An interesting tidbit from the history of ivermectin's origin

Here's an interesting tale regarding ivermectin and YouTube, and, by extension, most journalists' and news outlets' selective reporting.

This article contains a little piece of historic, verifiable fact.

Kory was referring to an FDA-approved medicine called Ivermectin. A genuine wonder drug in other realms, Ivermectin has all but eliminated parasitic diseases like river blindness and elephantiasis, helping discoverer Satoshi Omura win the Nobel Prize in 2015.

To quote Johnny Carson, "I did not know that." (AT readers learned about it last February, though).

Curiosity found this:

The avermectin family of compounds was discovered by Satoshi Ōmura of Kitasato University and William Campbell of Merck. In 1970, Ōmura isolated unusual Streptomyces bacteria from the soil near a golf course along the south east coast of Honshu, Japan. Ōmura sent the bacteria to William Campbell, who showed that the bacterial culture could cure mice infected with the roundworm Heligmosomoides polygyrus. Campbell isolated the active compounds from the bacterial culture, naming them "avermectins" and the bacterium Streptomyces avermitilis for the compounds' ability to clear mice of worms (in Latin: a 'without', vermis 'worms'). Of the various avermectins, Campbell's group found the compound "avermectin B1" to be the most potent when taken orally. They synthesized modified forms of avermectin B1 to improve its pharmaceutical properties, eventually choosing a mixture of at least 80% 22,23-dihydroavermectin B1a and up to 20% 22,23-dihydroavermectin B1b, a combination they called "ivermectin".

Ivermectin was introduced in 1981. Half of the 2015 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine was awarded jointly to Campbell and Ōmura for discovering avermectin, "the derivatives of which have radically lowered the incidence of river blindness and lymphatic filariasis, as well as showing efficacy against an expanding number of other parasitic diseases".

Mr. Taibbi, in his quest for truth, selectively ignores the fact that while the original, unusual bacterium was found in Japan, all the work to isolate the active compound and make it available to the world was done in New Jersey, USA, by a white guy, working for a U.S. pharmaceutical company (Merck).  This product was then used for fifty years by millions of people, mostly in the poorer parts of the world, with a vicious, debilitating disease, with minimal side effects.  As they say in the Guinness commercial, "brilliant!"

We see here a tale of two human systems: global cooperation, where an astute observer shows the way for a multinational on the other side of the world to help the whole world, opposed by a group of control sociopaths who hide and pervert truth.  I ask: why, and to what end?

Image: Ben Harvey via Flickr, CC BY 2.0.

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