Vaccines are a tool, not a silver bullet. If we’d allowed more scientific debate, we would have realized this earlier

Globe & Mail | 22 Jan 22

More than two years since COVID-19 emerged, our kit of solutions – and the mindset needed to use them – is too small. It’s time to listen to the science in a broader way

Norman Doidge, MD, is a psychiatrist, psychoanalyst and author of The Brain That Changes Itself. He is executive director of Health and the Greater Good.

Just before Christmas, without much fanfare, the Ontario Science Table became the first to recommend fluvoxamine – a decades-old drug few had heard of – for the early treatment of COVID-19. The December 20 announcement, coming at a time when Canadians were preoccupied with Omicron, and the fear hospitals would soon be overwhelmed, received hardly any news coverage.

Fluvoxamine is a “repurposed drug,” and comes from what might seem like a most unlikely source – psychiatry. It is an antidepressant used most commonly to treat obsessive-compulsive disorder. The drug has had two randomized control trials, or RCTs (the highest level of evidence) and four observational studies showing it keeps people with COVID out of hospital, from requiring intubation, and helps prevent death. The discovery of its anti-COVID properties came after impressive sleuthing in France and the United States. Then a partnership co-led by a team of Canadians conducted the large randomized trial that proved what it could do.

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