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“Roganing” is America’s Latest COVID Conspiracy Craze

October 15, 2021

It was altogether fitting that CNN Medical Correspondent Sanjay Gupta appeared on the show of Joe Rogan. The former MMA star and entertainer turned $100 million man on Spotify, Rogan also happens to be one of America’s foremost Coronavirus disinformation megaphones. And as it turns out, Joe Rogan himself popularized the latest GOP pandemic propaganda push. This craze features an unvaccinated COVID-19 victim who credits his/her wonderous recovery to a laundry list of treatments, a list that just happens to include an infusion of monoclonal antibodies.

Call it “Roganing.”

Rogan, as you may recall, had counseled younger people not to get the vaccine. “Like, look, don't do anything stupid, but you should take care of yourself,” he told his listeners. “If you're a healthy person and you're exercising all the time and you're young and you're eating well, I don't think you need to worry about this." But what seemed smart to him in April didn’t turn out so well in late August, when Rogan himself got sick with COVID-19. In a video for his 13.1 million followers on Instagram, Rogan announced on September 1 that he became “very weary” the previous Saturday. “Throughout the night,” he reported, “I got fevers, sweats, and I knew what was going on.” The good news?

“Here we are on Wednesday, and I feel great.”

To what did Mr. Rogan attribute his miraculous recovery?

“We immediately threw the kitchen sink at it,” Rogan said. “All kinds of meds. Monoclonal antibodies, ivermectin, Z-Pak, prednisone — everything. And I also got an NAD drip and a vitamin drip. I did that three days in a row.” [Emphasis mine.]

For all intents and purposes, Joe Rogan could have stopped at item #1 on his list. While the FDA has approved only one antiviral drug (remdesivir) for use by hospitalized COVID patients, the agency has issued emergency use authorizations (EUA’s) for monoclonal antibodies. As the Center for Disease Control (CDC) explains, these monoclonal antibodies “attach to parts of the virus” and “help the immune system recognize and respond more effectively to the virus.” Importantly, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) notes, the three anti-SARS-CoV-2 monoclonal antibody products should be “administered as soon as possible after diagnosis and within 10 days of symptom onset.” (The combinations from Regeneron and Eli Lilly have not shown benefits—and may even worsen outcomes—"when administered to hospitalized patients with COVID-19 requiring high flow oxygen or mechanical ventilation.”

Now, an infusion of monoclonal antibodies like the one which helped save President Donald Trump is not, as he claimed, a “cure” for Coronavirus. But it is the one treatment recommended by the CDC which also has been authorized for emergency use. But it does cost roughly $2,000 per dose and must be administered by skilled nursing personnel in an infusion center or clinic. In comparison, a single COVID vaccine costs American taxpayers about $20 a pop.

As for pretty much everything else on Joe Rogan’s list of miracle COVID “cures,” he needn’t have bothered. Recent and continuing studies of chloroquine, hydroxychlroroquine and/or azithromycin (Z-Pak) have shown no benefit to COVID patients. As CDC documented in July 2020:

The COVID-19 Treatment Guidelines Panel (the Panel) recommends against the use of chloroquine or hydroxychloroquine and/or azithromycin for the treatment of COVID-19 in hospitalized patients (AI) and in nonhospitalized patients (AIIa).

As for Ivermectin, the anti-parasitic drug approved by the FDA for use in both humans and livestock, the CDC has thus far advised that “there is insufficient evidence for the COVID-19 Treatment Guidelines Panel (the Panel) to recommend either for or against the use of ivermectin for the treatment of COVID-19.” It’s bad enough that Ivermectin’s success in inhibiting “the replication of SARS-CoV-2 in cell cultures” would “require administration of doses up to 100-fold higher than those approved for use in humans.” As the CDC warned in its assessment of Ivermectin:

Some clinical studies showed no benefits or worsening of disease after ivermectin use…most of these studies had incomplete information and significant methodological limitations, which make it difficult to exclude common causes of bias.

To its credit, the CDC provides readers with a detailed table of Ivermectin studies, including the methodological problems and limitations with each. In late September 2021, The Guardian published a damning assessment of the Ivermectin-COVID research to date in an article titled, “Fraudulent ivermectin studies open up new battleground between science and misinformation.”

“Studies suggesting ivermectin is an effective Covid treatment relied on evidence ‘that has substantially evaporated under close scrutiny’, fresh research shows.”

It’s no wonder the AMA, APhA, and ASHP issued a joint statement on ending the use of Ivermectin to treat COVID:

The American Medical Association (AMA), American Pharmacists Association (APhA), and American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP) strongly oppose the ordering, prescribing, or dispensing of ivermectin to prevent or treat COVID-19 outside of a clinical trial.

Despite the overwhelming scientific and medical consensus recommending the use of monoclonal antibodies—and nothing else—for the early treatment of Coronavirus, Roganing has only grown in popularity among COVID vaccine deniers. On September 28, one Twitter user got over 1,000 likes and 300 retweets when he boasted:

(It should be noted that the “I-MASK+ Protocol” is the supposed COVID preventative and treatment offered by the Front Line COVID-19 Critical Care Alliance, or FLCCC. The basket of deplorable substances recommended by this Trump-friendly group includes Hydroxychloroquine and Ivecmectin among the usual suspects. The group, which made millions of dollars through “consultations” and prescriptions, only recently added monoclonal antibodies to its list of magic elixirs because they, well, work. Still, FLCCC’s I-MASK+ Protocol disclaimer warns readers, “Never disregard professional medical advice because of something you have read on our website and releases.”)

The Twitter replies offered a mix of positive feedback and skepticism. One stated simply, “Hm, pretty sure the monoclonal treatment is what worked.” With good reason, another concluded, “So, you wasted your money on five placebos and one real treatment?”

The same could probably be said of former Congressman and Texas GOP Chairman turned Lone Star State gubernatorial candidate Allen West. The unvaccinated West, who was admitted to a hospital in Plano on Saturday and discharged on Monday, released a statement about his experience with pneumonia from COVID-19. As CNN reported

"This should not be about forcing people to take a certain shot," he said in a short video posted to Twitter and Facebook. "But we should be offering and making sure people are aware of all of these protocols that are out there. And that's one of the things I'm going to be committed to doing."

And just what were “all of these protocols?”  Well, at 6 AM on October 9th, West tweeted that he was suspending in person events due to his positive COVID test:

Col. West will be available through virtual means to do events until his family's health issue is rectified.

He is already taking Hydroxychloroquine and Ivermectin protocols.

The West family thanks y'all for your prayers. "God's blessings and Texas First!"

But by 2:08 PM that afternoon, Colonel West’s Twitter feed informed readers that his health had taken a turn for the worse. Successive tweets told inquiring minds that he had also taken monoclonal antibodies and a trip to the hospital:

1/ I want to thank all of you for your prayers. Angela and I just completed the monoclonal antibody infusion therapy and are in the observation period. There’s a concern about my oxygen saturation levels, which are at 89 and they should be at 95.

2/ My chest X-rays do show COVID pneumonia, not serious. I am probably going to be admitted to the hospital.

Now, COVID-19 is a very dangerous and highly transmissible virus. The following statement should apply regardless of your politics: We should all be thankful that Joe Rogan, Allen West and tens of thousands of other Americans were spared the worst of COVID and able to recover their health. But that basic expression of goodwill does not erase these objective truths. Getting vaccinated is what every American should and must do to protect both him or herself and everyone else. And it is wildly irresponsible and reckless to claim that a magical cocktail of drugs, minerals and vitamins somehow rescued the unvaccinated when in fact only an expensive monoclonal antibody treatment alone made that possible.

The Joe Rogan experience with COVID brings to mind another icon of American entertainment, Fred Flintstone. In an early episode of The Flintstones (titled “Glue for Two”), Barney and Fred accidentally concoct a powerful glue that leaves them stuck to a bowling bowl. After they are chiseled away from the ball, Fred sees the potential for riches from their new wonder product. Eager to show Wilma the formula for their future fortune, Fred starts to show her the mix. After going through a litany of ingredients including seaweed extract, stone dust, carbon pterodactylhide, cactus juice and water, Fred asks Wilma to hand him the can on the top shelf in the garage.

WILMA: Oh, Fred, is that what you used before? "Rockbaum's Steel-Grip Glue"?

FRED: Of course. What do you think gives my secret formula holding power? We're going to be rich, Wilma! Filthy rich and...[babbling]..."Rockbaum's Steel-Grip Glue"? Oh, no.

WILMA: Yes, Fred. You just invented a glue that's been on the market for 20 years.

Joe Rogan is Fred Flintstone. And the monoclonal antibodies in Rogan’s “kitchen sink” of COVID therapeutics is the equivalent of the steel grip glue.

Of course, the Flintstones was a cartoon. But thanks to public health policy poseurs like Joe Rogan and Allen West, America is increasingly becoming one, too.


Jon Perr
Jon Perr is a technology marketing consultant and product strategist who writes about American politics and public policy.

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