Did ivermectin reduce COVID-19 deaths by an incredible 70% in the I-TECH study?
Take a look at the viral claim, and find out what the FACTS really are!
Claim : Ivermectin Reduced 70% Of COVID-19 Deaths!
A Google doctor called Jacinta Lee recently called the Malaysia Director-General a liar, and claimed that ivermectin reduced COVID-19 deaths by 70% in the I-TECH study!
Her post is long, so just skip to the next section for the facts…
Truth : Ivermectin Did NOT Reduce 70% Od COVID-19 Deaths
As expected, ivermectin proponents refuse to accept yet another study that disproves their belief, and unsurprisingly, they cherry-picked the data to push their belief.
We cannot jump to the conclusion that ivermectin prevents deaths, merely because fewer people died in IVM group, compared to the SOC group, because…
For a more in-depth explanation, here are the reasons why Google doctor Jacinta Lee is wrong in her opinions and conclusion…
Fact #1 : KKM Did Not Release Full I-TECH Data
The Malaysia Ministry of Health (KKM) which conducted the I-TECH study did not release the study data.
They only released some results from the study, which I compiled them in this table.
You will notice that they didn’t release the data for a slew of results that were deemed “not significant”, not just the 28-day mortality data.
|I-TECH Study Findings||Results||Significance|
|Symptom Recovery by Day 5||Very similar||Not significant (p=0.77)|
|Progress to Severe COVID-19||IVM : 21.2%
SOC : 17.3%
|SOC : -3.9 points
Not significant (p=0.30)
|Time to Severe COVID-19||IVM : 3 days (±2.3)
SOC : 2.9 days (±1.8)
|IVM : +0.1 day
Not significant (p=0.68)
|ICU Admission||NA||Not significant|
|Mechanical Ventilation||NA||Not significant|
|Symptom Recovery||NA||Not significant|
|Blood Parameters||NA||Not significant|
|Chest X-Ray Resolution||NA||Not significant|
|Adverse Events||3X more in IVM group||Significant|
|28-Day Mortality||NA||Not significant (p=0.09)|
Fact #2 : Steve Kirsch’s Data Was Not From KKM
When asked how Steve Kirsch obtained the I-TECH study’s mortality results, Jacinta claimed that he sourced it from the official KKM press release. That’s not true.
Steve Kirsch also quoted that official KKM press release as his source in his C19Ivermectin article on the I-TECH study.
That’s not possible, because KKM never released the full 28-day mortality data. The data was also not released in the ClinicalTrials.gov website.
Fact #3 : You Don’t Need A Team To Reverse-Engineer The Data…
Jacinta claimed that “Steve’s people managed to reverse-engineer it from the statistics numbers. Damn great minds. I really take my hat off to them.”
The truth is – it doesn’t require a team of great minds. Heck, I did it myself in less than 10 minutes, and so can you too. Just follow my guide!
Fact #4 : Reverse-Engineering No Guarantee Of Accuracy
I replicated Steve Kirsch’s reverse-engineering “magic” and can confirm that based on KKM’s publicly released data, it is “high likely” that :
- 3 out of 241 people in the IVM group died during 28 days of the trial
- 10 out of 249 people in the SOC group died during 28 days of the trial
However, the P-ratio is quite different from what KKM reported. So it is POSSIBLE that there are fewer people in the IVM group, and more people in the SOC group.
You can read more about this “problem” in the Adjust The Group Sizes section of my I-TECH data reverse-engineering guide.
We will not know for sure until KKM releases the full set of data, which they promised to submit for publication in a peer-reviewed journal.
Fact #5 : 28-Day Mortality Results Are Misleading
If you look at the I-TECH study parameters, you will realise that it was NOT designed to test ivermectin’s effect on mortality.
The IVM group patients were given ivermectin for only 5 days, and not throughout the 28-day study.
Ivermectin has a plasma half-life of only 18 hours, which means the patients would have little to no ivermectin in their body by the 8th day of the study!
Therefore, the 28-day lower mortality trend that KKM announced is actually misleading and irrelevant, because ivermectin would have little to no effect beyond the first 5-8 days.
When the I-TECH study data is finally published, it would be interesting to see the Day 7 mortality numbers. The 28-day mortality is IRRELEVANT since they only gave ivermectin for 5 days.
Fact #6 : MORE People On Ivermectin Developed Severe COVID-19
It should be pointed out that ivermectin did not help prevent people from developing severe COVID-19.
In the I-TECH study, 21.2% of the ivermectin group (~52 people) developed severe COVID-19, while only 17.3% of people on standard care (~42 people) developed severe COVID-19.
That’s a 3.9 point (10 person) difference, which may seem like quite a big deal, but was still judged as “not significant”.
But how likely is it that MORE people on ivermectin developed severe COVID-19, but fewer of them died?
Fact #7 : There Were No Difference In Other Clinical Criteria
Ivermectin proponents have been loudly claiming that ivermectin works best as an early COVID-19 treatment, but have been very quiet about the fact that the I-TECH trial showed NO SIGNIFICANT DIFFERENCE in other clinical criteria :
- Complete symptom recovery
- Symptom recovery by Day 5
- Progress to severe COVID-19
- Time to severe COVID-19
- ICU admission
- Mechanical ventilation
- Blood parameters
- Chest x-ray resolution
Does it make sense that ivermectin FAILED to work while the patients were still Category 2 or 3, but somehow reduces their mortality without any change in their risk for ICU admission, mechanical ventilation or even blood test results?
That brings us to the next point – human beings can die at any time, with or without COVID-19…
Fact #8 : People WILL Die, With Or Without COVID-19
The I-TECH study appears to be focused on looking at whether ivermectin can prevent people from developing severe COVID-19.
Hence, they specifically targeted patients who were 50 years or older with co-morbidities and Category 2 or 3 COVID-19, who are most likely to develop severe COVID-19.
However, these are also people who are most likely to die of natural causes, or COVID-19.
Malaysia has a crude death rate of 5.1 per thousand population, and approximately 1.2% of COVID-19 patients die in Malaysia.
So in a normal population, at least 8 out of 490 people would have been expected to die during that 28-day trial period – 2 from natural causes, 6 from COVID-19.
In the I-TECH study population of 50+ year-old patients with co-morbidities, it is not surprising to see 13 deaths. In fact, we should expect 4-5 deaths just from natural causes.
If someone in the control group dies from a heart attack or a stroke – two common causes of death for that age group – does that mean ivermectin protects against heart attack / stroke? Of course, not.
Participants in the ivermectin (IVM) and control (SOC) groups have also been randomly selected, so it is possible that the control group has older patients, or patients with more debilitating co-morbidities.
That’s why it is important to determine if a clinical finding is statistically significant, if their deaths cannot be directly ruled out as due to natural causes.
As the KKM press release stated, while there was a trend of reduced 28-day mortality, but it was NOT statistically significant (p=0.09).
They had the results independently analysed, but even those two scientists were not able to determine if mortality was indeed reduced.
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