Penn Medicine's Corona Project grades COVID-19 treatments to counter misinformation

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Misinformation in medicine is nothing new, but during the pandemic it has reached new heights and could be endangering lives.

Penn Medicine is countering this misinformation with the Corona Project, a data-driven website. It is the world's largest database grading different COVID-19 treatments - what works, what doesn't - and it's all based on science.

Dr. David Fajgenbaum and a team at Penn Medicine have been following the research for the past 18 months, crunching data from 29,000 medical papers, 270,000 patients on more than 500 drugs used to treat COVID-19.

"What we found through the Corona Project is that there isn't one silver bullet that's going to help all patients. We found that there are drugs that are effective at different time points," he said.

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The drugs proven to work at that those time points get an A. A grade of B is for promising drugs that need more research.

Other treatments that have sparked buzz lately have also sparked concerns, including the drug ivermectin which has been flying off shelves at some livestock stores. It's used for de-worming cattle and horse.

Dr. Fajgenbaum says it is being studied but right now, it gets a D.

"The bottom line, from our assessment that from reviewing all the data on ivermectin we can say quite confidently that the drug is unlikely to have any effect. So if you choose ivermectin instead of monoclonal antibodies, instead of fluvoxamine, instead of dexamethasone and these drugs that have been proven to be effective, you're really doing harm to yourself. Even if the drug doesn't make you sick, you're not taking a drug that can help you. " he said.

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As the author of Chasing My Cure , Fajgenbaum understands the desperation some people have in the face of illness.

He set out on a quest several years ago and successfully found a treatment for a rare disease that threatened his own life.

Still, he says he followed the science and hopes others will too by practicing prevention first and getting vaccinated. If you get sick, trust in the data collected since the start of the pandemic.

"Where we are today, 18 months later, there are literally hundreds of clinical trials that have been done to give us evidence on what works and what doesn't." said Dr. Fajgenbaum.

To view the data yourself, visit: Corona Data Viewer
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