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Astral Codex Ten Podcast

Nov 25, 2021


When I reviewed Vitamin D, I said I was about 75% sure it didn’t work against COVID. When I reviewed ivermectin, I said I was about 90% sure.

Another way of looking at this is that I must think there’s a 25% chance Vitamin D works, and a 10% chance ivermectin does. Both substances are generally safe with few side effects. So (as many commenters brought up) there’s a Pascal’s Wager like argument that someone with COVID should take both. The downside is some mild inconvenience and cost (both drugs together probably cost $20 for a week-long course). The upside is a well-below-50% but still pretty substantial probability that they could save my life.

(Alexandros Marinos has also been thinking about this, and calls it Omura’s Wager)

We can go further. The same people behind have posted this “meta-analysis” of curcumin, a common spice and oft-mooted panacea:

I’m going to guess it’s not true, because I’ve become pretty critical of these people’s methodology since doing the ivermectin review. Also, curcumin is a PAIN (pan-assay interference compound, ie a substance with weird chemical properties that make every test seem positive, so if you do chemical tests to see whether it activates eg coronavirus-fighting immune cells, it will always say yes). This means people are always publishing exciting papers about it and alternative medicine people are always getting really enthusiastic about it and suggesting it as the cure for everything (eg depression).