PART 1: Dr. Peter McCullough—The Inexplicable Suppression of Hydroxychloroquine, Ivermectin, and Other COVID-19 Treatments
“There’s been no monthly review of new therapies. There’s been no monthly review of data safety and efficacy for the vaccines. Nothing. Americans for two years have been stonewalled on any scientific information on COVID-19.”
In this two-part interview [Part 2 can be found HERE], we sit down with Dr. Peter McCullough, an internist, cardiologist, epidemiologist, and principal author of the first paper on early COVID-19 outpatient treatment involving multidrug regimens. We discuss the full body of evidence on COVID-19 treatment, including a preventative method that may have stamped out COVID-19 in Bangladesh.
And with concerns growing about myocarditis and other effects of the vaccines, McCullough breaks down what he’s seeing in the CDC’s Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS). How accurate is the VAERS system and how many reports are directly attributable to the COVID-19 vaccines?
Below is a rush transcript of this American Thought Leaders episode from Dec 30, 2021. This transcript may not be in its final form and may be updated.
Jan Jekielek: Dr. Peter McCullough, it’s such a pleasure to have you on American Thought Leaders.
Dr. Peter McCullough: Jan, thanks for having me.
Mr. Jekielek: I guess a lot of people have been interested in what you have to say or even more interested in what you have to say; methods of providing therapeutic treatment for COVID-19, or CCP viruses [as] we call it at the Epoch Times. You treat patients yourself doing this. This is something that I think a lot of people might not know about. So, just tell me a little bit more about your actual medical practice.
Dr. McCullough: Over the last two years, in a sense, I’ve completed a fellowship in infectious disease. No doctor had seen SARS-COVID-2 infection before. No doctor had actually treated COVID-19 illness before.
So, as a medical doctor, a medical specialist who’s broad, I maintain my practice in internal medicine and cardiology, adult diseases. I took on the challenge of treating each and every one of my high-risk patients with my best efforts in avoiding two bad outcomes, hospitalization and death.
Mr. Jekielek: That’s interesting because very early on, there was this thought that there was no way to deal with it outside of a hospital.
Dr. McCullough: There was an assumption, and it’s an unusual assumption. I’ve never seen it made in medicine, that an illness could not be treated in the prehospital phase. I’ve never seen a mass assumption be made instantaneously. It was made from the outset. From the very first patient, there was an assumption that this illness is untreatable until the patient crosses the threshold into the hospital.
Now, what’s behind that assumption? I think what’s behind that assumption is fear and self-preservation. Clinics, nurses, other health care providers, doctors actually felt encountering a patient in the prehospital phase was risky to them, and would potentially risk other patients in terms of contamination of clinics, offices, other types of treatment venues.
Therefore, the prehospital phase was considered, in a sense, off-limits. It became mentally convenient for people to justify and say, “Well, it’s just not treatable. I would love to treat patients except for it’s simply not treatable.” But not treatable from the very beginning, and now still not treatable two years later; I think everybody listening to this understands that something just isn’t right with that base assumption.
Mr. Jekielek: I want to talk a lot about that too because, of course, there are at least a couple of treatments which are licensed by the FDA. Let’s talk about that in a moment. Before we go there, you are actually the chief editor of a major medical journal which is Cardiorenal Medicine.
I’ve heard that you’re the most published in that particular field. How is it that you, at the same time, managed to have a practice? And did this practice just spin up around COVID or did this exist on its own before?
Dr. McCullough: Yes, I’m entering my fourth decade of clinical practice. So, I maintain board certifications in internal medicine and cardiology. I was in the first year of the American Board of Internal Medicine Program, what’s called Maintenance of Certification. I’m actually certified now multiple times in internal medicine. Every 10 years, recertify in this kind of a knowledge check, as well as in cardiovascular diseases.
I had a period of time where I practiced as an internist before I went and trained in cardiology. Additionally, I trained in epidemiology which is the study of the distribution and determinants of disease. But my research area has been a multidisciplinary research area from the very beginning. That’s the study of how the heart and the kidneys are inextricably linked through a whole series of hormonal and neural, as well as physiochemical systems.
These systems turn out to be incredibly key diagnostic and therapeutic targets in medicine, extraordinarily key. So, these discoveries in this field of cardiorenal medicine, in a sense, brought up this field of which many have made contributions. I’ve been privileged to be the editor-in-chief for many years of Cardiorenal Medicine, a journal that the publisher is Karger out of Basel, Switzerland.
I’m no longer in that position. I’ve been the editor-in-chief now for many years of reviews in Cardiovascular Medicine, a journal that was originally published out of MedReviews in New York City. Now, it’s published out of MedReviews. The company relocated to Hong Kong. I’ve been working with the Hong Kong office now for years. That journal has steadily grown in terms of its impact factor.
I’m the editor-in-chief of the very first textbook, the first edition of Cardiorenal Medicine. And I’ve been honored to publish the textbook chapter in Braunwald’s “Textbook of Cardiology” which is considered the bible of cardiology. The title of my chapter is “The Interface between Heart and Kidney Disease.”
For the longest time in medicine, I’ve lectured around the world. I’ve lectured at meetings held by the National Institutes of Health, other government agencies. I’ve been on the Data and Safety Monitoring Board of the National Institutes of Health, clinical trials by big pharmaceutical companies, and in vitro diagnostic companies. I’ve been honored to be on the steering committee and executive committee of these large trials.
I am in the circles of doctors working both with cardiology, nephrology, and internal medicine in order to advance the field. In doing so, I have over 660 peer-reviewed publications in the National Library of Medicine. And many of them, I’m the first or senior author. Those are the most responsible positions. Sometimes I’m carried in an author blog because I’m part of an investigative group.
But in COVID-19 now, because of its all-encompassing nature—how dominant it’s been in medicine, in my view—the really top medicine specialists from a whole array of disciplines have stepped forward to combat this crisis. In COVID-19 now, in the National Library of Medicine PubMed, I have 52 citations when my name is searched in that database. Importantly, it is basically the anchor that we have in medicine in terms of medical history and is forever.
In there, I have the two seminal publications that taught doctors how to treat COVID-19 in the prehospital phase, breaking that assumption that it was untreatable. The principles we used in those papers were that this is a mass casualty event that we cannot wait for large, randomized trials. When I mean large trials in cardiology, we’re talking 20,000 to 40,000 patient trials.
Because this is a complicated illness, [a] single drug can’t possibly treat it. That means we need multiple drugs in combination. Those types of clinical trials have not even been planned yet. We know that the guidelines that our various societies like the Infectious Disease Society of America or the American College of Physicians, the NIH, or the CDC would rely on, those guidelines rely on large clinical trials.
So, we knew from the very beginning and I knew, specifically, that there was no hope to save lives if we waited for large clinical trials; and we waited for government bodies to provide guidelines or protocols for us to follow. I knew there was a time, that which is now, to take action. That was from the very beginning.
The only delays that there were from the onset of the pandemic, which basically hit in February of 2020, to our seminal publication in the American Journal Medicine August of 2020, was simply the quick acquisition of knowledge and clinical experience. It took both surveying the medical literature, talking to doctors, treating patients in the hospital, talking to doctors, and getting experience, treating the illness myself, which I did.
Getting these principles together, getting a manuscript written, getting every author to agree and sign off, and getting submitted through the peer-reviewed publications with edits and changes, galley proofs, contracting, copywriting, and then publication—that’s as fast as it can be done.
I can tell you, August 2020 was a real landmark. It was August 7th, actually, 2020; a landmark day in medicine. The very first paper that taught doctors how to treat COVID-19 was published. It instantaneously became the most downloaded paper in all of COVID-19 outpatient. The world was basically thirsting for an approach of how could we possibly treat COVID-19.
Now, when that paper was submitted, I did a quick check on PubMed. There were 55,000 papers published in the literature of people describing different aspects of the virus. Some of them describing some leads on treatment, but not a single paper that basically said, step one, how would we approach the illness and how could we possibly treat it? So, that was a breakthrough paper.
Mr. Jekielek: And you’ve kept treating patients actually, and honing these protocols that you’ve developed back then. So, just out of curiosity, how many patients have you treated?
Dr. McCullough: My estimates are I’m probably over 200 patients, directly treating them. They contact me and they’re directly sick with COVID-19. They’re directly treated. I think I’m easily over 1000 where I’ve provided external advice which is very common now. Other doctors reach out and say, “I have a patient here,” or a doctor who’s got a family member, etcetera. Those are common scenarios since the disease is so pervasive.
But I’ve advised on treatment as far as Russia, Malaysia, through Australia, South Africa, certainly Canada, the UK, EU, North America, South America. So, it’s a broad reach. I try to help people the best I can. You’re right, I treated patients all the way through. I gained clinical experience. I learned from those who even had more clinical experience. There are doctors in my circles now who have treated thousands of patients. They have a very good handle on this illness.
And the knowledge base grew so quickly through 2020 where we rapidly had data on additional drugs than we had the first emergency use authorized agents that we could use; that our paper in American Journal of Medicine, from a contemporary perspective, needed to be updated basically, within four months—which is what we did in December of 2020.
In Reviews in Cardiovascular Medicine, the journal that I edit, I commissioned a separate COVID-19 treatment supplement. I assigned a separate editor to that process so that there’d be no conflict of interest. On that paper, I expanded the author base to 57 authors including myself. But I wanted doctors to provide input who were treating the masses. They were treating thousands of patients. I wanted all different types of ideas on the table.
That produced the December 2020 paper in Reviews and Cardiovascular Medicine. The title of that paper was “Sequence Multi-Drug Therapy for Inventory of COVID-19.” Through the American Journal of Medicine process and Reviews in Cardiovascular Medicine, the “Home Treatment Guide” from the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons was created.
That became the most downloaded and utilized document that I’m aware of to the public on COVID-19. It’s been downloaded and shared millions and millions of times. It may have been responsible for sparing tens of millions of hospitalizations, and probably hundreds and thousands of lives.
Mr. Jekielek: This is really fascinating because we’re in this, let’s call it a realm of a lot of messaging, a lot of misinformation, [and] disinformation. Sometimes it’s hard to know what information is authentic, what information is credible, what is not? It’s good to know that this guide that you’re explaining is actually based on a rigorously peer-reviewed scientific paper, the second version of which came out in 2020. I did not know that until this moment.
Dr. McCullough: We put as many references as we possibly could and the knowledge base continues to expand. So, the therapeutic agent that has the most publications on it was the very first agent used, Hydroxychloroquine. There’re over 300 supportive studies.
Next in line is Ivermectin, over 63 supportive studies. Then after that, we have supportive randomized trials, meta-analyses on corticosteroids. We have prospective cohort studies. And now, some limited randomized trials on anticoagulants. We have other anti-inflammatories.
Many don’t know that the largest, highest quality, prospective, randomized placebo clinical trial of COVID-19 was actually done with Colchicine, an anti-inflammatory drug. It was done out of the Montreal Heart Institute. It’s called the COLCORONA Trial. It basically blows away all the other therapeutic trials in terms of quality. And it dramatically reduced hospitalization and death.
One of the challenges is the published scientific information, peer-reviewed, and in the journals as information, is just the dissemination of the information. So, when we have these oral therapies—because no government and no public health agency in the world has basically commissioned a continual review of the therapeutic opportunities for patients all over the world.
My personal expectation as a citizen is [that] in the middle of a crisis, our agencies would be—on a monthly basis—updating the countries and the population at large on therapeutic advances, and it should change each month. But there should be a thorough review. There should be a careful, thorough, published review. That’s what we’re paying our public health officials for.
Mr. Jekielek: There’re actually two drugs that I’m aware of that are actually FDA-approved. I think I mentioned that before. Of course, monoclonal antibodies which I’ve heard have reduced efficacy against Omicron. We’ll do a whole thing on Omicron in a moment. Then the other one, Fluvoxamine, did I get the name right?
Dr. McCullough: The history of the Emergency Use Authorization process is interesting. There had been, previously, probably about five to ten emergency use authorized products that had ever come into use in the United States. Emergency Use Authorization regulation is exactly that; it’s an emergency. We need some authorization to use a product in some type of either government relief or private relief quickly, that we just don’t have the luxury of time for the approval to market process.
Don’t forget, when drugs come on the market, a big aspect of it is how is it going to be marketed? So, much of the FDA’s activities actually have to do with drug advertising. A package insert or label is actually, in a sense, a regulatory license to market a drug. The indications of a drug are actually for advertising labels. Advertisers use what’s called a label. It’s an advertising label on a product.
The indications aren’t necessarily how doctors would use that product, but it basically creates the boundaries upon which a company can actually make claims. That’s what the labels are. So, an Emergency Use Authorization, all that’s out now. Now, it’s just a matter of, is there enough information to support its use? Let’s get it out there.
The Emergency Use Authorization says, “We don’t know if this is really going to work. We don’t know if this is really going to save, but it’s our best thing that we can offer now.” So, the first product that came out that got Emergency Use Authorization was hydroxychloroquine.
The countries around the world saw hydroxychloroquine from early data. It was shown that it can impair viral replication. It looks supportive. Even the early clinical studies look supportive. It was safe and effective. We use it in rheumatoid arthritis and systemic lupus. It’s used for malaria prevention. We know about it.
Also, there’s mefloquine and chloroquine as other anti-malarias. So, the medical community is very familiar with the anti-malarias. They are drugs that work against parasites. They work inside cells. They also dramatically reduce inflammation. Wow, what a combination in COVID-19 where we have a virus that works inside cells that creates a terrible inflammation. So, it makes sense that it would be first up on the list even from research that dated back 15 to 20 years ago.
With that, in the United States, we actually had an Emergency Use Authorization for hydroxychloroquine to be used in the hospital. So, we looked at that. We said, “Fine, that’s great.” We had heard about a stockpile being developed by the United States. There were stockpiles being used outside the United States.
But what we saw quickly within, through March and in April, was not a free flow of hydroxychloroquine, not a better utilization of hydroxychloroquine. We started to see a restrictive use.
For instance in France, it was over-the-counter. It could be used wide open; then it became prescription. In Australia, quickly, there were rules put on the books in April saying if a doctor used hydroxychloroquine, it was actually forbidden to do that, but a doctor could be fined or put in jail. In the United States, it said, “Well, hydroxychloroquine could only be used in the hospital.”
When it was in the largest study ever done in thousands of patients at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit, its use in a prospective cohort study where people consented and everything was carefully monitored, had a dramatic impact when used early in reducing mortality. And so, that study influenced us greatly.
So, in the spring of 2020, I worked at the request of Peter Navarro in the White House to help America, in a sense, broaden the Emergency Use Authorization to outpatient use. Because if the Henry Ford data suggested it worked early, we didn’t have reason to believe it would work late when people are in the ventilator. Then let’s get it out early and let’s use it and leverage it in terms of reducing the risk of hospitalization and death.
And all series of events happened. Many recalled President Trump mentioning it’s a game-changer. In March, many will recall that the division head of the National Institutes of Health Allergy and Immunology branch stated in March that someone asked him as a doctor, “Would you use hydroxychloroquine to treat a patient with COVID-19?” He said, “Yes, I would; preferably in a clinical trial.”
So, we really had the green light for the use of hydroxychloroquine. Then there was this political backlash. In June, several things happened. One, there was a falsified paper published in Lancet which surprised the office.
Paper came out; it claimed to have tens of thousands of patients with COVID-19, hospitalized at multiple centers around the world in their 40s. It claimed to show that hydroxychloroquine had a slight excess of harm and not a mortality benefit. Not an overwhelming harm, but a slight excess in harm.
This was published in Lancet, one of our best journals. It’s kind of the New England Journal of Medicine for the world. It literally hung up on Lancet for about two weeks. I looked at the paper. I said, “We’re hospitalizing people in their 80s with COVID-19, not their 40s.” And how in the world can they possibly get these data systems together? It takes months to get data use agreements; takes months to get collaborations. Data doesn’t fall out of the sky in medicine.
How did they get this consented? How do they get this approved by IRB? They were authors from Harvard and then a company called Surgisphere. Then after about two weeks of a lot of medical news on this, and doctors start to actually lose their confidence in hydroxychloroquine; hospital messaging started to say, “Listen, don’t use hydroxychloroquine in the hospital. It’s actually killing people.”
Unceremoniously, Lancet pulled it down and said, “We retract it.” No explanation. No apologies. What happened after that is the National Institutes of Health had a multicenter clinical trial of using hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin.
Two thousand patients, prospective, randomized controlled trial. They had multiple treatment sites. They had the notebooks. They had distributed the drugs. They had everything going. They actually recruited 20 patients out of 2000 patients. And without any real explanation, they said, “We’re shutting down this program.”
The NIH pulled the program on a fully-funded trial in the midst of our initial wave in COVID-19. And then shortly after that, the FDA put out a statement, “Hydroxychloroquine should not be used across the board,” period. That was in the summer of 2020. There was no additional review. There was no discussion. There were no sets of communications. There was no statement to say, “Listen, right now, we are uncertain. Let’s review it in three months.” Nothing.
And from that day forward, messaging permeated through all of the health systems, “Do not use hydroxychloroquine. Do not use hydroxychloroquine.” It was stunning. That was in the first year of 2020. And then 2021, the second year of the pandemic, the next drug up on the block, Ivermectin. Ivermectin did not have the interest of the National Institutes of Health. By that time, they completely departed from any type of rapid, high-quality, randomized trial of oral drugs and Ivermectin. So, we relied on data outside the United States.
Ivermectin, which is an anti-parasitic agent like hydroxychloroquine, has at least three mechanisms of action. Ivermectin is the only drug we think actually antagonizes the dangerous spike protein of the virus, but it also impairs nuclear entry, influences abnormal kinases within the cytoplasm of cells. It’s like a triple benefit just like hydroxychloroquine’s a triple benefit.
And the data were basically supportive. Were they perfect? No, but we’re at over 63 studies now. Hydroxychloroquine has run all the way up to 30 studies.
Mr. Jekielek: Three hundred, I think, you said.
Dr. McCullough: Three hundred, I’m sorry, 300 with hydroxychloroquine, over 60 with Ivermectin. Largely supportive. And there, we never had an Emergency Use Authorization with Ivermectin. But what we had is we had official organization action. So, in September of 2021, the American Medical Association announced an initiative to abolish the use of Ivermectin, abolish it. It was absolutely stunning.
Why would a medical organization that’s effectively a doctors’ political action committee that doesn’t opine on other drugs, doesn’t offer therapeutic guidelines, doesn’t pull together groups of experts to decide on things, why would that organization decide to abolish the use of Ivermectin? The FDA picked this up.
The FDA put official communications out through Twitter and through other social media, and major media. And it said, “Ivermectin is only a horse dewormer. Don’t use a veterinary product to treat COVID-19.” That was picked up by the major media. And it was parroted as well. They asked CNN medical correspondent, and he said, “Categorically, Ivermectin has no evidence supporting this use in COVID-19.”
Our director of the National Allergy and Immunology branch said the same thing. No evidence. They used the word no. While in the meantime, Americans knew there were over 60 supportive studies, randomized trials, observational trials.
There was roughly about a 70 percent reduction in the endpoint, whether it’d be hospitalization or mortality. So, Americans knew but the American Medical Association and these people visible to Americans were saying something just the opposite.
We saw really a frenzy of activity. In fact, someone had called in and stated that a hospital in Oklahoma was being overwhelmed with Ivermectin-poisoning cases. That there were patients basically dying in the hallways of gunshot wounds because there were so many patients with Ivermectin poison. Finally, the administrator of the hospital had to get on and say, “You know what? We looked at this and there are no Ivermectin overdoses.”
Then there was a claim that the poison control centers were overwhelmed with Ivermectin poisoning calls. And the data was obtained by the poison-control centers by TrialSiteNews. TrialSiteNews reported, “We looked at this.” It turns out they are getting calls in Ivermectin but it’s all clarification of dose because the dose is a weight-adjusted dose for Ivermectin. There were no poisonings. There were no serious side effects to report about.
It was almost a rerun of hydroxychloroquine. In the first year of hydroxychloroquine, there were calls to poison control centers. People said, “Oh, people are being poisoned with hydroxychloroquine.” Almost all of them were just clarification questions, “Do I take it on food or an empty stomach,” something like this.
So, there was a clear theme that was going on. At least the obvious suppression from a regulatory, immediate perspective on hydroxychloroquine and Ivermectin. To the point, and sadly, in some countries where it would involve jail time. Jail time was threatened for hydroxychloroquine in Australia. And it actually became reality for a doctor in South Africa for attempting to help a patient with Ivermectin.
Now, there are strict bans across Canada, across the United Kingdom, many countries in the EU, Australia, South Africa. So those drugs as helpful products, we’ll never know, because of this backlash. And people took it upon themselves, pharmacists took it upon themselves with no regulations, with no support in their field to just not give patients the medicines when the doctors ordered them; to actually block it.
Insurance companies took it upon themselves to cancel large insurance contracts across the board with doctors because they did use Ivermectin or hydroxychloroquine. Medical boards took it upon their own action to actually surveil the use of these drugs and try to apply threats or disciplinary actions for these agents. So, out of this, it was an interesting response.
Dr. Brentios in South America and Dr. Chetty in South Africa invented new protocols, “No need for hydroxychloroquine or Ivermectin.” They used a combination of other drugs—antihistamines, anticoagulants, anti-inflammatories. And they showed that they worked as well. So, much to the chagrin of those trying to suppress hydroxychloroquine, the treatment went on for COVID-19.
Then November hit and we had, as you pointed out, the first emergency use authorized products for outpatient use of COVID-19, which were really blockbuster agents. Those are the monoclonal antibodies. The first one became available as bamlanivimab. It was offered by Lilly. Small randomized trials, very few outcomes; probably less than 20 hospitalizations in both groups combined. But the bottom line is it favored bamlanivimab. Things looked wonderful.
We had monoclonal antibodies that we can infuse. So, one hour infusion, observation and go home. We had learned through a report in Medical Economics that the United States had already purchased a hundred million doses head on deck, hundreds of millions more that were made available to America. I thought in my mind, “Wow, this is wonderful.” We finally have an answer. We must certainly open up massive infusion centers. This is in November of 2021.
Great relief for the seniors, stocking this at the nursing homes. The antibodies would at least be able to neutralize the virus that’s circulating in the bloodstream. It can’t stop the damage that’s already happened and they’re not going to stop inflammation. They’re not blood thinners. But they could be part of a multidrug program. That’s the reason why I brought them into the protocol by December of 2020.
We were shocked with the lack of fanfare on the monoclonal antibodies. There was almost no uptake. We heard reports that over 80 percent of the supply was sitting on the shelves. Nursing homes weren’t informed. Urgent cares weren’t supplied. Hospitals weren’t supplied. There wasn’t any messaging. What happened there is another competing technology emerged in December. Those were the COVID-19 vaccines.
In fact, the COVID-19 vaccines were being advertised by pharmacies CVS and Walgreens in October of 2020. If one was to call a pharmacy and try to get a prescription refilled, the recording would come on, “We’re pleased to offer the COVID-19 vaccines when they are released in the first wave of,” what have you.
So, the messaging already started. While America was starting this huge wave of COVID-19 in the winter of 2020 and Americans needed wayfinding and the availability to life-saving therapy. Instead, they were given basically a promo message for a vaccine to come in the future. And it’s emergency use authorized. As I mentioned, it’s been utilized maybe between half a dozen and a dozen times.
One of the products that comes to mind was the anthrax vaccine where it was a vaccine for anthrax. It was contracted for and bought and used a bit in military operations. That was it. Interestingly, prior to COVID-19, not a single emergency use authorized product ever made it to the mass market. It never got converted to a commercial product, never.
Mr. Jekielek: Fascinating. So what’s really paradoxical it would seem is that these monoclonal antibodies are actually the products of Operation Warp Speed, much as the vaccines were. It just doesn’t seem to make a ton of sense.
Dr. McCullough: I published an opinion editorial in The Hill last year. It was called the “Three Gears of Operation Warp Speed.” There was a fast gear that was for the vaccines. It got all the juice. There was the middle gear that probably wasn’t monoclonal antibodies. And then there was the slow gear that didn’t get any juice, didn’t have any speed to it. And that was the oral drugs. But they all work through Operation Warp Speed.
I know this because I was the principal investigator of the Ramatroban Program. Ramatroban is a Japanese product. The company is Bayer that makes it. It’s a drug that’s used for allergic rhinitis. We had worked with a great group out at UC California. We put together a consortium, did the application, did the application for NIH funding, got the assurances of the drug supply, got the FDA investigational drug applications, innumerable phone calls, proposals back and forth.
It was clear that we were being slow-walked on an oral treatment for COVID-19. The same thing happened with Favipiravir as the company moved forward. Favipiravir is actually used as an oral drug to treat COVID-19 in Japan and Russia, and multiple other countries. It’s marketed under Avigan. It’s actually officially FDA-approved.
We saw that happening where it looked like, “Wait a minute, Operation Warp Speed doesn’t look like it’s really oriented towards getting oral available drugs; stocking, getting in people’s homes quickly, at all.” Operation Warp Speed and those set of clinical trials, still is called the ACTIV Trials Program, did have some oral drugs tested but they were all slow-walked.
One of the drugs tested was actually rivaroxaban, or apixaban, or dabigatran. These products are called novel anticoagulants. The idea is we need blood thinners. But disappointingly, the trials took forever to get done. They were small. They were low quality. The lead trial for anticoagulants had so few patients that actually required hospitalization. They got such a low-risk group of patients. They had virtually no events.
So scientifically, they didn’t have enough power to find an effective—they gave up. Then they brought forward much later the final trial results of the Merck drug called molnupiravir. And then the Pfizer drug which is a combination of a novel kinase like 3-inhibitor plus an old HIV drug, a protease inhibitor called ritonavir. That’s actually combined with a single product. And of interest, the trials programs there yielded very few high-risk patients [who] need to be hospitalized.
So, the Pfizer program recruited thousands of patients, but less than 1 percent needed hospitalization. How can they do a clinical trial? I mean, we were seeing large fractions of people being hospitalized. How could they not recruit a high-risk cohort to be in a clinical trial of medicinal therapy? So, as things moved forward, it was clear the United States was going to deliver almost nothing in terms of new therapy.
As we sit here today, both Pfizer and Merck products did receive emergency use authorized but there isn’t a single patient. I mean, we’re in December of 2021. We’re two years into this. There still hasn’t been a single patient who’s received a single drug of an oral product that the US government, the NIH Operation Warp Speed, the FDA can claim. Not a single person has benefited from US efforts there.
Now, outside the US, we’ve had independent groups from Brazil. They’ve innovated with anti-androgens. They’ve made progress. They’ve innovated with other forms of antimicrobials. We’ve had a huge effort I’ve described with hydroxychloroquine, countries that contributed—Iran, France, others. Ivermectin, great contributions from Mexico, Peru, Japan, contributions from the United States.
But actually, our US government can’t claim that, boy, they jumped in there early in 2020 and did a whole series of rapid-fire trials and got oral drugs in combination. So, what really happened was doctors took over and we used what’s called the precautionary principle. This is a mass casualty event. We can’t wait for this. It was obvious [to] the government, there [weren’t] enough high-quality teams in place. Nobody was ready to go for this to do it.
The monoclonal antibodies were interesting because it came out, bamlanivimab looked good. The virus quickly mutated, and it mutated to a form where the antibodies couldn’t hit the mutated spike protein. Just with a simple mutation and bamlanivimab was out.
Fortunately, we had Regeneron which is a combination of casirivimab and imdevimab. That’s the product that former President Trump received. That’s what Governor Greg Abbott received when he was failed by the vaccines. Podcaster Joe Rogan received Regeneron; Aaron Rodgers, quarterback. I mean, America saw countless examples of people doing well with the Regeneron product.
Then in May of 2021, we have the GlaxoSmithKline product called sotrovimab that looks like it’s the best. It’s a monoclonal antibody directed against a part of the spike protein that’s not subject to mutation. So, that’s going to be much better. And that product was associated with 85 percent reductions in hospitalization and death; high-quality clinical trial.
The Emergency Use Authorization for that goes all the way down to age 12. So here, we have a world-class product that gets Emergency Use Authorization in May of 2021. And we see no word of it. There’re no billboards. There’s no advertising. There’s no public service like, “Hey, high-risk seniors, make sure you know about this product, sotrovimab. Make sure you have it.” No notice in nursing homes. No notice in hospitals.
So there’s been on therapy. And it’ll be really interesting to see what happens with Merck and Pfizer. But it’s hard to believe Merck and Pfizer are going to receive any better treatment than GlaxoSmithKline.
Mr. Jekielek: I’ll just mention one because this came to my attention recently. There’s a doctor, I think it’s in Florida, who was basically saying that there’s something called fluvoxamine which has been … There’s a number of papers that show it’s been very effective in helping treat COVID-19 and prescribed it. I think it’s sanctioned. This is an approved therapy.
The pharmacy wouldn’t actually dispense the drug. I think he said something like, “I’m not happy with that. I’m not okay with that.”
Dr. McCullough: Pharmacists, and there certainly are anecdotes, pharmacists have blocked budesonide and inhaled steroid. That’s been shown now in three clinical trials including the STOIC Trial to reduce hospitalization by over 80 percent. Pharmacists blocked prescriptions of dexamethasone, prednisone, hydrocortisone. These are simple drugs we use for asthma all day long.
They clearly have overtly blocked hydroxychloroquine and Ivermectin. They’ve blocked the use of Colchicine. Again, shown in the best clinical trial we have, COLCORONA Trial. Colchicine is actually the best in terms of the quality of evidence. It basically beats all the other trials.
Then, you mentioned fluvoxamine which is a serotonin; a norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor. It’s interesting. It may have some effects against the virus itself. But clinically, what I think it does is it takes an edge off the anxiety of having this syndrome.
Our poor seniors, when they get handed a diagnosis of COVID-19, can you imagine being 75-years-old; being in your own apartment or in a senior center; being told you have a potentially fatal diagnosis? And you’re told there’s no treatment. You’re told to go home, quarantine. Don’t have any contact with anybody.
Can you imagine a widow or widower sitting in an apartment and saying, “Okay, I’ve got COVID-19. I can’t see my family. I can’t see anybody.” You call the doctor once, twice, or three times. They say, “There’s no treatment, sorry.” Just when you can’t breathe anymore, you go to the hospital.
Can you imagine the anxiety that must build up in isolation, fear, and suffering? The fever day by day, and the progressive shortness of breath day by day. The scramble to try to manage yourself; the scramble to get any hope of something that one could do to save their own lives? And then get to the point where they say, “Listen, I can’t do it anymore. I can’t bear it anymore,” and push the panic button. Call family members and say, “Listen, I can’t make it anymore.”
Family members come over. They get contaminated, called paramedics, Uber drivers, taxi drivers. Everybody gets contaminated. And that senior who sat at home for two weeks with a virus ravaging their body gets admitted to the hospital. They’re rewarded for that action by going into isolation where they can no longer see anyone. Now, they’re left with maybe cell phone service, and FaceTime the best they can or telephone service.
We know at that juncture that the NIH guidelines state, “Still no treatment. Get admitted. Get put in isolation.” And it’s only until the oxygen saturation drops does the NIH say in their guidelines, and the Infectious Disease Society of America says in their guidelines that then the treatment can start. The first product to use is remdesivir.
Remdesivir, another agent, an intravenous agent in the hospital that received early Emergency Use Authorization, that’s the first drug that can be used. Then, the next drug that can be used in their guidelines is the oddest dose of the oddest steroid ever chosen, dexamethasone at 6 milligrams.
Dexamethasone is a glucocorticoid. It preferentially juices the body to release sugar into the body which we now know is actually very bad in the COVID-19 illness, but it is an anti-inflammatory. It preferentially crosses the blood-brain barrier. So, a typical dose for brain swelling that we would use in clinical medicine would be 10 milligrams IV every six hours. We would give 40 milligrams of dexamethasone, not 6 milligrams and certainly not 6 milligrams orally.
Somehow, that was the dose chosen by the British in the RECOVERY Trial. And the RECOVERY Trial did show a mortality benefit in those in the hospital about 2,200 patients. But it was the oddest finding. The mortality in the treated group was 22 percent overall. Now, it was slightly higher in the controlled group. But it wasn’t an overwhelming positive result for dexamethasone.
So, what doctors in my circles did is we quickly took the concept that steroids would be beneficial, but we picked much more conventional drugs like inpatient use of Solu-Medrol, outpatient use of prednisone, that we just basically jettisoned dexamethasone. Doctors at my circles, the guidelines stuck with it.
But hospital care today, most Americans have received remdesivir which is given in five successive doses. It has considerable renal and hepatic toxicity. Many patients can’t get through the five infusions. It’s a polymerase inhibitor which just works to reduce viral replication. By the time most people get in the hospital, the virus is done replicating. Remdesivir has little to offer therapeutically, but has the renal and hepatic toxicity as basically, probably in the balance, weighing against the use of remdesivir.
And then, this odd dose of oral dexamethasone. If they can’t take oral then they get intramuscular dexamethasone. Additional drugs that can be used are tocilizumab and interleukin-6 inhibitor. In my view, that data are very mixed. The use of baricitinib which is a kinase inhibitor, again, data very mixed.
Then use of convalescent plasma. You’ve probably heard about people donating blood and trying to pull the convalescent plasma. Again, an incredibly fractious regulatory approval. People probably remember President Trump meeting with the National Institutes of Health Director Stephen Hahn and saying, “Listen, the Mayo Clinic has done the 30,000-patient observational study. It looks like it’s good enough. Randomized trials are still pending, not definitive. Let’s go with it. Let’s try to give people convalescent plasma.”
Convalescent plasma, again, would mop up the free-floating virus in the bloodstream. By the time someone’s hospitalized, the virus is pretty much out of the bloodstream. But it was thought to be reasonable. Within two days, the National Institutes of Health pulled together an expert panel and advised against the use of convalescent plasma. I mean, that was actually going on in 2020.
So, Americans saw the most confusing picture of hospitalized care of COVID-19, and a very confusing picture of outpatient treatment of COVID-19. My contribution is at least I tried to organize the outpatient treatment into concepts where we would use drugs we use for our application. In the middle phase, treat inflammation. And in the late phase, treat blood clotting. We stuck with those principles all the way through.
The hospital care still has no principles that they’re actually addressing. It’s just kind of one drug versus another. There are no in-hospital protocols that test multiple drugs like we would with multi-drugs for cancer or HIV or hepatitis or other bacterial infections.
There are no individual claims made by our academic medical centers that their protocol is better, like Mayo Clinic inventing a better protocol or Harvard or Yale. It’s distinctly unusual. The Mayo Clinic is a Blue Ribbon organization. They have claims on the best heart attack care protocols, the best care for cancer, the best care for other critical diseases. So does Emory. So does Duke. Everyone knows the US News & World Report Best Hospitals in America.
We’re two years into this. There’s been no claim of any hospital claiming that they are exemplary in COVID care. Here we have COVID, an illness that is universally reimbursed by the federal government. Hospital administrators should be clamoring for these patients. There should be claims of centers of excellence. There should be billboards up in all the cities, “Come to our hospital. We’re the best at COVID care.”
As Americans are suffering, they want to know that they’re going to be okay. Our academic institutions, to a one, have had no outpatient protocols or innovation. They haven’t even attempted to treat outpatients with COVID-19. And then on the inpatient side, they have no original protocols. They have made no claims of excellence. There is no reporting of outcomes.
To this day, we don’t know which hospital has the lowest mortality with COVID-19, which has the highest mortality with COVID-19. None of it. So, the treatment, inpatient and outpatient of the biggest illness of our time after two years is an enigma.
Mr. Jekielek: No institutions are studying treatment?
Dr. McCullough: I early on joined a consortium. And it was headed at Harvard Medical School. I had just been the endowed lecturer at Harvard Medical School in 2018, so, it was a lot of fanfare. I gave lectures across both divisions of nephrology and cardiology. One of the young nephrologists there reached out to me. He goes, “I’m stepping up on COVID.” I said, “Wonderful. What are you going to do?”
He goes, “I’m organizing a consortium. It’s called Stop COVID.” I said, “Great. I’ll sign up. I’ll get my organization. We did the Institutional Review Board. We organized fellows. We did everything to join Stop COVID.” I said, “What are we going to do?” He goes, “Well, we’re going to observe the data.” I said, “Are we going to stop COVID?” He goes, “Well, no. Actually, this is going to be ICU and it’s an observational registry.”
So yes, academic institutions are doing observation. They’re observing the illness. But don’t stop COVID, never stopped a single case of COVID. It never stopped a single death. We don’t have any organized, high-quality, innovative treatment protocols going on. And there’s no claim to them. There’s no claim to that. Hospitals should be actively recruiting patients to unique original protocols.
Now, is the ACTIV Trials program? Did a few hundred people get into bamlanivimab trials and the sotrovimab trials? Yes. Maybe nearly a thousand got into remdesivir trials. Do you know how many millions and tens of millions of Americans have been hospitalized? The research offering is a trivial offering.
One of the things we’ve heard from our agencies is, “Well, we don’t advise use of these drugs outside of a clinical trial.” What I say is, “Give us clinical trials.” I love clinical trials. I lead them. I’m very expert in clinical trials. I want clinical trials.
When I testified at the Texas Senate in March of 2021, I lit the Department of Health and Human Services on fire. I said, “Where is the 1-800 number so our seniors can access these clinical trials?” And the answer is, “Well, they can navigate clinicaltrials.gov on the Internet.”
I said, “Why don’t you try to be a 75-year-old with a hot fever, trouble breathing. And that senior has to navigate clinicaltrials.gov to try to find research?” Where’re the billboards on the highways saying, “1-800 number. COVID’s a bad illness? America’s going to lead the way in research. Here’s a 1-800 number so you can get into research.” No mention.
Where is the research response for COVID-19? We should have had large clinical trials of hospitalized and prehospital patients done early in 2020. Nothing. I told you, the NIH had one attempt of hydroxychloroquine, azithromycin. And out of 2,000 patients, they collected 20 and they gave up.
[Narration]: We reached out to the NIH to ask what they thought of Dr. McCullough’s criticism of the NIH COVID-19 Treatment Guidelines. The NIH spokesperson declined to comment. She said that the NIH relied on a panel of many experts to develop the COVID-19 Treatment Guidelines.
Mr. Jekielek: Just to be clear here. You’re saying that the normal regimen in a situation where there’s a serious illness like, I don’t know, cancer, is very broad. There’re hospitals out there actively recruiting patients into new regimes of treatment and partially so that they can become the best at this. They’re in competition and they can advertise that, bringing on the best doctors.
This is just what would happen typically. But for some reason with this particular disease alone, things are different.
Dr. McCullough: We’ll never figure out the reason, but I think the observation is very valid.
Mr. Jekielek: It’s not unusual. This is what I’m trying to get at. Because most of us don’t have the insight to how this normally works.
Dr. McCullough: It’s highly unusual for our best hospitals and health systems in the United States to not make a claim. They all have claims on cancer care. They all have claims on cardiovascular care, cardiovascular surgery. They have claims on neurologic diseases. They make claims because it’s a competitive landscape.
The research consortium all make claims that in cancer that this consortium is better than this one. Cardiovascular, we have epic competition in my field; Mayo Clinic, Duke University, Birmingham Women’s Hospital. With COVID, suddenly there’s no bravado, there’s no academic excellence, there’re no claims, there’s no intent to claims.
You don’t see any chatter on the Internet. “Come to the Harvard website and learn how to treat COVID-19 in a better way.” There haven’t been any conferences that say, “Listen, come online and learn our new treatment protocol. Look at our outcomes.” It’s a whiteboard. It’s been two years of a whiteboard.
Myself and other leaders—Didier Raoult in France, Brentios in South America and Dr. Chetty in South Africa; Dr. Zelenko in Monroe, New York—really just independent doctors have stepped forward and basically said, “Listen, we’re going to do this. We’re going to study it the best we can with no funding, with no grants.”
Listen, I’d love to do half-a-billion-dollar randomized trials. I’m very capable [of] doing so. I tried. I brought ideas to the National Institutes of Health and the FDA. No dice. For COVID-19, the answer is no. And even with treatments that have made the grade, they’ve made Emergency Use Authorization. We’ve had bamlanivimab. We’ve had casirivimab and imdevimab, and sotrovimab. Now, we have the combined Pfizer product and we have molnupiravir by Merck.
To this day, they have not been shown the light of day. And they’ve received very little fanfare, very little review, almost no public health messaging, no billboards up on the highways. But we see at the same time an overwhelming, incessant, and relentless in-your-face campaign for vaccination even before the vaccines’ finished clinical trials. It started in October of 2020.
I recorded actually a CVS recording. I was trying to get a drug refilled. I was stunned. I said, “Wait, the vaccines haven’t come out, they’re already advertising them.” You can’t advertise a product before they’re even—but we don’t even know if they’re going to make it through clinical trials. But the messaging was strong. Actually, the messaging started in the academic literature in April or May that the answer was going to be a vaccine.
And all we heard through the news cycle, if you were to turn on CNBC and listen to the financial report each day, they say, “Well, we’re just waiting for the vaccine to come. Yup, the vaccine will come and that’s going to save Corporate America.” They were interviewing CEOs. Well, how are we going to roll out the vaccine? How are we going to get all your employees vaccinated? That was before the vaccines even came out. That was before we knew they even worked.
Mr. Jekielek: This is absolutely fascinating. Now, let’s stick to therapeutics for a moment still. I want to talk about prophylaxis a little bit as well. But somewhere in the world, people are doing therapeutics and you mentioned a few places that you’re collaborating with. Somewhere in the world, there’s a government that is promoting therapies.
Dr. McCullough: There have been countries from the very beginning that said, “Listen, if we think it’s going to work, we’re going to use it.” And one of the things that, certainly in America and probably outside the world you’ve noticed is suddenly the outside world, outside of the United States doesn’t exist.
We see almost no reports around the world on anything, not just COVID-19. We haven’t seen any humanitarian crisis stories. We haven’t seen any uprisings. There’s always some political or international grind going on.
Mr. Jekielek: A little bit on Russia lately.
Dr. McCullough: Tiny, eensy, weensy, bit. Normally, the news cycle just perseverates on the Israeli-Palestinian crisis or perseverates on some type of thing with the ex-Iron Curtain or something in Russia. With COVID-19 the last two years, there’s been a retraction. And the focus is just in the United States right in front of us. Almost no outside window. None. It’s very notable actually.
What’s happened with COVID-19, zero. There is zero window to the outside world. So, as they’re handing out treatment kits through the Caribbean, people get sick with COVID-19. They have a little treatment kit with some oral drugs, typically an antiviral and a steroid. They’re handing out treatment kits in states in India, for instance, and elsewhere. No word of it, no mention. You actually don’t even see that that’s happening.
I live in Texas. You can fly two hours south of us and it’s wide open. In fact, I’ve just published a paper with authors from Honduras where the medicines are flowing. It’s enormously successful. So, when we look at where this is done—in South America, Central America, Mexico, India—anywhere where there has been an early oral drug approach, there has been success in terms of COVID-19.
Now, more recently what’s very fascinating is anywhere where there’s any attention to decontamination in the nose and the mouth with direct virucidal therapy. There [have] been stunning results. There’re now over nine clinical studies; one really key randomized control trial that’s come out of Bangladesh. Chowdhury is the first author recognizing the fact that the virus is in the air. People breathe it in. It settles in the nose and it begins to replicate.
And it has to get to a certain threshold and overcome the other organisms in the nose and overcome our own immune system to become a clinical infection. So there’s about a three to five-day window to actually zap the virus directly. And while the entire world has been focusing on masks which can’t stop the organism coming in—typical masks by the way—mask expert Mr. Petty estimates, as an engineer, that 18 percent of the air goes around the mask.
So, it’s obvious no matter how good the mask is, the air goes around it. It’s not going to work. Not only that, the virus is too small for the masks to filter out. But while the focus has been public masks, or even more inanely on hand sanitizer, do people—there’s hand sanitizer everywhere in the airport. I’ll fly home and people are using it as if it’s spread by the hand. It’s spread in the air; the hands have nothing to do with it.
So, there’s been this illogical, unsupported use of—one thing that hand sanitizers have taught us is almost anything kills a virus. And the same thing is true in the nose. Almost anything kills the virus. In the Chowdhury protocol, they use dilute povidone-iodine which ophthalmologists use called betadine. They use it in a diluted form for eye drops so it works as an anti-infective. Ophthalmologists used this years ago.
Sinus doctors have used it to treat sinusitis for years. Dentists have used dilute povidone-iodine. They’ve used diluted hydrogen peroxide. Dentists have actually used dilute sodium hypochlorite or dilute bleach, just a few drops in some water and gargle and spit to actually kill other viruses like gingivitis, Epstein-Barr, and cytomegalovirus.
So there’s a whole literature of direct virucidal therapy for the nose and mouth. Well, Chowdhury applied it in this randomized trial of 606 individuals and it was stunning. It dropped the PCR positivity rate. It just crashed it after three days, markedly reduced any chances of being hospitalized or worse. They literally shut the virus off in the nose. And the results were stunning. They became available.
Early in 2021, doctors started to adopt it. We started communicating with dentists. We started making handouts, putting it into our patient guide. To this day, the lead approach to COVID-19 is get going by taking dilute povidone-iodine. We’re talking about half a teaspoon in a shot glass at 1.5 cc’s of water. Taking a bulb syringe, over the sink, squirt up in the nose. Sniff it back. Spit it out. Do that twice. Gargle with the rest. And you basically are done. Done.
You can do that twice a day preventively. I tell patients, “You go out to church or congregate settings, you’re still susceptible. Do that as a part of hygiene.” Patients with chronic sinus infections get better with this. They breathe better. And they markedly reduce the risk of developing COVID-19 supported by multiple studies.
Then in acute treatment, we do what Chowdhury does every four hours. And it’s amazing. We can take what’s going to be a potentially severe illness and make it a mild illness. Now, I personally had COVID-19 in [the] 2020s before this research was done. I had no knowledge of using local virucidal therapy. And I can tell you, I remember day by day feeling the virus in my nose and sinuses multiply, multiply, headache, fever, congestion.
And it was obvious that’s where the problem was. And then it invaded my lungs. Then it makes perfect sense. I could have zapped it there and given myself a milder illness. One message that could come out of this, this is available, freely available all over the world. A bottle of povidone-iodine, 10% povidone-iodine costs between $5 and $10 in any online store. It’s widely available. Every household should have it.
Only those with hyperfunctioning thyroid problems which are rare or those who have an iodine allergy could go to a backup which would be dilute hydrogen peroxide. And if the direct nasal wash is too much, they can use a nebulization. The general principle is if it stings, it’s too strong. The virus is easily killed.
Bangladesh, a country of 160 million individuals has basically crushed COVID-19. They had no Delta wave. They basically handled it. So, because our governments, all over, are not looking to other governments, we haven’t seen panels of collaborating doctors. We’ve never seen a symposium on local therapy, what works best for the nose. No mention of it by our public health officials. I’m not even sure they’re aware of this. I’m not sure they even know.
I’m a national news commentator. One time, I was asked, “Dr. McCullough, how come this stuff you know is not mentioned by anybody else?” I said, “The best I can tell is I think people either providing commentary on the news who are not practicing doctors, or our public health officials, I think they’re running about nine months behind on the data.”
And the recent book that came out by Scott Atlas who was on the White House Task Force, he agrees. He believes we basically have a crisis of incompetence. They don’t have top-shelf doctors like myself and Dr. Atlas who have hundreds and hundreds of peer-reviewed publications that have looked at thousands and thousands of reports, and that are pinpointed with the scientific data.
They don’t have those doctors in positions of authority running our public health agencies, and boy, do we need them.
Mr. Jekielek: It really strains credulity, doesn’t it, that there isn’t this international collaboration that you’re describing? It makes you want to jump on a plane and go to Bangladesh and see, “Wow, is it really like this here?”
Dr. McCullough: Or go elsewhere. The idea [is] that there’s no review. You’d think there would be, the World Health Organization would actually assign a task force. This is the biggest public health problem; a monthly review of promising therapies. Why don’t they have presenters from Bangladesh presenting their findings? And by the way, Japanese who contribute to this literature as well?
Why don’t we hear about how Avigan is doing? Why did Japan and Russia, their FDA equivalent, why did they approve Avigan or favipiravir? How is it doing? What’s the clinical experience with this? Let’s hear from the Iranians. They did a 28,000-patient study with hydroxychloroquine. First author is Mokhtari. Let’s hear from Dr. Mokhtari. What [are] your findings? What’s your viewpoint in this? How is it best used?
Why don’t we hear from these individuals, Didier Raoult in France? Fortunately, he had one of the largest voices but he set up a treatment tent outside of hospitals in Marseille, France. And Marseille is on the French Riviera, they’re loaded with French seniors who are at risk for COVID-19. He basically did the best he could to treat them, him and Matthieu Million and others.
We are not hearing from the superstars in COVID-19 and understanding how are they handling the pandemic. It’s obvious the hospitals [are] too late. Now that we have patients who have taken the vaccine and are getting equally sick with COVID-19, they need our attention, too. So, early treatment has always been the top priority because if we focus on early treatment, we can reduce the infections, duration of infectivity from at least two weeks or more to three or four days.
Early treatment markedly changes spread. So we reduce new cases, we reduce the intensity and severity, and duration of symptoms. By that mechanism, we reduce hospitalization and death. There are only two bad outcomes of COVID-19, hospitalization, and death. And do you know, not a single leader can articulate the problem. The problem is we have a respiratory illness and there are only two bad outcomes, hospitalization and death.
The solution is to assign a task force and teams to stop the hospitalizations and deaths. Not a single world leader can articulate the problem. They never have. A world leader has never articulated that problem, believe it or not, to the state.
Mr. Jekielek: Well, the other thing that strikes me just from what you’re talking about, it would seem the immediate thing to be done would be to start a whole bunch of these proper, detailed, randomized controlled trials across a lot of these different treatment protocols that, some of which you’ve come up with, some which have come out of other countries.
Dr. McCullough: Sure, it should have been March 2020; large-scale clinical trials, 20 to 40,000 people. Everybody be in a clinical trial. You’re going to get treatment kit A versus treatment kit B. And we’ll work out the testing of the different drugs. We’ll cover these bases of the viral replication, the inflammation, and the —.
Mr. Jekielek: And we could do this today.
Dr. McCullough: We could do it today. We could have done it two years ago. To this day, we’re in New York City; wonderful place. I didn’t see a single billboard. I didn’t see any single way-finding to help the next person with COVID-19. No mention.
Now, we went into a couple of buildings and there was a discussion about the vaccine. Lots of messaging on the vaccine, but zero mentioning on treatment. None. And it’s been from the very beginning. There is a theme here. I hope everyone’s starting to get the theme.
There is zero effort, interest, promotion or care about early treatment—people [who are] sick with COVID-19. But there is a complete and total focus on people who don’t have COVID-19 and giving them a vaccine. So, the focus is on well people and there is zero focus on sick people. And that’s been the subject of my testimony. And the US Senate and multiple states’ sentiments is a lack of focus.
We should always focus on the sickest people in front of us that were in a mass casualty situation. That’s like you have all these wounded people on the battlefield but you’re going to try to focus on the troops who aren’t wounded. No, we focus on the wounded. We got to take care of them. We got to save lives. No, let’s focus on masks. Let’s focus on—masks and vaccines; they’re not treatments. They don’t save people.
What saves people’s early treatment. And we still have a hospitalization crisis. There’s a paper by Fillmore and colleagues from the VA. One of the interesting findings, many interesting findings in the Fillmore paper—45 percent of people admitted to the hospital never have an oxygen saturation below 94 percent.
What does that tell you? The hospitalizations, a large fraction of them are panic. People are panicking. They’re not sure. They’re seniors. They don’t know if they’re going to die or not. There’s no treatment at home. I must go to the hospital and get something.
So early treatment does these medicinal things, but it does a huge supportive thing that people are going to be okay. Someone’s going to call them. We’re going to check up on them. We’ll get them through this. You mentioned fluvoxamine. Fluvoxamine also reduces anxiety. Maybe that’s by its mechanism, how it helps people through the illness.
Mr. Jekielek: With these types of treatments like diluted betadine solution, there’s this worry that people have through some media messaging that was out there that you might accidentally overdose or take too much and die. I think there’s some product that someone ingested, aquarium product, I can’t even remember. The point is these types of things are highlighted and people are worried. Maybe I’ll take too much of this very interesting prophylaxis that you just described.
Dr. McCullough: So, from the very beginning where there was hydroxychloroquine as a promising treatment for COVID-19, there was an immediate backlash of concerns that it’s going to cause cardiac toxicity and problems. With Ivermectin, there was this immediate backlash that it was going to cause liver toxicity and problems.
Now, something so simple as just an oral-nasal rinse, just swishing it, sniffing it in and spinning up, not swallowing it, people don’t swallow these things. People have been using various nasal rinses and things for decades. There hasn’t been a problem with people swallowing.
Sinus doctors have used this for decades. Dentists use these for decades. Again, they used dilute sodium hypochlorite which is bleach. There’s no swallowing involved. But suddenly, with COVID-19, there was messaging. It came out through the doctors’ news services. And the title of the story was, “Anti-vax doctors push iodine. Patients will swallow and get iodine toxicity.”
We’ve never had messaging like that. How come that messaging didn’t come out when sinus doctors were using it for sinusitis? Why is it suddenly with COVID-19 now something to scare people? So, there’s a theme from the very beginning, to scare people from any hope of treatment. It almost seems intentional to promote as much fear, suffering, hospitalization, and death, and clearly intentional, to sway doctors away from ever advocating any treatment.
What doctor, if they receive a steady stream of messaging through their health system and through the doctors’ news services like Medscape and others, what doctor would actually do that? The newsfeed is constantly, “Do not use hydroxychloroquine.” Even the FDA says that, says, “Do not use Ivermectin.” Even the AMA says this. And now, the newsfeed services don’t even try to rinse the nose and mouth with anything.
So through this, thank goodness, the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons has actually put out a message over to the AMA on Ivermectin and says, “Cease and desist misinformation to the public.” The AMA is providing misinformation to the public when they state that there’s no evidence for Ivermectin. Obviously, there are 63 supportive studies.
The news services are putting intentional misinformation out regarding simple oral and nasal rinses with povidone-iodine or hydrogen peroxide, for instance. Now, those same stakeholders that are putting out that type of messaging also can be looked at and easily viewed as wildly and, in an unbridled fashion, promoting the vaccines with no evaluation or presentation of fair balance, safety, and efficacy. None.
So, it’s clear. I told Tucker Carlson’s interview six months ago. I told Joe Rogan two weeks ago. The promotion of the vaccine is inextricably linked to the suppression of treatment or any hope of prevention. The two are linked. The messaging entities are the same. They’re the same entities. Those promoting the vaccine are those suppressing treatment and prevention.
[Narration]: When we asked the FDA whether they’d slow-walk research and identification of drugs to treat COVID-19, an FDA spokesperson told us, “The FDA is committed to quickly and thoroughly reviewing all submitted applications and emphasize that vaccination is still the best way to prevent severe disease and possible hospitalization.”
The American Medical Association, the Lancet, Health and Human Services HHS, did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Part 2 preview
Mr. Jekielek: Coming up next on American Thought Leaders.
Dr. McCullough: The virus has largely mutated the effect of the vaccines to do anything.
Mr. Jekielek: In part two of my interview with Dr. Peter McCullough, we discuss Omicron, vaccine efficacy, and the full body of evidence on vaccine-related adverse events.
Dr. McCullough: Eighty-six percent of the time, there’s no other explanation.
Mr. Jekielek: And why asymptomatic transmission of the virus is extremely rare.
Dr. McCullough: Asymptomatic spread became probably one of the biggest fallacies of the pandemic.
This interview has been edited for clarity and brevity.
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