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Frédéric Taddeï

Why does Didier Raoult's case for hydroxychloroquine inspire such controversy? Interview with two French analysts

[English translation of video-dialogue below the video.] In this very interesting video, Frederic Taddei of Interdit d'interdire (Forbidden to censure) states, at the beginning, that he has no intention of evaluating the value of hydroxycloroquine and azithromycine, because he lacks the medical knowledge to do so. He states his intention in inviting his guests (Olivier Berruyer, economist and statistician, and Raphaël Liogier, sociologist and philosopher) is to find out why there is so much controversy over Professor Didier Raoult and his promotion of COVID-19 treatment using hydroxychloroquine. [Note that this unpolished translation took hours out of several days. Both debaters spoke emotionally and with multiple redundancies, also different versions of the word hydroxychloroquine.] Among other things, the participants' discussion of the politics seemed to boil down to the ambiguity of testing drugs in a pandemic situation where big-pharma, other commercial competition, and fraud, loom. I thought that the main argument could be summarized as: (Olivier Berruyer) 'The effectiveness claimed by Didier Raoult for hydroxychloroquine could only be proven through randomised double-blind trials, but these have never been successfully completed due to a series of mishaps', and 'There is no way anyone could scientifically reproduce Raoult's method because he keeps changing it', versus (Raphael Liogier) 'Pending a perfect cure for COVID-19, Didier Raoult is doing the best he can as he treats people in a personalised manner, monitoring their responses, with drugs he believes to be effective'. I would add that, as the translator, and as an evolutionary sociologist, my own feeling about the reasons for such controversy is that it is related to the way apes behave over a tasty food supply or some other big event (good or bad) that concerns them. It is natural for everyone in the community to get involved in something important - in this case a pandemic. We seize whatever handle, whatever fact or factoid we can get hold of, and we run with it, to the best of our ability and enthusiasm. Apes with alpha-pretensions get up in trees and shout loudly about what they've got, competing for audiences and power. So, I invite the reader to keep in mind ape-ethology when he/she reads the translated dialogue below. {See also the notes at the end, on hyrdoxychloroquine trials and prescription of this drug and the law in France.)

The Kurds and Syria - What now? (Interdit d'Interdire) [French language])

"Interdit d'interdire - Les Kurdes et la Syrie : et maintenant ?" provides here a stimulating and intellectually nuanced debate about the situation in Syria. Two of the participants are journalists from the Figaro and Le Monde, which tend to be seen respectively as right-wing and left-wing, but this does not prevent commonality on Syria, and criticism of mainstream reporting and policy. Note, this is a French language video.

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