Thursday 18th of April 2024

hydroxychloroquine could make donald go deaf... but this won't matter much considering beethoven...


President Trump on Monday announced that he has been taking the anti-malarial drug hydroxychloroquine to ward off the coronavirus.

“A lot of good things have come out on the hydroxy. I’m taking hydroxychloroquine. I’ve been taking it. I hope to not be able to take it soon. But I think people should be allowed to,” the president said at the White House during an unrelated meeting with restaurant industry bigs.

The president said he began taking the drug several weeks ago after getting a letter from a doctor extolling its benefits.

“He said out of hundreds of people that he’s treated he hasn’t lost one. All I can tell you is, so far I seem to be OK. If it doesn’t work you’re not going to get sick or die. It’s been heavily tested,” Trump said.

“I’ve taken it about a week and a half now, and I’m still here. I get a lot of tremendously positive news on the hydroxy, and you know the expression I use, ‘What do you have to lose?’ ” he said, reporting he had “zero symptoms” or side effects despite warnings about taking the drug outside of a hospital setting.


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meanwhile , the geniuses of europe...

After a shambolic, acrimonious display at the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, the EU's main players are now on a mission to demonstrate that the European dream is not dead or dying. To prove that solidarity, common values and a unity of purpose are, in fact, the order of the day.

Before this the European Commission's voice seemed weak and lonely as it tried to co-ordinate member states which were prioritising their own health and economic crises at home. 

The German and French leaders were notably absent: the relationship between them tetchy - with France pushing for the EU's richer countries (including Germany and excluding itself) to take on and share the coronavirus-related debt of the countries of the south. 

But what did we see on Monday? Hey presto: German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron jointly proposing a recovery fundhelp the weakest EU economies get out of a post-covid slump to the tune of €500bn ($545bn; £448bn).


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he's got thick bones...

On Monday US President Donald Trump revealed he had been taking hydroxychloroquine - a medication used to prevent and treat malaria, insisting he had not displayed any symptoms from the medication amid warnings from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) against taking the drug outside of a hospital setting.

Democratic Speaker of the US House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, took a dig at President Trump on Monday, referring to him as being =“morbidly obese”.

​Pelosi, D-Calif., was speaking during an appearance on CNN on Monday night and was questioned by the anchor Anderson Cooper as to whether she was "concerned" by Donald Trump's earlier announcement that he had been taking hydroxychloroquine, an anti-malaria drug he previously touted as a possible “game changer” in the fight against COVID-19.

"As far as the president is concerned, he's our president and I would rather he not be taking something that has not been approved by the scientists, especially in his age group and in his, shall we say, weight group - what is it, morbidly obese they say. So I don't think that's a good idea," Pelosi said.

According to the White House physician, last year’s annual physical checkup had shown that at a height of 6ft 3in (190.5 cm), Trump’s weight was 243lb (110kg). Accordingly, his body mass index scores at 30.4, which is technically obese.


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It's his brain that's too heavy with the genius... He's only 19 kilos overweight for his height, which in America is not bad for a guy who only eats crap food and drinks sodas...

meanwhile in russia, early may...

Colleagues, good afternoon,

We have the heads of all regions and federal agencies connected.

Today we will discuss the principles we will follow in our joint work during the upcoming, extremely important period of the gradual, phased relaxing of restrictions related to the coronavirus epidemic.

As a reminder, by today, all the regions were to have drafted their respective plans based on the recommendations from the Government, Rospotrebnadzor and the State Council working group.

As we agreed, your plans must take into account the real situation on the ground, ensure strict requirements for safety, the protection of people’s health and lives, and must be based on the verified assessments of the level and degree of the potential threat. The final say rests with the doctors and specialists.

Their opinions were taken into account in the Executive Order I signed today. It will be the legal basis for continuing the cooperation between the federal authorities, the regions and the municipalities in countering the coronavirus epidemic.

You are aware of my position, it hasn’t changed. The key priority for us is people’s lives, health and safety.

The period of non-working days announced earlier expires today, May 11. Overall, it lasted for more than six weeks, beginning March 30.

This extraordinary measure enabled us to slow the epidemic, giving us the time we needed to substantially improve readiness of the entire healthcare system in case the epidemiological situation took a turn for the worse.

The number of specialised hospital beds equipped for treating severe cases was increased from 29,000 to 130,000, and we have built up equipment and supplies reserves, including a reserve capacity of ventilators, which has critical importance for us. Thank God, of course, that so far we have had to use only a small fraction of this stand-by capacity.

What matters the most is that every region is ready and has everything it needs to help people that might suffer from severe complications, and offer them specialised medical services, including intensive care. Let me emphasise that almost everyone who needs this care is receiving it.

Another very important thing is that the doctors now know much more about this disease than at the outset of the epidemic. They have gained first-hand experience as well as learned best practices from their foreign colleagues. Newly developed treatment methods rely on effective medicines, and we have been expanding their production.

Foreign experience showed that it was the failure to make the necessary preparations as well as an overwhelmed healthcare system that were the main causes of a high mortality rate, making it impossible to save those who could be saved. Let me reiterate that we are now able to provide this kind of assistance. It would not be an exaggeration to say that measures taken in advance helped us save many thousands of lives.

Of course, doctors, nurses (by the way, tomorrow is your professional holiday, so please accept my congratulations) and all healthcare workers have played a decisive role in these efforts. We, the citizens of the country, will not stop thanking you for your dedicated work. We understand the hardships you face, and see the courage and dignity with which you have been performing your professional duties.

I would like all senior officials, including at the supervisory agencies, to take note that today we must help our medical workers, provide them with everything they need, and, more than that, stop getting on their nerves and wasting their time on excessive reporting and inspections. I would like to ask the Government to take the most thorough decisions regarding this.

What else has changed dramatically over the past few weeks? Coronavirus testing has increased many times over. We performed 2,500 tests in early March. The current figure is some 170,000 a day. This is one of the highest figures in the world. But it is not figures that matter.

The main thing is that we are now able to identify coronavirus patients at an early stage, including asymptomatic coronavirus patients. This helps us prevent grave consequences, the development of the disease, and protect these carriers and those nearby, namely relatives, colleagues and other people, and so stop the spread of the coronavirus infection.

Of course, people are worried about the daily reports of new coronavirus cases. This is understandable. But the potential danger is in the number of cases we might miss. As I have said, the more efficiently we conduct the testing and identify new patients, including asymptomatic patients, the sooner we will overcome the epidemic.

Already by mid-May, we will practically double the number of daily tests to 300,000. I would like to ask the Government and the Healthcare Ministry to further step up these efforts.

The measures we have taken, those I mentioned above, allow us to move to the next stage in the fight against the epidemic, that is, the gradual lifting of restrictions.

This period has several fundamentally important parts. First of all, this cannot be done overnight. We must do this gradually, carefully, one step after another. Moreover, the relaxing of the restrictions must be accompanied by strict compliance with the conditions and sanitary requirements needed to ensure people’s safety.

And one more key point. We have a big country. The epidemiological situation varies across the regions. We factored this in before, and now at the next stage, we have to act even more specifically and carefully. We cannot just follow a general pattern because in some regions certain actions might produce unjustified risk for people while in others it could lead to unjustified restrictions for people and businesses.

Thus, effective tomorrow, May 12, this period of non-working days for the entire country and all branches of the economy comes to an end. But the fight against the epidemic goes on. The danger remains even in those territories where the situation is relatively good and where new cases are in the single digits.

But we cannot allow any failure, a backslide, a new wave of the epidemic with a higher number of severe complications. Let me reiterate: the relaxing of the restrictions will not happen overnight. It will require a significant amount of time.

This is why, starting on May 12, it will be necessary to maintain both general sanitary requirements and additional preventive measures in the regions during all stages until the complete end of the epidemic. I am instructing the Government and the heads of the regions of the Federation, and the sanitary authorities to ensure control over compliance with them.

Of course, public events are out of the question throughout the entire country; and we definitely need to strictly follow the sanitary rules. This includes organisations, companies, retail, services and public transport.

The enhanced safety measures must also remain in place for people over 65 years and for patients with chronic diseases.

I am now addressing our older people. My dear citizens, I understand how hard it is for you to constantly stay at home, often separated from your children and grandchildren. But you have to be patient. These are not empty words, this is a matter of life. We are maintaining the restrictions because we are concerned about you and we are doing everything we can to fend off the threat of the virus from you so that this danger passes faster.

And now I am addressing everybody in this meeting, it is very important to pay close attention to orphanages and nursing homes. People who live there need special care and, due to their age and chronic diseases many of them may have, they are especially vulnerable.

Social workers are now carrying an extra workload and higher risks. Therefore, I think we need to introduce extra pay on a national level for the three months between April 15 and July 15. I would like to make it clear that the pay that was already allocated for April will reach people regardless.

Doctors at social institutions will receive an extra 40,000 rubles for a two-week shift. Those who are working directly with coronavirus patients will receive 60,000 rubles.

Social workers, teachers, mid-level medical and administrative staff will receive 25,000 rubles and if they are dealing with infected patients – 35,000 rubles. Junior medical staff will receive 15,000 and 20,000 rubles, respectively. Maintenance staff will receive 10,000 and 15,000 rubles, respectively.

Further, once again, the situation varies from region to region. This is exactly why the regions were given flexibility with their decisions that were commensurate with the level of risk. Today’s Executive Order reaffirms their authority. The regional heads will be making decisions on restrictive and preventive measures based on the analyses of their specific situation and the opinion of their respective chief sanitary doctors. They will be deciding in which order these restrictions may gradually be relaxed or extended and, if necessary, even expanded with more measures.

Now, I will specifically elaborate on the operation of various facilities.

Of course, like before, all government bodies and municipal authorities will continue working, as well as facilities with a continuous production cycle, medical institutions, pharmacies, financial bodies, grocery stores and stores selling essential products.

Additionally, starting May 12, wherever possible, it is necessary to create conditions for resuming the operations of backbone industries, which include construction, industrial production, agriculture, communications, energy production and extraction of mineral resources.

These industries involve a significant number of workers and working there means the income and wellbeing of their families. It is also important that these operations do not involve direct contact with consumers – so it is possible to resume operation with low risk. Naturally, all sanitary regulations must be complied with.

At the same time, the heads of the regions retain the right to restrict or even suspend business operations, taking into consideration the developments on the ground, the advice coming from chief sanitary doctors, and subject to approval by the Government, including in cases where ensuring compliance with sanitary security requirements is clearly impossible.

If decisions like this are taken, people employed by companies whose operations are suspended will not lose their salaries, just as before. This is a matter of principle. I am instructing the regional heads to keep this under control.

In this context, I would like to stress that the work restrictions that were enacted from March through May had a negative effect on many sectors of the economy. We drafted and constantly expand a list of the affected sectors and companies, we offer federal support, so that small and medium-sized companies, as well as backbone companies preserve jobs, keep their teams in place, and do not accumulate wage arrears.

We will definitely keep the support measures that have been adopted so far in place. However, as we move towards reviving business activity I have decided to introduce a new package of measures to support individuals and the economy, having thoroughly discussed this with the Government. I will set forth these measures today separately.

At the same time, I would like to draw your attention to the fact that should the heads of the regions decide to suspend business operations for companies that are not on the list of affected sectors, they will have to offer their own support mechanisms for these companies and for maintaining jobs. These initiatives will have to be coordinated with the federal Government as well.

Regions and government institutions at all levels now bear exceptional responsibility for literally every step they take. This applies to preventive measures, as well as having a clear and reasonable policy for lifting restrictions or determining how specific companies should operate.

Individuals, companies and all of us are interested in getting the economy back on track as soon as possible. The experience of many regions, including Moscow where construction and industrial companies will go back to work tomorrow, shows that they can operate steadily and at the same time safely even in this challenging epidemiological situation.

Let met reiterate, however, that the heads of the regions must carefully consider these decisions. Jumping ahead too soon would be reckless and dangerous. At the same time, sitting idly and evading responsibility is not an option. It is a question of choosing between Scylla and Charybdis.

I am asking my colleagues in the Government and the State Council working group to continue providing the necessary assistance to the regions, including in terms of expertise, as they gradually move toward lifting the restrictions.

We have a complicated and long journey ahead of us, with no room for mistakes. I expect you to give as much attention as possible to this matter and ensure maximum preparedness in order to be ready to promptly respond no matter how the events play out.


The epidemic and the restrictions it caused were a major blow to the economy and the social sector that have affected the well-being of millions of Russians. Many have seen their incomes decline, while unforeseen expenses and debt have been piling up. This has happened to people working in various sectors, as well as entrepreneurs with small businesses.

From the outset, we took a principled decision to focus on helping people, those of our citizens who need this support. Maintaining employment and salaries so that workers can earn their income has been a key criterion for supporting businesses and backbone enterprises.

At the same time, now that we are taking the first steps in lifting the restrictions, with people and businesses facing so many challenges, we need to do more, and offer people direct assistance.


I would now like to ask for the attention of those who are directly concerned by the proposed support measures. You must know your rights and the authorities must ensure them by all means.

So, first of all, families with children. They always have a lot of things to take care of, but now if a family loses its income it is very difficult. All the more so if one of the parents, or worse, both of them, have lost their jobs. Unfortunately, this is happening in some cases.

As you know additional benefits are being specified for families entitled to maternity capital in the amount of 5,000 rubles a month per child under 3. The family will be getting this monthly amount for three months from April through June.

In addition, families with parents who lost their jobs are entitled to 3,000 rubles a month for each underage child. These benefits will also be paid for three months.

Next. We have made a decision that families with an income per person below the subsistence minimum can apply for benefits for children aged 3 to 7, inclusive, starting June 1 rather than July 1 as originally specified.

I draw you attention to the fact that these benefits are calculated, as I said in the Address, from the beginning of the year. Thus, a family who applies in June will get all the benefit it is entitled to in the first half of the year. On average (let me stress – on average) this can add up to 33,000 rubles per child, and a family like this will be getting regular benefit payments every month. The national average is 5,500 rubles per child per month.

However, I believe that this not really enough these days. Many more families with children need direct support from the state. The favourable macroeconomic conditions we have created in recent years for the progress of the economy, the rehabilitation of the banking and financial system in the country and the reserves we have accumulated allow us to take more decisions on supporting people.

In this connection I suggest, first of all, that the minimum child allowance be increased from 3,375 rubles to 6,751 rubles. This benefit is to be paid to non-working citizens, including students. As a rule, these are young parents and young mothers. It is important that we support them.

Second, I mentioned additional payments for children under 3 years old in the families that are eligible for maternity capital. But many families are not eligible because their children were born before January 1, 2020 when the new parameters for receiving maternity capital, including for the first child, were approved.

In light of this, I suggest that 5,000-ruble monthly payments be approved for such families. Moreover, they should receive this amount not only in May and June, but also for April, that is, retroactively. In this way, all families in Russia with children under 3 years old will receive 5,000 rubles a month.

And last, one more child support measure: from June 1, families will receive a one-off payment of 10,000 rubles per child aged between 3 and 16 years.

I would like to point out that this is not the time for people to waste a lot of personal time collecting all kinds of certificates and statements. Therefore, we have taken the only fair decision, as I see it, that no formal criteria are adopted for this one-off payment. The only condition is that assistance must be provided to everyone who needs it.

As I said, every family in Russia with children between 3 and 15 years inclusively will be able to submit a request for this one-off assistance starting tomorrow, online via the Gosuslgi [Public Services] Portal or through the Pension Fund, and receive 10,000 rubles per child starting June 1.

Overall, in accordance with the decisions we took today and our previous decisions, assistance will be provided to 27 million Russian children, from babies to schoolchildren. I believe that this is what state priorities should be like, especially now that we must above all take care of our elderly people and support families with children.


As you know, we hold meetings with the participation of the business community on supporting and developing key economic sectors almost every week. Moving forward, we will definitely keep this process in place for devising targeted solutions and fine-tuning earlier decisions. We will discuss developments in agriculture, textiles, communications and the IT sector.

However today I wanted to draw your attention to one urgent and system-wide problem. According to the latest official figures, the number of unemployed people in Russia has reached 1.4 million, having doubled compared to early April.

This is quite a challenging situation that requires comprehensive efforts to stabilise employment and support those who have lost their jobs. I ask the Government to draft resolutions to this effect. We will discuss them at a separate meeting that will take place before the end of May.

Let me tell you outright that our main goal is to reduce the risk of any further increases in the unemployment rate as much as possible, so we need to be proactive in this area as well. After all, a qualified workforce is a major development driver for the country, just like the creative entrepreneurial spirit is for the business community. We need to safeguard these assets.

Consequently, there is no question that measures to support the economy, and primarily those designed to keep companies on a sustainable footing, will have to be carried out. We need to maintain jobs, professional teams, business infrastructure and capacities so as to avoid any further sharp fall in employment, while enabling business owners to restore their teams, expand operations and get the economy back on track.

Let me remind you that we have offered direct government subsidies to small and medium-sized businesses, as well as socially-oriented NGOs in the affected sectors, so that they can pay their employees salaries for April and May. The key requirement for receiving this support is to keep at least 90 percent of their employees on the payroll compared to April 1. This measure could potentially cover 4 million workers.

At the same time businesses need to understand their prospects; they need to see the horizon of the unfolding situation so they can make decisions, as I said, with a planning horizon rather than just for the next month or two.

So, we have a number of other measures.

First. I suggest that a special employment support loan programme be launched effective June 1. All businesses in the affected industries as well as socially-oriented NGOs should be eligible for it. This measure could potentially sustain 7 million jobs.

Loan volumes will be calculated based on a formula of one minimum wage per employee per month for a period of six months. The loan maturity date will be April 1, 2021.

It is crucial that these loans are accessible to businesses while banks should be interested in working with this programme. The final interest rate for the borrower will be a preferential 2 percent rate. Everything above this will be subsidised by the state. The interest will not need to be paid monthly, it will be compounded. In addition, 85 percent of the loan will be guaranteed by the state.

And the key is that if the company keeps 90 or more percent of its current jobs, after the loan matures, it will be completely written off as will the interest on it. These costs will be covered by the state.

If the number of jobs is kept to least at 80 percent, half of the loan and compounded interest will be written off.

Such loan could be used with some flexibly for paying wages and, for example, to refinance earlier no-interest, so-called “wage loan.” As you know, we are already using this employment support tool.

However, even with all the freedom to manoeuvre for businesses and other organisations, I must instruct the Government to ensure control over the basic premise: businesses must spend the funds primarily to pay wages. Any schemes like “paper jobs” or jobs with wages below minimum wage are to be excluded, totally excluded. I ask you to strictly monitor this.

And of course, along with the loan, businesses will have to co-finance wages with their own funds.

What I want to stress here is that we have supported and will continue to support businesses, but those who care about their employees are the priority. Once again, the point of providing government support is to motivate businesses to retain jobs and maintain wages.

Second, affected industries have already been granted tax and social insurance contribution deferrals for six months and will be able to pay it back in instalments over the course of a year – as business representatives asked me to do at one of the meetings. However, to simply postpone tax payments is apparently not enough right now.

Therefore, I propose cancelling these payments for the second quarter of this year, except for VAT. This measure will apply to private entrepreneurs, small and medium-sized businesses in the listed industries and socially-oriented NGOs.

Once again, to be clear, in this case, taxes and social contributions for the second quarter will not just be deferred, they will be cancelled – for April, May and June, the months that businesses find themselves in a difficult situation and are still experiencing hardships. More than 1.5 million companies will be able to benefit from this measure.

Third, last year, in four regions – Moscow, Tatarstan, the Moscow Region and the Kaluga Region – self-employed citizens, including those providing transport services, rental property owners, tutors, babysitters, etc., got an opportunity to do their businesses officially, rather than in a so-called grey area and pay income tax at a reduced rate of 4 or 6 percent. Some 340,000 people used this opportunity last year.

These people trusted the government and believed the guarantees for secure and civilised work. So, I think this aspiration should be supported and even encouraged. I propose tax rebates for taxes paid by the self-employed for the 2019 fiscal year in full.

The fourth proposal is related. Currently, people can register as self-employed in 23 regions. The number of officially registered self-employed workers is now over 650,000. I propose providing all self-employed citizens with a tax credit in the amount of one minimum wage they could use to pay taxes this year, thus retaining their own income.

Fifth, we also need to lower the fiscal burden on the self-employed in the most heavily affected sectors. I suggest that this year they be given a tax deduction in the amount of one minimum wage from their insurance payments, which will come as additional support to them at this difficult time.

And finally, the sixth measure. Government agencies providing microfinancing support for the self-employed, family enterprises and small businesses have been established and are working efficiently in all Russian regions.

I suggest that additional capitalisation be provided to small but efficient regional development institutions without delay and that 12 billion rubles be allocated for this purpose. These funds have been earmarked for the national project on small and medium-sized businesses for the next few years. I believe that this financial resource must be used now, in 2020.


It is obvious that we will have to revitalise normal business life gradually, step by step. At the same time, we will need to tackle strategic tasks and respond to the challenges of the new reality that is now taking shape in the world, as global markets and global trade are experiencing a shock and as the technology race accelerates.

Therefore, I have instructed the Government to start formulating a national recovery plan for employment and for individual incomes, as well as for long-term economic development.

I would like to note that this plan should aim not only at restoring the pace of our business activity but also at moving forward apace towards the achievement of our national development goals, at ensuring economic revival and a new quality in the economy through radical improvement of the business environment and conditions for doing business, deep structural changes, the creation of efficient high-tech jobs in all sectors, the launch of large-scale investment projects, as well as infrastructure and spatial development projects.

Of course, such plans call for huge financial resources and for increasing the availability of loans in the real economy. The Bank of Russia has already lowered the key interest rate and has said that they are prepared to take more steps in this direction. I hope that these decisions will support demand in the national economy in the second half of the year and will provide additional resources to our companies, which will ultimately accelerate the re-employment.

I want to emphasise the fact that we are taking complex decisions in challenging times. Of course, they need to be prepared in a timely and professional manner. Even more importantly, they need to be fully implemented, in order to ensure that the substantial funds allocated by the government find their way to specific families, people and companies.

Here is my message to all our colleagues: friends, you will be personally responsible for these efforts. Let me reiterate that these instructions will be deemed fulfilled only when every person entitled to government assistance gets it.

In this connection, I would like to remind you that back on April 8, which means more than a month ago, I proposed making a special federal payment to doctors, paramedics and nurses, and to ambulance drivers who were dealing with coronavirus patients.

However, I was informed that as of May 9, only 56 regions had made these payments, and that 56,000 people had actually received it, which is less than half of all healthcare workers entitled to these payments.

The regions already received the funds for making these April payments. I am instructing the heads of the regions to have these April payments made to healthcare workers by May 15, and we are at May 11 today, and so I am instructing the Government and the Healthcare Ministry to coordinate and continuously monitor these efforts.

Friends, please be aware that I will personally review the progress on this matter in every Russian region.

There is one more question I will keep a close eye on. On May 6, I signed an Executive Order offering additional insurance guarantees to healthcare workers, similar to those granted to Armed Forces personnel. This insurance coverage applies to everyone who has contributed to fighting the epidemic from the outset. This is a matter of principle.

Overall, I am asking the Council for Strategic Development and National Projects working group, together with the Russian Popular Front, to review the progress on this and other key instructions on supporting people and the economy, and to submit a detailed report to this effect. These controls will be carried out regularly moving forward.

And now I would like to address all Russian citizens.


We are beginning to gradually, very carefully and cautiously, relax the restrictions. The period of non-working days that was declared across the country is coming to an end.

Yes, restrictions are still in place for some territories and some businesses. I am sure that you are aware of the situation in your region and will understand the decisions.

Meanwhile, I ask the heads of the regions, provided all health safety requirements are observed, to let people, wherever possible, leave their homes, walk with children, train alone, and do it in such a way as to minimise the threat of spreading the virus.

Friends, please use extreme caution. Please maintain and even step up your personal efforts to prevent catching the virus.

I understand and I mentioned earlier that it is next to impossible to endure all these restrictions. But it would be much worse to catch the virus, to get sick and become temporarily disabled.

We have chosen a path designed to preserve people’s lives and health, and we have achieved a lot, we have done a lot and have overcome much. And increasing the number of regions that can return to normal depends on every one of us.

Thank you.

And now I, along with my colleagues from the regions and the Government, will move to the meeting itself.


I would like to say the following in conclusion.


First, I would like to address the Cabinet and the regions as well, because the State Council working group has also worked with the Government. The proposed measures to support our citizens, the social sector in general, support the economy are absolutely unprecedented and large-scale. I believe that never before in our modern history has the state allocated such resources to support our people and certain sectors of the economy. I do not recall anything like this, even in the hard times of 2008–2009, during the world financial and economic crises.

These measures were prepared by all of us here. We believe they are not only expedient and feasible, but also implementable. This means they should be implemented. We must take all of this seriously. As I said in my opening remarks, this is the only way we will be able to say that we are achieving our goals and will strive to create the conditions that will be a springboard for us to restore not only our normal economic and social life but also to create conditions for the long-term development of the country, the economy in general and for the support of our people.

I ask you to take this as seriously as possible.

Thank you.

Vladimir Putin

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the mad man isn't that mad after all...

A trial to see whether two anti-malarial drugs could prevent Covid-19 has begun in Brighton and Oxford.

Chloroquine, hydroxychloroquine or a placebo will be given to more than 40,000 healthcare workers from Europe, Africa, Asia and South America.

All the participants are staff who are in contact with Covid-19 patients.

US President Donald Trump was criticised this week after he said he had been taking hydroxychloroquine, despite warnings it might be unsafe.

The first UK participants in the global trial are being enrolled on Thursday at the Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals and the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford. 

They will be given either hydroxychloroquine or a placebo for three months. At sites in Asia, participants will be given chloroquine or a placebo.

These are the first of a planned 25 UK sites, with results expected by the end of the year. 

The trial is open to anyone delivering direct care to coronavirus patients in the UK, as long as they have not been diagnosed with Covid-19. 

It will test whether the drugs can prevent healthcare workers exposed to the virus from contracting it.


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Read from top....


Read also: the US constitution might have been signed in haze of marijuana smoke...


The tests are likely to be found inconclusive.... I would say that at this level of disease, testing half a million people would be more of a real indication of effectiveness in preventing an infection —considering that the placebo group has to be as large as the pill group, while the dosage, the people circumstances in encountering infected people and countries habits would influence the smaller sample result. Tests should be done in high risk areas such as nursing homes and retirement villages... and cruise ships... 

Meanwhile the result on the smaller sampling will be affected by people avoiding being infected... Would you not?

of good and bad about chloroquine et al...



Coronaviruses use the endolysosomal pathway to enter the cell before uncoating. Chloroquine (CQ) and hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) are antimalarial drugs that affect endosomal function and block autophagosome-lysosome fusion (9). Both drugs have been shown to inhibit SARS-CoV-2 replication in cellular models (8, 10). Azithromycin (AZ), a widely used broad-spectrum antibiotic, also blocks autophagosome clearance in human cells (11) and replication of the Zika virus and influenza virus in human cells in vitro (12). Preliminary results from a small randomized trial of HCQ in COVID-19 patients report a reduction in time to clinical resolution (13). A small open-label trial has demonstrated increased reduction in viral load for COVID-19 patients receiving the combination of HCQ and AZ relative to HCQ alone, although this study has been heavily criticized because of post hoc removal of several subjects from the study analysis (14). These hypothesis-generating studies have justified emergency approval of their use for COVID-19 in the United States, where they are both being widely used.

However, both HCQ and AZ have potential cardiac toxicity (QT prolongation, which can lead to fatal arrhythmia), and HCQ additionally has the potential for negative effects on the eye. Understanding risk-benefit ratios is paramount if these drugs are to become a standard of care for COVID-19. Several post hoc analyses carried out in the United States and Europe suggest modest benefit, at best, from HCQ monotherapy for COVID-19 patients; one large post hoc analysis among U.S. veterans suggests that there is harm to patients from HCQ. Given the mechanistic rationale but lack of well-designed clinical studies and potential for drug-induced toxicity, there is a key need for controlled, randomized trials to test the efficacy and safety of these drugs for COVID-19 patients.


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of GS-5734?...

Emerging viral infections are difficult to control because heterogeneous members periodically cycle in and out of humans and zoonotic hosts, complicating the development of specific antiviral therapies and vaccines. Coronaviruses (CoVs) have a proclivity to spread rapidly into new host species causing severe disease. Severe acute respiratory syndrome CoV (SARS-CoV) and Middle East respiratory syndrome CoV (MERS-CoV) successively emerged, causing severe epidemic respiratory disease in immunologically naïve human populations throughout the globe. Broad-spectrum therapies capable of inhibiting CoV infections would address an immediate unmet medical need and could be invaluable in the treatment of emerging and endemic CoV infections. We show that a nucleotide prodrug, GS-5734, currently in clinical development for treatment of Ebola virus disease, can inhibit SARS-CoV and MERS-CoV replication in multiple in vitro systems, including primary human airway epithelial cell cultures with submicromolar IC50 values. GS-5734 was also effective against bat CoVs, prepandemic bat CoVs, and circulating contemporary human CoV in primary human lung cells, thus demonstrating broad-spectrum anti-CoV activity. In a mouse model of SARS-CoV pathogenesis, prophylactic and early therapeutic administration of GS-5734 significantly reduced lung viral load and improved clinical signs of disease as well as respiratory function. These data provide substantive evidence that GS-5734 may prove effective against endemic MERS-CoV in the Middle East, circulating human CoV, and, possibly most importantly, emerging CoV of the future.


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Science Translational Medicine  28 Jun 2017:
Vol. 9, Issue 396, eaal3653

not taking it anymore...

President Trump said that he is no longer on hydroxychloroquine, the anti-malarial drug he has been taking for several weeks as a treatment to ward off the coronavirus.

“Finished, just finished,” Trump told “Full Measure with Sharyl Attkisson” during an interview that aired Sunday on Sinclair Broadcasting. “And by the way, I’m still here. To the best of my knowledge, here I am.”

Last Monday, Trump revealed he had started taking the drug “a couple of weeks ago.”

The president said he’d received letters and calls from doctors extolling the drug’s benefits and that the White House physician consented to him taking it.

“I’ve heard a lot of good stories. And if it is not good, I will tell you, right. I’m not going to get hurt by it. It has been around for 40 years for malaria, for lupus, for other things,” Trump had said.

The Food and Drug Administration, however, has warned about using the drug for coronavirus treatment outside of hospitals or clinical trials due to the risk of heart problems.


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the cinchona officinalis tree...


... if you hack your way through the rainforest’s dense jungle, cross its rushing rivers and avoid the jaguars and pumas, you may see one of the few remaining specimens of the endangered cinchona officinalis tree. To the untrained eye, the thin, 15m-tall tree may blend into the thicketed maze. But the flowering plant, which is native to the Andean foothills, has inspired many myths and shaped human history for centuries.

“This may not be a well-known tree,” said Nataly Canales, who grew up in the Peruvian Amazonian region of Madre de Dios. “Yet, a compound extracted from this plant has saved millions of lives in human history.”

Today, Canales is a biologist at the National Museum of Denmark who is tracing the genetic history of cinchona. As she explained, it was the bark of this rare tree that gave the world quinine, the world’s first anti-malarial drug. And while the discovery of quinine was welcomed by the world with both excitement and suspicion hundreds of years ago, in recent weeks, this tree’s medical derivatives have been at the centre of another heated global debateSynthetic versions of quinine – such as chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine – have been touted and largely disputed as possible treatments for the novel coronavirus.


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Gus still take a very very small dose of quinine daily in his "tonic"...

no hay razón para dejar de usar hidroxicloroquina...

The Spanish health watchdog has said it sees no reason to stop the use of hydroxychloroquine (HCQ), the potentially dangerous medicine touted as a Covid-19 treatment by the US president.

Several European nations, including France, Italy and Belgium, have decided to suspend prescription of the anti-malaria drug, which came to international prominence after US President Donald Trump said the medicine could be used to tackle Covid-19 and that he himself was taking it.

The Spanish health watchdog, AEMPS, said the paper published by the magazine Lancet, which warned about health risks associated with HCQ, was not conclusive enough to stop testing it at Spanish hospitals. “It is an observational study, not a clinical trial,” a spokesman for AEMPS explained.

HCQ, which is also used to treat autoimmune diseases like lupus, has been widely prescribed in Spain to Covid-19 patients, with the country enduring one of the worst outbreaks of the disease in Europe. Accordingto El Pais, 85 percent of patients taken to hospital with the coronavirus received the medicine.

The Lancet study found a higher mortality rate among Covid-19 patients who had received HCQ. The World Health Organization (WHO) decided to pause clinical trials of the medicine for coronavirus treatment following the report’s publication.


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concerns related to the methodology...

The study of the prestigious journal The Lancet - which pushed WHO to suspend tests on hydroxychloroquine within the framework of the treatment of Covid-19 - is attacked on all sides by the scientific community which questions its methodology.


The study published on May 22 in the scientific journal The Lancet caused a stir. Led by Dr. Mandeep Mehra and his colleagues on the data of approximately 96,000 patients hospitalized between December and April in 671 hospitals, it concluded that treatment with hydroxychloroquine does not seem to be beneficial to patients of Covid-19 hospitalized and could even be harmful.


Three days later, the World Health Organization (WHO) announced the precautionary suspension of clinical trials it was conducting on this molecule with its partners in several countries.


Several other clinical trials were suspended in the process, and France banned the use of hydroxychloroquine for the treatment of Covid-19, to the chagrin of its sponsors.



Concerns related to the methodology and the integrity of the data.


However, like the now famous professor Didier Raoult who, first, judged The Lancet study "messy", many researchers, — including some skeptics on the value of the molecule to treat patients of Covid-19 —, today express their doubts about The Lancet study, questioning in particular the source of the data used.


Find out more about RT France:

the hydroxychloroquine publishing scandal...


The “Deadly” Hydroxychloroquine Publishing Scandal

How the World’s top medical journals were cynically exploited by Big Pharma



Elizabeth Woodworth



A publishing scandal recently erupted around the use of the anti-malarial drug hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) to treat Covid 19. It is also known as quinine and chloroquine, and is on the WHO list of essential medicines.

The bark of the South American quina-quina tree has been used to treat malaria for 400 years. Quinine, a generic drug costing pennies a dose, is available for purchase online. In rare cases it can cause dizziness and irregular heartbeat.

In late May, 2020, The Lancet published a four-author study claiming that HCQ used in hospitals to treat Covid-19 had been shown conclusively to be a hazard for heart death. The data allegedly covered 96,000 patients in 671 hospitals on six continents.

After the article had spent 13 days in the headlines, dogged by scientific objections, three of the authors retracted it on June 5.

Meanwhile, during an expert closed-door meeting leaked May 24 in France, The Lancet and NEJM editors explained how financially powerful pharmaceutical players were “criminally” corrupting medical science to advance their interests.


On May 22, 2020, the time-honoured Lancet – one of the world’s two top medical journals – published the stunning claim that 671 hospitals on six continents were reporting life-threatening heart rhythms in patients taking hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) for Covid-19.

The headlines that followed were breath-taking.

Although wider access to the drug had recently been urged in a petition signed by nearly 500,000 French doctors and citizens, WHO and other agencies responded to the article by immediately suspending the clinical trials that may have cleared it for use.

North American headlines did not mention that HCQ has been on the WHO list of essential drugs since the list began in 1977. Nor did they mention an investigative report on the bad press that hydroxychloroquine had been getting prior to May 22, and how financial interests had been intersecting with medicine to favour Gilead’s new, more expensive drug, Remdesivir.


As a Canadian health sciences librarian who delivered statistics to a large public health agency for 25 years, I sensed almost immediately that the article had to be flawed.

Why? Because health statistics are developed for different purposes and in different contexts, causing them to exist in isolated data “stovepipes.” Many health databases, even within a single region or country, are not standardized and are thus virtually useless for comparative research.

How, I wondered, could 671 hospitals worldwide, including Asia and Africa, report comparable treatment outcomes for 96,000 Covid patients? And so quickly?

The Lancet is strong in public health and surely suspected this. Its award-winning editor-in-chief, Dr. Richard Horton, has been in his job since 1995.

So how could the damning HCQ claims have been accepted? Here is what I discovered.


To some extent, authors submitting articles to medical journals are on the honour system, in which cited databases are trusted by the editors, yet are available for inspection if questioned.[2]

On May 28, an open letter from 200 scientists to the authors and The Lancet requested details of the data and an independent audit. The letter was “signed by clinicians, medical researchers, statisticians, and ethicists from across the world.” (full text here.)

The authors declined to supply the data, or even the hospital names. Meanwhile, investigative analysis was showing the statistics to be deeply flawed.

If this were not enough, the lead author was found to be in a conflict of interest with HCQ’s rival drug, Remdesivir:

Dr. Mandeep Mehra, the lead co-author is a director at Brigham & Women’s Hospital, which is credited with funding the study. Dr. Mehra and The Lancet failed to disclose that Brigham Hospital has a partnership with Gilead and is currently conducting two trials testing Remdesivir, the prime competitor of hydroxychloroquine for the treatment of COVID-19, the focus of the study.”

In view of the foregoing, the article was retracted by three of its authors on June 5.

How did this fraud get past The Lancet reviewers in the first place?

The answer emerges from what has remained an obscure French interview, although it has been quoted in the alternative media.

On May 24, a closed-door Chatham House expert meeting about Covid included the editors-in-chief of The Lancet and the NEJM. Comments regarding the article were leaked to the French press by a well-known health figure, Dr. Philippe Douste-Blazy,[xvii] who felt compelled to blow the whistle.

His resulting BFM TV interview was posted to YouTube with English subtitles on May 31, but it was not picked up by the English-speaking media.

These were The Lancet editor Dr. Richard Horton’s words, as reported by Dr. Douste-Blazy:

If this continues, we are not going to be able to publish any more clinical research data because pharmaceutical companies are so financially powerful today, and are able to use such methodologies as to have us accept papers which are apparently methodologically perfect, but which, in reality, manage to conclude what they want to conclude.”

Doust-Blazy made his own comments on Horton’s words:

I never thought the boss of The Lancet could say that. And the boss of the New England Journal of Medicine too. He even said it was ‘criminal’. The word was used by them.”

The final words in Doust-Blazy’s interview were:

When there is an outbreak like Covid, in reality, there are people like us – doctors – who see mortality and suffering. And there are people who see dollars. That’s it.”

The scientific process of building a trustworthy knowledge base is one of the foundations of our civilization. Violating this process is a crime against both truth and humanity.

Evidently the North American media does not consider this extraordinary crime to be worth reporting.

----------Originally published at Global Research. An interesting side note, before [the] fake study was published, Dr Wolfgang Wodarg theorised that use of HCQ may explain the higher death rate in patients of African ancestry – ed.



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Note: old Gus takes a tiny amount of quinine daily via a quarter glass of Indian Tonic Water... whether it's good or not?. Gus had malaria for a few years. Psycho-deluded or real, it seems to have prevented Gus from catching cold and flu for quite a few years... Why only a small quantity?: minimise the amount of sugar intake... counter-balanced by red ned...


some doctors still swear by it...


As Global Research reported, America’s Frontline Doctorsheld a press conference on Capitol Hill on Monday. Over 17 million people watched the video (above) before YouTube, Twitter and Facebook gave it the “misinformation” stamp of disapproval and deleted it.

Yet another censored video exposing the COVID charade. No big surprise… But then I tried to visit the organization’s website and was met with the following message: “Website expired.”

Their site is (was) hosted by SquareSpace. I have not yet found any explanation for the take-down. The hosting companies Acceptable Use Policy seems pretty reasonable. Nonetheless, point 3.1 is wide open for any sort of censorship, forbidding: 

anything that’s false, fraudulent, inaccurate or deceiving.”

Public health authorities would likely deem the main message of America’s Frontline Doctors as “false.” In their press conference they state that hydroxychloroquine (when combined with zinc) is a safe and effective drug in the prevention and treatment of COVID-19. This anti-malaria drug has been used for decades to treat auto-immune conditions. 

Personally, I haven’t had much interest in the drug. It lends to the halo that COVID-19 has been an exceptionally deadly virus (rather than no worse than a bad flu season). I also think that lifestyle choices offer more protection – such as getting sufficient sleep (e.g. don’t drink coffee), proper diet, fresh air, exercise and intermittent fasting.

That said, this drug may offer the extra boost elderly and immune-compromised people need in surviving any respiratory illness. Also, most people don’t live a healthy lifestyle and would rather rely on a drug to keep them well. And I’d much rather see people having the option to voluntary take a moderate dose of hydroxychloroquine every few days; rather than all of us being forced to take a rushed and improperly tested COVID-19 vaccine every few months. 

“I have personally treated over 350 patients with COVID-19 from all ages and with all kinds of pre-existing medical conditions,” Dr. Stella Immanuel said at the conference. “I have put them on hydroxychloroquine, zinc and Zithromax and they are all well. I and many other doctors have taken hydroxychloroquine as a preventative measure and none of us has gotten sick. It works! One pill of hydroxychloroquine every other week would be sufficient as a preventative measure against COVID. No lockdowns, social distancing or masks are needed.”

“There is plenty of published data which shows that hydroxychloroquine could have saved 70,000 to 100,000 lives,” said Dr. Simone Gold. “The mainstream media has not mentioned even one of these studies.”

“Hydroxychloroquine is a very safe and effective drug when taken at the right dosages,” said Dr Richard Urso. “The test trials that reported harmful reactions were done at extremely high doses which is why they didn’t work or even caused the symptoms to worsen.”

Dr. James Todaro agreed: 

“If it seems like there is an orchestrated attack against hdroxychloroquine it’s because there is. A 65-year-old medication that has been on the WHO’s safe essential list for years […] A Google document that I co-authored on the safety and effectiveness of hdroxychloroquine has been taken down by Google. A lot of misinformation out there that has reached the highest orders of medicine.”

According to various sources the drug is available over-the-counter in Iran and South America. While in New York state, considered the epicentre of COVID deaths in the USA, the governor is reported to have placed an “executive order prohibiting pharmacists from dispensing the antimalarial drug hydroxychloroquine outside a hospital or inpatient setting to treat the novel coronavirus.”

So while I’d personally not recommend, nor discourage, the use of hydroxychloroquine, I’m all for doctors and patients having the freedom to use this drug if they see fit.

If it is as effective as America’s Frontline Doctors claim, I assume its presence would certainly help dissipate the hysteria used to justify mandatory COVID-19 vaccinations.

And, while it may seem a step backwards that their website was taken down, the opposite may be true. As Fast Company says: 

…such moves could backfire by feeding into a common narrative among conspiracy theorists that they are being silenced.”



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revisiting hydroxychloroquine...


by C. Boyden Gray


More than six months have passed since the president first tweeted about hydroxychloroquine as a potential treatment for Covid-19. Since then, some studies have claimed that it works, and others not. But one thing we have learned unequivocally about hydroxychloroquine for Covid-19 is that CNN, TheNew York Times, TheWashington Post, Dr. Anthony Fauci, and the editor of TheLancet don’t want you to take it.

In fact, they would prefer that you not even talk about it. The less you know about it, the better. And they have felt this way consistently since the start of the pandemic, when there were hardly any studies to parse. To even call this situation a “debate” is a stretch, because the forces opposed to the drug’s use for Covid-19 haven’t debated, but rather have tried to shut down any journalist, doctor, or researcher armed with different data.

Hydroxychloroquine, a 70-year-old malaria drug that is also regularly used to treat lupus and rheumatoid arthritis, is inexpensive and has an excellent safety profile. It has been used to treat over two billion people. Before the pandemic, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommended that adults and children of any age could take it safely, including pregnant women and nursing mothers.

In March, the strongest evidence in favor of its use and efficacy for Covid-19 came from Marseille, from a small observational study conducted by the French epidemiologist Dr. Didier Raoult. In this and his own larger follow-up trials, Dr. Raoult has claimed success in treating Covid-19 patients with hydroxychloroquine, when used in combination with antibiotics.

Based on this information, pharmaceutical companies donated millions of doses to the government, and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued an emergency use authorization, making the donated drugs available to hospitalized Covid-19 patients.

At the end of June and in early July, larger studies were published by the Mount Sinai Health System in New York and the Henry Ford Health System in Detroit, both of which demonstrated that the anti-malarial drug cut the mortality rate for Covid-19 sufferers in half. In particular, the Henry Ford paper argued that the drug should be administered early in the disease progression in order to be effective.

The press reaction to these studies has ranged from the dismissive to the outright hostile. In May, The New York Times Magazine ran a nearly 8,000-word feature attacking Dr. Raoult personally. Neither CNN, nor Th eNew York Times, nor The Washington Post has even mentioned the Mount Sinai trial.

With respect to the Henry Ford study, the vitriol has been so great that, a month after they published, the hospital system issued an open letter announcing that they would no longer comment publically on their own research. As the Henry Ford doctors explained, “the political climate that has persisted has made any objective discussion about this drug impossible.”

But this is only half of the picture. In April, the editor of the British medical journal The Lancet tweeted that it was the duty of “every scientist, every healthcare worker, every citizen” to “resist and rebel” against Trump. Then, on May 22, The Lancet published a massive study of some 96,000 Covid-19 patients, claiming that hydroxychloroquine not only didn’t help them, but that it actually caused harm. Namely, it argued that the drug “was associated with an increase in the risk of ventricular arrhythmias and a greater hazard for in-hospital death with COVID-19.”

The press went into overtime disseminating these findings. One physician told The Washington Post, “If there was ever hope for this drug, this is the death of it,” and Dr. Fauci declared on CNN, “the scientific data is really quite evident now about the lack of efficacy.” The science appeared to be settled.

Then, only two weeks after TheLancet paper was published, the authors retracted it. The source data turned out to be fake. TheLancet‘s editor described the paper to The New York Times as “a monumental fraud,” but the damage was already done. A week after the Lancetretraction—while claiming to have been uninfluenced by it—the FDA revoked the emergency use authorization it had previously issued for hydroxychloroquine.

By contrast, when doctors from the Henry Ford Health System published their trial results, they submitted a request to the FDA for a new emergency authorization for hydroxychloroquine. Their letter emphasized, “It is essential that studies evaluating HCQ for pre, post and early treatment, (including early hospital treatment) of HCQ be supported without the need for [investigational new drug] requirement limiting potential for studies to be initiated.” Pushing back against the widely reported Lancet claims, they noted, “A review of our COVID-19 mortality data demonstrated no major cardiac arrhythmias.” The Henry Ford physicians further suggested “that of the more than 100,000 Americans who have lost their lives to the SARS-CoV-2 virus, tens of thousands of them might have survived with an early treatment regime of hydroxychloroquine.”

The FDA denied Henry Ford’s request. In a short letter of explanation, the director of the Office of New Drugs wrote that “based on the totality of the scientific information available, it is unlikely that hydroxychloroquine sulfate may be effective in disease prevention or treatment of early COVID-19 infections.” Furthermore, he referenced “ongoing reports of serious cardiac adverse events” as justification for their decision without citing any actual “ongoing reports.” But as the Yale epidemiologist Dr. Harvey Risch contended in May, “fatal arrhythmia outcomes” from hydroxychloroquine use “are so rare that they are of much lesser clinical significance than the hospitalization and mortality that the drugs prevent.”

This all invites the question: what is the FDA doing? The career physicians at the FDA clearly never wanted to give Americans emergency access to the drug to begin with. A whistleblower complaint for a fired FDA doctor—written by the same lawyer who represented Justice Kavanaugh accuser Christine Blasey-Ford—dubs hydroxychloroquine a “potentially toxic chemical” and states explicitly that the FDA’s original emergency use authorization was intended to confine the drug to use in hospitals. By revoking that authorization, and rejecting Henry Ford’s appeal for a new one, the FDA has effectively made further study of this drug for Covid-19 treatment in America impossible.

As the New York Times Magazine piece on Raoult noted, “Nearly everyone survives.” But for those at risk—the elderly, and especially those who have other underlying health problems—an effective treatment is still very much needed. While monoclonal antibody treatments will be limited in availability, there is no shortage of hydroxychloroquine.

There are numerous recent studies—underreported in the American media—that could add to the debate. Instead of covering these studies, the media keeps repeating that there is no supporting evidence. It is time to find out, with some reasonable certainty, whether or not this is really true.


C. Boyden Gray served as White House counsel under President George H.W. Bush and as U.S. ambassador to the European Union under President George W. Bush. His firm, C. Boyden Gray & Associates, has represented the energy industry, among other clients. He served as chairman of the Administrative Law and Regulatory Practice Section of the ABA from 2000 to 2002.



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Note: Hydroxychloroquine is a NON-PATENT drug... That is to say that no-one living at present, nor any BIG PHARMA can collect royalties. It can be made by any clean lab facilities but the FDA does not want you to know. The FDA is half funded by the Federal government and half funded by private enterprise... The TGA in Australia is fully funded by private enterprise but "controlled" by the government. Please don't laugh, this can lead to serious conflict of interests... including Pollie-Pedal and the Pan pharmaceutical blunder... We won't go into this now.


Now to cannabis oil...:


Scientists have discovered that CBD oil may increase levels of a protective chemical in the lungs and other organs which could stave off the worst effects of Covid-19. However, more research is needed to apply this to treatment.

Cytokine is a type of protein secreted by immune cells in response to inflammation and infection. However, an overactive cytokine response during a particularly bad case of Covid-19, for instance, can wreak havoc on the lungs and even kill patients. 

A naturally occurring peptide called apelin has been shown to reduce this response in laboratory models of another killer disease, adult respiratory distress syndrome, or ARDS. 



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ah... a patented drug?...

US regulators have given full approval for the antiviral drug remdesivir to treat Covid-19 patients in hospitals.

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said Veklury, the drug's brand name, cut the recovery time on average by five days during clinical trials.

"Veklury is the first treatment for COVID-19 to receive FDA approval," the FDA said in a statement. 

The World Health Organization (WHO) said last week remdesivir had little to no effect on patients' survival..

The WHO said this was based on its own study - but the drug's manufacturer Gilead rejected the findings of the trial.

Remdesivir had been authorised for emergency use only in the US since May.

It was recently given to President Donald Trump after he tested positive for Covid-19. He has since recovered.

What did the FDA say?

In the statement, the FDA said the drug was approved on Thursday "for use in adult and paediatric patients 12 years of age and older and weighing at least 40 kilograms (about 88 pounds) for the treatment of Covid-19 requiring hospitalisation". 

"Today's approval is supported by data from multiple clinical trials that the agency has rigorously assessed and represents an important scientific milestone in the Covid-19 pandemic," said FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn.

The regulator said its decision was supported by the analysis of data from "three randomised, controlled clinical trials that included patients hospitalised with mild-to-severe Covid-19".

One of the studies showed that that "the median time to recovery from Covid-19 was 10 days for the Veklury group compared to 15 days for the placebo group". 

What about the WHO study?

For its Solidarity clinical trial, the WHO tested the effects four potential treatments - remdesivir was one, but they also looked at malaria drug hydroxychloroquine, auto-immune drug interferon, and the HIV drug combination of lopinavir and ritonavir.

Dexamethasone, a low-cost steroid now widely used on Covid patients in intensive care in the UK, was not included in this study.

The four drugs were tested with 11,266 adult patients in total, across 500 hospitals in more than 30 different countries.

The results, which are yet to be peer-reviewed, suggested that none of these treatments had a substantial effect on mortality or on the length of time spent in hospital, the WHO said. 



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