Boston - Most medical drama buffs will sheepishly admit that their minds do conjure up the image of the famous fictional TV character Dr. Gregory House at the mere mention of the name Didier Raoult.
Boston – Most medical drama buffs will sheepishly admit that their minds do conjure up the image of the famous fictional TV character Dr. Gregory House at the mere mention of the name Didier Raoult.
Both Dr. Raoult and Dr. House come across as unapologetically eccentric, extremely nonchalant, and with very little reverence to a powerful establishment that can terminate their careers at the stroke of a pen.
The only difference is that Dr. Raoult is real. His staunch advocacy for Hydroxychloroquine puts him squarely in a faceoff with an authority that values authentically established medical research protocols.
Dr. Raoult’s unorthodox approach to medicine has made him an easy target by those who see any sort of deviation from the process as plain quackery. Dr. Raoult has been called a fraud despite the fact that some of the results he has been able to produce remain hard to refute.
The debate surrounding this topic may seem like it has run its course but the prolificacy of articles and videos that keep cluttering my inbox seem to suggest the opposite.
I placed a call onto my friend Dr. Mohammed Bourdi, a very well established toxicologist who has about 27 years of experience under his belt with the prestigious National Institute of Health (NIH) and who has recently embarked on a new journey with a pharmaceutical company out of Maryland.
My inquiry was blunt, unequivocal, and coming from someone with zero medical background. If Dr. Raoult was such a hack, why is there so much pushback against him? Why don’t they let him dig his own demise?
Dr. Bourdi insists that proper protocol was not followed and no matter what kind of desired results Dr. Raoult keeps churning out, a single outlier is enough to send his entire scientific edifice into a tailspin.
He explains that as long as no control groups are tested and no substantial clinical testing is run at a massive scale, a good outcome should be chalked up as no more than a feel good story that can’t rise to the level of scientific data.
Dr. Bourdi understands why people are quick to speculate about political calculus and big pharma bottom line driving the narrative. In times of uncertainly and confusion, conspiracy theories often thrive.
We have all cheered for the stories of people who went into hospitals on a stretcher unable to breath and came out of there doing jumping jacks and waiving victory signs. Nonetheless, the plural of anecdote is not data and will never be counted as science.
I am still hesitant to dismiss the sweeping success of Hydroxychloroquine in Morocco and other countries as a pure stroke of luck. Moroccan Minister of Health, Khalid Ait Taleb put out a statement distancing Morocco from the finding of Lancet Journal and the official position of the WHO cautioning against the use of Hydroxychloroquine.
Out of the voluminous videos that I have watched, Algerian doctor Mohamed Bekkat Berkani stands by the efficacy of the Hydroxychloroquine in some African countries.
He is reluctant to get into the ring of this unending conundrum but points out that numbers don’t lie. Thousands of patients have benefited from Hydroxychloroquine.
Moroccan media sweetheart, Dr. Tazi, raises an astute observation about the mutating nature of the virus and how it reacts differently with people of different environments.
Dr. El Hassan Tazi, is of the theory that several factors could provide an explanation as to why the impact of the virus was a lot less devastating in Africa than in the US or Europe. Thankfully, those Armageddon scenarios didn’t materialize.
Dr. Bourdi credits the low number of deaths to the quick and sometimes coercive shelter in place policies that these countries implemented.
Scientists have hunkered down in the search of the right panacea that would eradicate this Covid 19. They are not willing to make any concessions on the process. The French High Council of Health has banned the use of Hydroxychloroquine for treating Covid 19 patients.
Economist, Riadh Haoui, sees this as a dangerous infringement on a physician’s space. He commented that ”this is a tragedy of freedom in a totalitarian country like France where doctors are not allowed to treat their patients the way they see fits.”
Skeptics predict Pharma lobbyists to gain even greater grounds where consumer choice and buying power are further going to be diminished and compromised. Regardless of where one stands, few things remain beyond refutation.
The jury is not likely to be out any time soon on this matter. Covid 19 is another episode that will further taint Pharma’s reputation and laypeople are now having highly articulate opinions about the World Health Organization.
Mohamed Brahimi has an extensive background in community organizing and advocacy. He worked as a member of the Harvard University “Islam in the West” research team. He currently teaches at Worcester Polytechnic Institute. He is the founder and managing director Al Arab news newspaper; a bi-monthly publication that cater to Moroccans and Muslims in the Boston area.
The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Morocco World News’ editorial views.
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