Assorted Links

Thanks to Tyler Cowen.

8 Replies to “Assorted Links”

  1. Sovaldi! Sounds like the name of an Italian-made violin, right? It’s a very fitting name. Because, once again, the public is being played like a fiddle. An $84,000 “treatment” for a “virus” that no one can even prove exists. And brought to us by the usual suspects.

    This will probably invite scorn again, but, yes, IMO, HCV is another one of those phony viruses (HIV, HPV, FIV, etc.), brought to us by those intrepid “virus hunters” at the CDC.


  2. At least Solvadi actually cures something. When was the last time that happened? I was beginning to think that drug companies only focused on erectile dysfunction and depression.

    The ADHD link should be labeled “omega-3 helps children with ADHD… just not very much.”

  3. The “cure” claimed by Sovaldi is: that 90 percent of the participants had undetectable levels of the virus after 12 weeks taking Sovaldi plus the older pill-and-injection cocktail. Not one word about extending even one life by even one day.

    Approximately 15,000 Americans are said to die each year from “HCV-related diseases.” Watch that number remain at ~15,000 for decades to come.

    Want an easy way to avoid dying from “HCV-related diseases”?

    Never take an HCV test.

  4. Thanks for keeping it classy, Andy! I’ve come to expect no less from you.

    This story is about something called “viral load.” Do you know what PCR is? That’s how they measure viral load. It’s the same process they use in HIV patients. But it does NOT measure the VIRUS itself:

    “The latest diagnostic disease indicator, ‘viral load,’ is an indirect measure divorced from any actual symptoms at all, which means that the efficacy of a drug is judged according to the observed change in a number deemed to be a ‘surrogate marker,’ and whether you’re actually better, worse, or felt fine to begin with has got nothing to do with it. It’s based on the ‘Polymerase Chain Reaction’ method of amplifying formerly undetectable amounts of molecular genetic material– in this case, fragments of RNA that are said to be from HIV–by copying them in enormous numbers. Forbes magazine called it biotechnology’s version of the Xerox machine

    But errors are amplified too, by the same amount. The PCR process will indiscriminately copy dud HIVs that have been ne utralized by antibodies, defectives that never formed properly in the first place, scraps of free-floating RNA, all of which end up being counted. And incredibly, these counts are presented as if they represented active viruses detected in the patient and not creations of the PCR process itself. The Australian mathematician Mark Craddock has shown the mathematical basis of the model to be fatally flawed and based on wrong assumptions about what the number of RNA fragments says about the number of free viruses.”

    Ditto for HCV.

    In other words, he ain’t cured.

    It was interesting, however, to note that the author had apparently been cleaning up his life, his diet, taking supplements, etc., and was doing very well…way before he contemplated becoming a guinea pig for Big Pharma. It would also be interesting to know more about how he originally came to test positive for HCV antibodies. And about the lifestyle he lived. Was he an alcoholic? Abuse recreational drugs, etc?

    PS: The reason they are charging that much is simple: Because they can. Ever since the advent of HIV, they’ve known that they can always count on the ignorance of people like you.

    PPS: “HCV has some immunosuppressive effects that protect the liver, together with the virus, from the host immune response to some extent. You don’t necessarily want to lift that protection without good reason.” That statement may go down in history as perhaps the dumbest words ever spoken. Now HCV can even PROTECT the liver! Sounds like something you would say…Andy.

  5. Someone forwarded this article to me and I thought of this blog.

    Give your ideas some legs: The positive effect of walking on creative thinking

    doi: 10.1037/a0036577

  6. Hi Joe and Andy,
    HCV infectivity depends on its presence in serum, because it rides on the VLDL
    –> LDL-R cycle. This is why carbohydrate restriction is a worthwhile method to control HCV. And why PCRs are accurate predictors of clearance. My PCR count predictably dropped and rose according to the carbs in my diet.
    I don’t doubt that Sofosbuvir + GS-5816, or any similar combo, will clear the virus and save lives IRL, which is not to say that other methods won’t also save lives. I doubt that interferon-based therapies could ever have had the same effect.
    During treatment my ALT and AST went to normal and have stayed there. And my fibroscan score shows significant reversal of scarring.
    Pharma gets precious few things right, but this is one of them. Don’t risk adding Sovaldi to some toxic old brew, wait for the all-new combos.

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