The Daily Dose: Another day, another unproven COVID-19 therapy being peddled

Sign up for Scientific Inquirer’s Steady State Newsletter for the week’s top stories, exclusive interviews, and weekly giveaways. Plenty of value added but without the tax.

Public Health officials around the world are sounding the alarm on an untested COVID-19 therapy product being peddled in Africa that contains the anti-malarial drug artemisinin. The concoction’s active ingredient is the cornerstone of so-called artemisinin-based combination therapies, which have helped reduced annual malaria deaths from more than 1 million to about 400,000. As per Science, “Branded Covid-Organics, the therapy was developed by the Malagasy Institute of Applied Research (IMRA). Its chief ingredient is reported to be sweet wormwood (Artemisia annua), a plant of Asian origin that gave rise to the antimalarial drug artemisinin. At its launch last month, Malagasy President Andry Rajoelina claimed the tonic had passed scientific scrutiny and cured two patients of COVID-19. The island nation has 151 confirmed coronavirus cases and no deaths.” The World Health Organization (WHO) strongly discourages the use of artemisinin on its own as a monotherapy, claiming it could hasten the development of drug resistance.

“Hospitals and physicians around the country are sharply criticizing the federal government for the uneven and opaque way it is distributing its supply of the Covid-19 drug remdesivir… About two dozen hospitals are believed to have been chosen to receive the drug so far, but clinicians told STAT it is unclear why some medical centers were chosen to receive coveted doses while others weren’t — and who is making those decisions in the first place.”

As far as stars go, the closest one to the planet Earth looms pretty large in our collective psyche. Our existence depends on it maintaining a state close to current conditions. Too much of a change in either direction (too hot or too cold) and it’s doomsday for us. A little too much solar activity, e.g. solar flares, can wreak havoc on the satellites circling the planet crippling them and us in one swoop. Needless to say, it would be great to know what’s in store down the line. An article in Science explains the extent of our understanding. It ain’t great. “The future of our Sun remains uncertain. The Kepler mission unexpectedly revolutionized stellar physics and, with new discoveries, challenged what we thought we knew. Six years after the conclusion of its main mission, the legacy of Kepler data continues to yield noteworthy information, as shown by Reinhold et al.” Question is: even if we knew what the Sun had in store for us, would we be able to do anything about it?

Thanks for reading and, as always, let’s be careful out there.

IMAGE SOURCE: Creative Commons

Words matter. Images matter. The Scientific Inquirer needs your support. Help us pay our contributors for their hard work. Visit our Patreon page and discover ways that you can make a difference.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: