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CoVID-19, ibuprofen, and information integrity

Some of you may have heard that you shouldn't take ibuprofen because it a) makes CoVID-19 worse, somehow, b) makes you more susceptible to CoVID-19, or c) interferes with ayurvedic cures.  (OK, I made that last one up.  But, the way things are going with coronavirus misinformation, I expect to hear something like it any day now.)  (By the way, if you think that there are any ayurvedic coronavirus cures, you can stop reading now, since you are obviously too far gone.)

 

The idea of a problem with ibuprofen seems to have hit the media with some public statement from a French politician.  But it isn't exactly fake news, just an unverified hypothesis that, so far, has extremely little actual evidence behind it.

 

It's based on an article in the Lancet.  The gist of it is (and, please, bear in mind that while I took biology and human physiology in university, I am definitely not a microbiologist, not do I even play one on TV) that there is an enzyme called angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2).  It is produced by the outside cells of the lung, intestine, kidney, and blood vessels.  SARS family coronaviruses (of which CoVID-19 is one) bind to cells using this enzyme.  ACE2 production is increased in patients with diabetes (who seem to be more susceptible to CoVID-19), and CoVID-19 attacks the lungs.  So, it is reasonable to think that ACE2 is important to infection with CoVID-19.  Ibuprofen also increases ACE2, so it might be reasonable to assume that ibuprofen might make it easier for you to get CoVID-19 or you might get it faster or you might get it worse.

 

"Might."  But, so far, there doesn't seem to be any direct evidence for it.  Even the authors of the paper say "We therefore hypothesise" and go on to say "If this hypothesis were to be confirmed."  Nobody seems to have observed any problems.

 

So, it's important not to go beyond the facts.  Or to spread information beyond the facts.  You might, out of an abundance of caution, want to avoid ibuprofen.  I don't take much ibuprofen, but that's because I know and have observed and have direct evidence that, for me, it makes my bleeding worse.  (And, right now, I'm bleeding, so, even though my back is out again and the chiropractor has closed his practice due to the virus, I'm not taking any ibuprofen.  Today.)

 

So, don't spread rumours.  Verify information.  Yes, you want to help, but it isn't helpful to spread unverified information.

 

Now go wash your hands.  (And check your sources.)


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