Miracle Cure For Covid-19 or Fabunan Fable? Part 1


No such report has been published by the Jakarta Post


Update 17 August 2020: Fabunan promoters have been pasting a photoshopped picture of the Front page of the Jakarta Post, Indonesia, to make it appear that the newspaper front-paged Fabunan FAI. The Jakarta Post has no such report.

Update 1 August 2020: Indonesia’s Health Ministry, through the Indonesian Embassy, says that Fabunan has received no approvals for any activity in the country. This explains the absence of Fabunan’s FAI from the country’s database of clinical trials. The Ministry was responding to fact-checking organisation Vera Files.

Update 26 July 2020: FAI promoters now claim that Indonesian authorities have approved a patent for 20 years, following a supposed deal with a government-owned pharmaceutical company. Neither is required to show that FAI works. There is, again, no independent confirmation of these claims. They assume that social media campaigns will force governments to overlook the total lack of clinical evidence to support the alleged benefits of FAI. Requirements for pharmaceuticals approval are here.

Update 22 July 2020: FAI promoters claim that FAI is responsible for recoveries in Indonesia but provide no evidence. Indonesia has just reported its second highest death toll. They also claim it is being sold by an Indonesian state pharmaceutical company to Ab u Dhabi. Again, no independent evidence for this claim.

Update 13 July 2020: The promised trials are a no-show. FAI promoters now say next week. Despite a legal requirement in Indonesia for all clinical trials to be registered, there is no registration for these alleged trials. Promoters now saw that there will be no publication of double-blind, placebo-controlled studies in any peer-reviewed medical journal of note, the minimum requirement for validation and that it will rely entirely on social media marketing.

Update 8 July 2020: Fabunan promoters on social media claim that clinical trial results will be released on Saturday, 11 July 2020.
Update 6 July 2020: Social media posts claim that clinical trial results will be announced this week. However, no such clinical trial;s have been registered with the Indonesian Clinical Trial Registry, indeed, no clinical trials involving Covid-19 are being undertaken.

Update 3 July 2020: A promotional video for Fabunan Antiviral Injection has been banned from Youtube for breaching community standards.  The video claimed that a production deal for FAI was signed in Jakarta. There is no independent confirmation of any such deal, nor of the claimed clinical trials, supposedly involving 20 hospitals in Indonesia.

Update 21 June 2020: It is widely claimed on social media that Fabunan invented and patented Dexamethosone. This is false. It was invented in 1957 by Philip Showalter Hench and approved for medical use in 1961. When one claims that every viral disease that hits the headlines is cured by your brand of jollop, with no scientific evidence to back of any of those claims, you don’t get to claim you discovered a cure.


Update 20 June 2020: FAI promoters claim that the results of human trials will be announced in Indonesia at a press conference in Jakarta. No record of any such trials is recorded in any database. Nothing has been said about double-blind, placebo controlled , peer-reviewed trial publication.  Dubious claims continue to circulate on social media alone.

Update 17 June: Oxford University has announced successful trials using dexamethasone, an ingredient in FAI, in hospitalised patients suffering severe respiratory distress. There was no benefit in those not suffering respiratory distress, so it has no curative or preventative action as proposed by the Fabunans. It therefore indicates that FAI is ineffective.

Update: 13 June 2020: One of the promoters of FAI has indocated that any clinical trials in Indonesia will not be submitted for peer-review in a recognised medical journal and the results will only be announced by press release in the Indonesian press. If so, it will indicate that the trial results are less than reliable and will be rejected by the medical community.

Update 21 September 2020: Despite claims made on social media there is still no evidence that FAI has been approved, or undergoing clinical trial, or being legally used anywhere.

: 8 June 2020. Social media posts claim that the Indonesian health authorities had agreed to conduct clinical trials on Fabunan Antiviral Injection. The claims appear only from know promoters of FAI. Despite the importance of such a move, if true, it remains unconfirmed by medical news and information outlets, the WHO database of ongoing Covid-19 measures, Indonesian media, Philippine media or any reliable source. Given the track record of misinformation by FAI promoters (Such as claims that the Philippine FDA had approved FAI), we catalogue the claim as dubious.Clinical trials must be registered, yet no such trial can be found on clinical trial databases such as  centerwatch.com or clinicaltrials.gov.Update: 31 May. Malacanang corrects false information regarding FAI.

Important update: 27 May: The Fabunan Medical Clinic has closed.

Update, 24 May, 2020: The Philippine FDA has issued a cease-and-desist order, DoH is ‘working up a case’ against Dr Willie Fabunan. Here for more information.

New information is emerging on the Fabunan claims which are now being verified. Updates will be made as these are checked.

Corrections of factual errors are welcome in the comments section, which is moderated.

Right now, things are little different from the 1918 Spanish flu pandemic which killed up.to 18 million people, according to some estimates. Many of the rumoured ‘cures’ have re-emerged in the Covid-19 crisis. You’ll find some familiar claims in this recording.

Now, as then, fake news and fake cures have appeare throughout social media, presenting serious hazards, as the International Consortium of Investigative Journalist reports.

In the US alone, thousands of fake products have been seized which claim to protect or cure Covid-19

The case of the Fabunan patented jollop raises a number of red-flags suggesting that a patented mixture of painkiller and a steroid for treating Covid-19, Fabunan Antiviral Injection, is, prehaps less than is claimed for it. It is not encouraging that development was led by an accupuncturist, Willie Fabunan.

Continue reading “Miracle Cure For Covid-19 or Fabunan Fable? Part 1”

Dengvaxia Death – Science or Scam? Part Two

Facts About Dengue

Over the past few years, Dengue fever, and severe Dengue have become major public health issues. Its prevalence is increasing. It affects billions of people around the world, many of them in low income and developing countries and there is no cure. Once some has contracted it there is little to be done except treatment of its symptoms and providing plenty of fluids.

It is an economic burden, both at the level of the family with a person affected by Dengue, and at the national level. Not to mention the emotional stress of parents with a child threatened by Dengue.

Prevention is a preferable option, but its success depends on economic, environment and cultural factors.

In many cases of vaccine-preventable diseases there is the principle of ‘herd immunity’ – a certain percentage of the population must be immunised for the vaccine to protect the whole of the population. Measles is an example. However, because of Dengue disease vectors this is not an approach that works.

Let’s take a look at what Dengue is, what is happening in a global context.

Continue reading “Dengvaxia Death – Science or Scam? Part Two”

Dengvaxia Death – Science or Scam? Part One

Introduction

I have thought long and hard about covering the Dengvaxia controversy in the Philippines. It is not history, although it is historic. The issue, to my mind is what scientific evidence is there to support the claims that Dengvaxia has killed  Filipino children? Are the claims supportable? Does what little evidence available support the claim? What damage is the controversy doing to other vaccination programmes?

What is at stake is the lives of children.  If the Philippine government’s Public attorney’s office, PAO, is correct, then there is a serious issue to be addressed, if it is wrong it is putting at risk the lives of hundreds, if not thousands of Filipino children and hazarding the lives of kids in the other 18 countries where Dengvaxia is being used.

I have spoken to clinicians, epidemiologists and public policy experts throughout the SE Asian region.  I have asked PAO for its input and should it respond then its comment and clarifications will be included.

Continue reading “Dengvaxia Death – Science or Scam? Part One”