Professor Raoult Compares the Oxford RECOVERY Trial Academics to the Marx Brothers

In a video interview today, Professor Didier Raoult, from IHU-Marseille, blasts the Oxford academics having carried out the RECOVERY randomized controlled trials having tested hydroxychloroquine and compares them to the Marx Brothers.

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In the video titled “The Marx Brothers are Doing Science: the Example of RECOVERY,” he suggests that “the common points between the people doing science and those doing medicine have completely disappeared.”

Here are the key points of this interview.

  • There were patients who were not diagnosed as having COVID-19, but rather as possibly having COVID-19. For Professor Raoult, the most important criteria is a positive test. In addition, he asserts that a most important symptom, anosmia, was not used in the RECOVERY trial. He finds it astonishing, spectacular, that in a country like England, it’s not possible to do a test.
  • Regarding the stages of the disease, he explains that at the first viral stage, one must give medicines against the virus, in the second inflammatory phase, one needs to give medications against that reaction, and then in the third phase, it’s work to be done in intensive care units. Therefore, the same medication cannot be used for the three stages of the disease. He insists that it was a trial that was designed before one had an understanding of the disease, and that such randomized clinical trials should not be done before one has such an understanding.
  • As far as the dosages of hydroxychloroquine, he says he uses a dosage he is accustomed to, which is 600 mg per day, which is also typically used by rheumatologists. He says the 2.4 g first day dosage used in RECOVERY trial is a dosage that nobody has ever used.
  • Professor Raoult sarcastically comments however that there is a good news, that hydroxychloroquine is not toxic, as even with such high dosage, nothing happened from a cardiac viewpoint. He recalls that 2 weeks ago, one was told everybody was dying because of cardiac issues (allusion to the now retracted Lancet study). At least, this trial is good to assess the toxicity of hydroxychloroquine, as they did not announce any toxicity, even at such high dosage …
  • He comments then about virological monitoring. For those who still have viruses, he says it’s important to test the patients. He comments that most studies don’t even have the means to do such testing, even when they occur in very rich countries. He says that, at IHU-Marseille, there was a regular monitoring through PCR testing, as it’s such an important element.
  • Regarding mortality, he says there is about 25% mortality in the Oxford RECOVERY clinical trial, while in France, in average, is less than half this percentage. Even in the ICUs, in Marseille, he says the fatality rate at 28 days is 15.6%. He says that’s impossible to understand what kind of patients were included, that it’s impossible to understand how the patients were taken care of, as it’s safer to enter an ICU in Marseille than an hospital in that study.
  • He says the world is upside down. It’s now up to the medical doctors from India to have to tell about how to use these molecules. He suggests that the knowledge about how to use such molecules has largely disappeared.
  • He says that mortality levels will tell us where mortality was higher, and he suggests that it’s in the richest countries, such as the UK, where one has been obsessed with doing randomized clinical trials before understanding the disease, that mortality is the highest.
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Note that Professor Raoult does not comment on the reason why such high dosage of hydroxychloroquine were used in the RECOVERY trial. Yet another French expert, Professor Perronne, suggested that it was because the Oxford academics may have confused hydroxychloroquine with hydroxyquinolines, used for amoebic dysentery.

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