National Covid-19 Clinical Evidence Task Force
A close friend was part of a Private Messenger group with a few of her friends. My friend holds no truck with the government’s response to the pandemic, the health department’s edicts, recommendation and guidelines, nor the Advocacy Media’s prostitution of its rights and privileges. She was the only one in the group who felt this way. The group includes a GP who is involved in administering the programmed rollout of the Covid jabs.
Problems With The Official Response To Covid
A little while ago, my friend posted a 35-page article by a retired neurosurgeon on the group chat, in which the author outlined the problems with the official response. (See “Covid-19 Update – What Is The Truth”) The writing was never going to win a Booker prize, but it did lay out quite clearly just about all the areas where the national and global measures had gone astray, as well as the fallacy of many statements in support of the actions taken and unwanted outcomes from them. His statements were well referenced throughout.
It took me the best part of half an hour to read the article through. Within 10 minutes of posting, there was a response from the GP along the lines of, “I don’t know what all the fuss is about Ivermectin. In any case, he’s only a neurosurgeon and he’s retired anyway.”
My friend responded with, “I wish someone could provide some data that shows these measures are working.”
The response to that was a link to the National Covid-19 Clinical Evidence Task Force.
National Covid-19 Clinical Evidence Task Force
It sounds very impressive, and I was keen to see what it would reveal.
The web address looked promising. https://covid19evidence.net.au/
However, despite its name, it is not a government website. Primarily, it is a website to provide guidelines for healthcare professionals, rather than provide the contrary evidence my friend was asking for.
Initially, on the website, there is a section called, Living Guidelines, which it describes as “Evidence-based clinical COVID-19 guidelines updated with the latest research.”
There was little evidence provided, but lots of recommendations, including a multitude of drug recommendations. I’m sure you’ve heard of Hydroxychoroquine and Ivermectin. I was keen to read what they had to say about them.
Ivermectin And Hydroxychoroquine – Guidelines And Evidence
Ivermectin was listed under “Drugs Not Recommended.” There was one piece of research evidence provided, with 17 outcomes. Of those 17 outcomes, Certainty of the Evidence was listed as either Moderate or Low in 16 of them. The remaining outcome, for Adverse Events – certainty listed as High – was that Ivermectin has little impact on adverse events.
Certainty of the Evidence was a most interesting column in many pieces of research evidence.
Hydroxychloroquine was referred to twice under a heading Chemoprophylaxis:
There were guidelines for
- Hydroxychloroquine for pre-exposure prophylaxis, and
- Hydroxychloroquine for post-exposure prophylaxis
UNCERTAINTY DUE TO BIAS, IMPRECISION AND INDIRECTNESS
Hydroxychloroquine – Pre-Exposure
The pre-exposure recommendation had one piece of research evidence, relating to healthcare workers.
Study results and measurements were taken from between 1 and 3 studies.
There were 7 outcomes, one of which was All Cause Mortality. As there were no deaths, that outcome was not considered. Of the remaining 6 outcomes, Certainty of the Evidence was listed as either:
- Moderate (2 outcomes) due to “serious risk of bias”
- Low (3 outcomes) due to “serious risk of bias and serious imprecision”, or
- Very Low (1 outcome) due to “serious risk of bias and very serious imprecision”
Hydroxychloroquine – Post-Exposure
The post-exposure recommendation had 2 pieces of research evidence, one relating to people exposed to COVID-19, the other to special populations.
In the first of these, Certainty of Evidence in the 7 outcomes was Moderate for 2 outcomes, Low for 4 outcomes and Very Low for 1 outcome.
In the second, Certainty of Evidence in the 7 outcomes was Low for 2 outcomes and Very Low for 5 outcomes.
It seems to me there is a trend. Despite uncertainty in so many areas due to bias, imprecision and indirectness, this organization has no desire to increase certainty.
Indeed, following the NOT RECOMMENDED label was the following:
This is a low priority recommendation and we do not expect to update it in the immediate future, however we continue to conduct daily searches for new evidence.
The next section of the website dealt with clinical flowcharts and further down the page was a section headed, Covid-19 Research. This looked promising.
It had 3 boxes. The centre box was for ANZCTR, the Australian and New Zealand Clinical Trial Registry. It was about existing or upcoming trials, not results. Strike 1.
The 3rd box was Core Outcomes for Covid-19 Research. Perfect! Except, when you click on the link, the site can’t be reached. The server’s IP address could not be found. Strike 2.
The 1st box was for the Cochrane Institute, a study register of Covid-19 studies around the world. I have come across the Cochrane Institute previously and wrote about them in the article, “Science Under Duress.”
Their website has a tagline, “Trusted Evidence. Informed Decisions. Better Health.” It’s very reassuring when others refer to your information as Trusted Evidence. When you do it yourself, it can ring hollow.
THERE ARE HUNDREDS OF STUDIES INTO THE EFFECTIVENESS OF HYDROXYCHLOROQUINE AGAINST COVID-19
The Cochrane Institute Can’t Seem To Find HCQ Studies
Primarily, the Cochrane Institute doesn’t conduct its own studies as much as collate the results of other studies already conducted and analyses them. In “Science Under Duress,” I wrote about the surprisingly low number of studies they looked at for their prize-winning report.
I saw a repeat of this in the hydroxychloroquine “evidence.” Between 1 and 3 studies. There are – literally – hundreds of studies that have been conducted into the effectiveness of hydroxychloroquine against Covid-19. (Ref 2) I draw an obvious inference to results of from 1 to 3 studies.
The Clinical Taskforce website advises that Recommendations within this guideline were developed in collaboration with the organisations listed below.
It then lists 34 taskforce members. All of them are listed in alphabetical order except for the first one: Cochrane Australia, which is listed as the Secretariat. With the listing and the title, it’s pretty obvious where they sit in the pecking order.
180 Covid-19 Studies Per Day
Clicking through to their Covid-19 Study Registry, one finds 164,387 studies (as at 15th Aug). If we can accept that there weren’t many Covid-19 studies conducted before the pandemic, assuming a start date of February, 2020, that is an average of 180 studies per day. Every day. For 2½ years.
Think about that for a while and draw your own conclusions.
Many of these studies are ongoing. Some of the results are listed as ongoing, but have not been updated. Many of the studies are really very specific, often obtuse and not of great interest to your average Joe:
Effectiveness and Physiological Mechanisms of Contemplative Dyad Meditation to Increase Social Connection in Young Adults in the Aftermath of the Pandemic
Quantifying the Effects of MagneVie B6® on Stress and Burnout Among Nurses During the Covid-19 Pandemic: A Randomized Double Blind Placebo-Controlled Trial
Effects Of Inspiratory Muscle Training On Inspiratory Muscle Strength And Endurance And Functional Capacity Of Post-Covid-19 Patients
Sometimes you come across one that could provide useful information for just about everyone:
A Single Center, Open Label Clinical Study to Evaluate the Safety and Immunogenicity of SARS-CoV-2 mRNA Vaccine (SYS6006) as Heterologous Booster in Participants Aged 18 Years and Older Vaccinated With Inactivated SARS-CoV-2 Vaccine
Except that it’s open label and it’s non-randomised, which means that bias will almost certainly skew the results, as both the researchers and the participants know who is being given what.
Covid-19 Study Registry – All Noise, Little Substance
My point is there is a lot of noise and not so much substance. Trying to find what you may be searching for in a registry of more than 160,000 studies is not the easiest of tasks. And if you can find it, there is no guarantee it will provide anything meaningful.
If one is of the opinion that the government/health department is pushing a certain agenda that runs contrary to mounting evidence – as a rapidly growing number of people are – then the organization that is in the thick of disseminating information for the government and gets a high proportion of its revenue from the government, could easily be seen to have a dark cloud of doubt over its “Trusted Evidence” tagline.
And that organisation is running the show at the Clinical Evidence Task Force.
But some people just don’t look past the name.