Doctors tested positive or developed symptoms ‘within days’ of conference at which alternative treatments were discussed
Seven anti-vaccine doctors fell sick after gathering earlier this month for a Florida “summit” at which alternative treatments for Covid-19 were discussed.
“I have been on ivermectin for 16 months, my wife and I,” Dr Bruce Boros told the audience at the event held at the World Equestrian Center in Ocala, adding: “I have never felt healthier in my life.”
The 71-year-old cardiologist and staunch anti-vaccine advocate contracted Covid-19 two days later, according to the head event organizer, Dr John Littell.
Littell, an Ocala family physician, also told the Daily Beast six other doctors among 800 to 900 participants at the event also tested positive or developed Covid-19 symptoms “within days of the conference”.
Littell raised the suggestion the conference was therefore a super-spreader event but rejected it, vehemently saying: “No.
“I think they had gotten it from New York or Michigan or wherever they were from,” he told the Beast. “It was really the people who flew in from other places.”
He also said: “Everybody so far has responded to treatment with ivermectin … Bruce is doing well.”
The Beast said sources close to Boros said he was gravely ill at his Key West home.
Ivermectin is an antiparasitic which has uses in humans but is predominantly used in livestock such as cows and horses. Authorities say it has no proven use against Covid-19 and can be dangerous if taken in large quantities. The US Food and Drug Administration has not authorized or approved ivermectin as a Covid treatment and has said clinical trials are continuing.
Boros has claimed ivermectin is “working where it’s being used around the world” as a Covid treatment.
In the same Facebook post, he condemned Dr Anthony Fauci, Joe Biden’s chief medical adviser, as “a fraud” and said “big pharma is playing us for suckers”.
In a July interview with Florida Keys Weekly, Boros responded to criticisms of his post, saying: “It breaks my heart that a town like this has made something so political and hateful. What’s wrong with people? I just want to help patients and keep them from dying.”
He also claimed that he gave a seriously ill Covid-19 patient ivermectin and “within six hours he was talking without coughing”.
At the summit in Ocala, Boros criticized his 97-year-old father for getting a Covid vaccine, saying: “He had been brainwashed … He got it. He didn’t tell me. I was very upset. I wanted to give him a spanking. He got both jabs.”
Earlier this year, a significant study supporting ivermectin as a Covid-19 treatment was withdrawn after data was found to have been falsified and patients nonexistent.
The FDA says people should “never use medications intended for animals on yourself or other people. Animal ivermectin products are very different from those approved for humans. Use of animal ivermectin for the prevention or treatment of Covid-19 in humans is dangerous.”
The cabinet passed a corresponding ordinance in a special session on Friday morning,
COVID pill is less effective than had been thought
Drug maker Merck and its partner Ridgeback Biotherapeutics released data Friday showing their experimental pill to treat COVID-19 is less effective than early clinical trials predicted, a finding that emerged as the Food and Drug Administration raised questions about the drug.
Molnupiravir, a pill that could be taken at home, had shown promise in cutting the risk of hospitalization and death by half among high-risk patients in data released by the company in October. But according to the latest findings Merck presented to the FDA, the pill reduced the risk of hospitalization and death only by 30 percent, instead of 50 percent, as initially estimated.
The study by the drug makers found that, among participants receiving the pill, just one participant died during the trial, compared with nine deaths in the placebo group, the companies said in a news release Friday.
‘‘It’s still a 30 percent effect, which is still good for a high-risk population,’’ said David Boulware, an infectious-disease physician and professor of medicine at the University of Minnesota Medical School who was not involved in Merck’s research. ‘‘It’s better than zero, and it’s a starting point, but it’s a little bit more modest.’’
The FDA on Friday asked a panel of expert advisers to weigh the benefit of reduced hospitalizations and deaths in high-risk patients against potential risks associated with the drug. Because Merck and Ridgeback presented new clinical trial data to the agency after FDA scientists completed their review, regulators said their analysis may change ahead of a Tuesday meeting to consider the scientific evidence on the drug.
‘‘The review issues and benefit/risk assessments may therefore differ from the original assessments provided in the briefing document which was based on the interim analysis,’’ an addendum to the FDA briefing materials said.
Merck and Ridgeback are seeking emergency-use authorization for their COVID treatment, which would become the first easy-to-use pill to thwart the virus. The FDA advisory committee is expected to make a recommendation Tuesday, and agency officials typically follow the guidance of the advisers.
The agency reviewed data presented by the companies and determined that the clinical trial identified ‘‘no major safety concerns’’ related to adverse events. The most common side effects were mild to moderate diarrhea, nausea, and dizziness. Still, the FDA identified several areas of concern, including potential risks for pregnant people and the possibility the drug could cause the coronavirus to mutate.