Published on :
The Senate commission of inquiry into Covid-19 heard from Professor Didier Raoult on Tuesday alone, after his refusal to participate in a round table with two other researchers as initially planned.
After the deputies on June 24, it was the turn of the senators to proceed to the hearing, Tuesday, September 15, of the controversial professor Didier Raoult, director of the Marseille University Hospital Institute for Infectious Diseases (IHU), known for his defense of hydroxychloroquine in the treatment against the novel coronavirus.
The microbiologist spoke alone before the commission of inquiry, after refusing the round table format with two other researchers. In fact, Didier Raoult was initially to discuss with epidemiologist Dominique Costagliola, research director at Inserm, and infectious disease specialist Yazdan Yazdanpanah, head of the infectious diseases department at Bichat hospital in Paris.
“It is beyond my strength” to “discuss calmly with people who insult me”, Didier Raoult justified himself, at the opening of his hearing, referring to a column entitled “Stop scientific fraud” , published on September 2 by Liberation, and of which Dominique Costagliola is one of the signatories.
“Very solemnly and after having sworn to tell the truth, I have never defrauded in my life (…) I estimate that there are between 2 and 4% of errors in the papers that I have made (…) I’m just a poor human and I make mistakes like everyone else ” @Raoult_Didier
# CECovid19 pic.twitter.com/ZHD15HqZ9c
– Senate (@Senate) September 15, 2020
Didier Raoult true to his style
It is therefore without adversaries that the microbiologist has been able to develop his arguments in his characteristic style, mixing long technical answers and severe accusations. The scientist once again justified the IHU’s policy of massive tests from the start of the epidemic and affirmed the effectiveness of hydroxychloroquine, yet denied by a large number of studies.
He said he was “extraordinarily surprised” by the magnitude of the warnings against the side effects of this drug, a chloroquine derivative usually used to treat autoimmune diseases.
A speech that found an echo among several members of the committee, such as the senator of Jura Sylvie Vermeillet (Union of Democrats), reached by the Covid-19 in mid-March, assuring very moved that Didier Raoult had been “the first of us give hope “.
Others, on the other hand, saw “a form of recklessness” in the researcher’s public expression at the start of the epidemic, asserting the effectiveness of hydroxychloroquine when only very preliminary results were available.
Wearing a mask is “reasonable”, according to Raoult
Regarding the effectiveness of generalization of mask wearing, which has become compulsory in many French cities, Didier Raoult first humbly explained that it was very difficult to answer this question.
“Comparative studies are difficult to analyze because social behavior in different countries is not the same, especially in social relationships.”
However, “if wearing a mask prevents people from kissing, one can think that it is reasonable”, he assured in front of the senators.