published in the American Journal of Therapeutics in June 2021. It was soon “fact checked” by a writer at Politifact, a Poynter Institute outlet which receives Gates Foundation funding. The author, a freelance reporter, referred to experts known for their intense allegiance to the pharmaceutical industry narrative. Dr Lawrie has defended her work, explaining the role of systematic reviews and the reasons that trials should not be cherry-picked, in this April 2022 article.
As the shared experiences of doctors and scientists accumulate across the globe, threats to authentic public health by conflicted financial and political interests with powerful influence over academia, medical journals and governments become increasingly evident.
Ivermectin in History and Today
In 1973 Professor Satoshi Ōmura, a bioorganic chemist and keen golfer, working at the Kitasato Institute in Japan, discovered the bacteria Streptomyces avermectinius in soil samples taken from near the Kawana Golf Club on the east coast of the Izu Peninsular, south of Tokyo. So far this is the only place where this bacteria has ever been found.
Testing of Streptomyces avermectinius identified an active class of 16 compounds which the scientists named avermectins. In 1975 the samples were sent to Merck Research Laboratories in the USA, where researchers found a combination of two of the compounds to be highly effective against a number of different parasites which infect humans and animals. They modified it to increase the safety and efficacy profile, and named it ivermectin.
Merck held the patent for ivermectin until 1996, when their exclusive rights expired. It is now a generic drug which can be manufactured at little cost by many pharmaceutical companies, large and small. Approximately one million doses of ivermectin are administered daily across the world for prevention and treatment of a range of diseases, and over 4 billion doses have been administered for human use in total, largely via a donation program established and funded by Merck. Ivermectin offers little to no profit in today’s market.
In 2015 Professor Ōmura and his counterpart at Merck, Dr William C. Campbell shared the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine “for their discoveries concerning a novel therapy against infections caused by roundworm parasites“, alongside a Chinese scientist who discovered the anti-malarial properties of artemisinin.
Evidence for Repurposing Ivermectin
Ivermectin was released for commercial use against parasitic infections in animals in 1981. It quickly became the world’s top-selling veterinary drug.
In 1987, commercial human use began, effectively ending epidemics of debilitating parasitic diseases including ‘River Blindness‘ and ‘Elephantiasis‘. Ivermectin is also used in scabies and head lice control, and for treating various gastrointestinal parasites such as strongyloides. It is listed on the World Health Organization’s Model List of Essential Medicines with a range of indications.
Numerous research papers have suggested a potential role for ivermectin in the treatment of many other diseases. These include, but are not limited to: Yellow Fever (2012); HIV and Dengue Fever (2012); a range of infectious and chronic diseases (2017); Dengue, Zika and West Nile viruses (2020). Other RNA viruses such as Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) and Influenza rely on an enzyme called RNA-dependent RNA-polymerase (RdRp) for replication. Zinc ionophores such as hydroxychloroquine and ivermectin are considered good treatment options as they promote the uptake of zinc into the cells, which blocks RdRp.
In 2018 the American Journal of Cancer Research published The multitargeted drug ivermectin: from an antiparasitic agent to a repositioned cancer drug. A number of mechanisms of anti-tumour action are described by the authors, who conclude that ivermectin is “clearly a strong candidate for repositioning“, due to a strong safety profile and proven anti-tumour activity in preclinical studies. They recommend progression to clinical trials.
Given what the world has observed with regards to affordable, effective cancer treatments, such as the experiences of Dr William Makis, it seems unlikely this will take place whilst the biopharmaceutical industry have control over and continue to benefit so lavishly, from health research and delivery. Dr Pierre Kory summarised the issue succinctly: “But the most important thing to know about a repurposed drug, it is the single greatest threat to the business model of the entire pharmaceutical industry. If there’s one thing that they’ve learned to attack and destroy for decades, (it’s repurposed drugs).“
What You Can Do on World Ivermectin Day
1. Petition the Medical Council of New Zealand
New Zealand continues to have one of the highest COVID death rates in the world whilst the use of ivermectin remains severely discouraged by government regulators, to the point of investigating doctors who use this for COVID, long COVID and COVID vaccine injury. Not only is ivermectin extremely safe for human use and effective against COVID, it is approved for use in New Zealand for the treatment of scabies. While it is not approved for COVID related disorders, doctors are legally able to prescribe approved medications for unapproved conditions. GPs do this on a daily basis e.g. anti-depressants for menopausal hot flushes and oral contraceptives for period regulation and acne.
The persecution of doctors by the Medical Council of New New Zealand (MCNZ) for prescribing ivermectin especially where there has been no patient complaint or evidence of patient harm continues despite its long safety record and its place on the World Health Organisation’s Essential Medicines List. The MCNZ, through its actions against doctors, is endangering the public instead of protecting the public – its stated goal.
Helping doctors help you
If you want to help, please consider submitting your own letter to the MCNZ requesting that they immediately stop any actions against doctors for prescribing or importing ivermectin in particular and trying to uphold their duty of care in general.
Please add your own personal message to this email. Once you hit the green button at the end, it will immediately be emailed directly to the MCNZ. Replies will be received to your email, so please check your junk mail.
2. Share Your Support for Ivermectin
Tell people what you know, to get the word out. Have you used ivermectin as a patient, prescriber or dispenser? Share a selfie with your ivermectin on social media, or share your story, using the hashtag: #MyIVMStory.
3. Learn More
We recommend a visit to the World Ivermectin Day website for a wealth of interesting and useful information. The World Council for Health are hosting a Twitter Spaces discussion at 5pm British Summertime, which is 4am on Sunday 30 July 2023. It should be recorded and available at this link.
World Council for Health’s General Assembly Episode 97, 25 July 2023: An Ivermectin Special commemorated World Ivermectin Day by featuring first hand experiences with ivermectin from members of the public. Dr Lawrie began the meeting with a presentation on the safety profile of ivermectin.
Frontline Critical Care Alliance have a page dedicated to World Ivermectin Day 2023, with multiple resources. They include an interesting short documentary Why Didn’t We Use Repurposed Drugs? The Unsolved Mystery of the Pandemic.