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Covid, clinical trials and dementia

A guest post by Tony Brown

The 'science' (which governments kept telling us they were following) is now clear: lockdowns don't work and inflict far more damage than they alleviate. How can I be so certain? It is the clear conclusion of a meta-study by the highly reputable Johns Hopkins University:

“This meta-analysis concludes that lockdowns have had little to no public health effects, they have imposed enormous economic and social costs where they have been adopted. In consequence, lockdown policies are ill-founded and should be rejected as a pandemic policy instrument." 

For any of you that don't know, a 'meta-study' draws its conclusion by looking at all the available studies and aggregating them to produce a definitive judgement.

So, unless there is overwhelming clear-cut evidence to the contrary, we must not be subject to any more locking down, period - and if our government tells us otherwise, they are not following the science whatever they may claim: the deprivation of freedom and choice cannot be justified and must never be imposed again!

How much worse would it have been if Starmer's and others' calls for even longer, tighter and harder lockdowns had been heeded? When Starmer or Sturgeon attack Johnson, it is worth remembering that for all his failings, they got it wrong and would have been even more disastrous for us and for freedom!  

What has worked is vaccination. Johnson's government made the right call. They backed their analysis and put in the resources and fast-track procedures to approve and vaccinate as fast as was humanly possible. Perhaps there are a couple of wider lessons here?

First, restriction, regulation and prohibition, even when they may appear to be justified, should be imposed only with the strongest possible justification and even then for the shortest possible time and as moderately as possible: authoritarianism undermines the quality of our lives and our prospects of prosperity.

By contrast, innovation should be encouraged and the obstacles to it kept to a minimum.  In particular, new drugs and medical treatments should be brought on as quickly as possible with the speed of the covid vaccines potentially applied to other ground-breaking treatments - and I have a candidate to suggest.

Dementia is a scourge. It comes by and large at the end of people's lives, destroying their quality and blighting the final memories and experiences of loved ones. Sadly, despite much endeavour, medical science has been able to make very little difference to date.

However, there is now hope as "British scientists believe they may have discovered the first effective treatment... Researchers at Neuro-Bio, a biotech firm... say their potential remedy is likely to succeed where other treatments have failed because it tackles changes in the brain that have previously been ignored. The scientists say they have identified a ‘neurotoxic’ chemical which triggers the early stages of the degenerative condition, and have developed a treatment that can neutralise it.... Neuro-Bio’s treatment [is] given as a nasal spray," so it is also non-invasive and easily administered. [Daily Mail report]

On the whole medical protocols fail to discriminate between the ages when treatments are taken. Thalidomide was such a terrible tragedy because it was a drug administered in pregnancy and the baby had to suffer the consequences during their entire lives from birth to death. By contrast, a dementia treatment only affects the end of life. Moreover, the effect of dementia as described above progressively deprives it of all quality for all concerned, such that the final death of even the most loved of people can still be a blessed release.

In these circumstances, I would argue that not all medicines are equal and that fast-track procedures can and should apply. Just as with the covid vaccine, Neuro-Bio should be aided and encouraged to develop its treatment absolutely as fast as possible with fast-track procedures and protocols also applied in this case.

I say this with such confidence because the impact and timing in life of dementia mean that there is very little downside, especially if you judge quality of life as well as longevity. A treatment for dementia is the exact opposite in its impact of thalidomide.

My belief in freedom and individualism - which I define as always treating and judging all people and circumstances as individually as possible - combined with the covid experience tells me that we have got to become more nuanced in how medicines and medical treatments are tested and brought into use. What we have achieved should have wider application. Once people reach their 80s, the length and the quality of their lives are ever more limited. Let's recognise this and worry less than we do about a drug administered to a pregnant woman, a child or a younger adult.    

Tony Brown was a Political Adviser to the former Europe of Freedom and Direct Democracy and its predecessor, Europe of Freedom and Democracy 

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