Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 judges reject request to investigate alternative crash scenarios

Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 judges reject request to investigate alternative crash scenarios
Above, a court session of the MH17 trial in the high-security courtroom of The Schiphol Judicial Complex in Badhoevedorp, The Netherlands, on Aug. 31, 2020. (AFP file photo)
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Updated 25 November 2020

Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 judges reject request to investigate alternative crash scenarios

Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 judges reject request to investigate alternative crash scenarios
  • MH17 was flying from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur when it was shot down by a missile fired from territory held by pro-Russian rebels

AMSTERDAM: Judges hearing the case against four defendants in the 2014 downing of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 on Wednesday rejected a defense request for more time to investigate alternative scenarios into the crash in eastern Ukraine.
MH17 was flying from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur when it was shot down by a missile fired from territory held by pro-Russian rebels during fighting with Ukrainian government troops, international investigators say. All 298 people on board were killed, two-thirds of them Dutch nationals.
After years of collecting evidence, a Dutch-led international Joint Investigation team (JIT) last year said the missile launcher used to hit the civilian airplane came from a Russian army base just across the border.
The Dutch government holds Moscow responsible, and three Russians and a Ukrainian are on trial for murder. None of the suspects is in custody and only one is represented in court proceedings.
Russia has always denied involvement and has promoted a range of alternative theories, which the investigators rejected as unsupported by evidence.
Judge Hendrik Steenhuis said the defense had not provided a clear alternative scenario to investigate, while information on several other possible explanations was already part of the case file.
Steenhuis said witnesses who reported seeing the missile launcher on July 17, 2014, should be questioned again.
Judges also ruled that a new effort should be made to speak to the leader of Russia’s 53rd brigade, which has been identified by investigators as having transported the missile launcher.


Oxford University to test potential COVID-19 ‘wonder drug’ Ivermectin

The trial is assessing Ivermectin, a medicine used on livestock and people who have been infected by parasitic worms, which has been hailed by some as a “wonder drug” with the potential to save thousands of lives. (Shutterstock/File Photo)
The trial is assessing Ivermectin, a medicine used on livestock and people who have been infected by parasitic worms, which has been hailed by some as a “wonder drug” with the potential to save thousands of lives. (Shutterstock/File Photo)
Updated 23 January 2021

Oxford University to test potential COVID-19 ‘wonder drug’ Ivermectin

The trial is assessing Ivermectin, a medicine used on livestock and people who have been infected by parasitic worms, which has been hailed by some as a “wonder drug” with the potential to save thousands of lives. (Shutterstock/File Photo)
  • Medicine used for parasitic worm infections
  • Other scientists said the drug had not been assessed properly

LONDON: Oxford University researchers are planning to trial a drug that has shown signs of reducing COVID-19 deaths in developing countries.

The Principle trial is aiming to find a drug that works soon after virus symptoms appear in a patient, and one that is most effective during the primary stages of the illness, The Times reported.

The trial is assessing Ivermectin, a medicine used on livestock and people who have been infected by parasitic worms, which has been hailed by some as a “wonder drug” with the potential to save thousands of lives, the report added.

Other scientists said the drug had not been assessed properly and that the full extent of its efficacy was not yet known.

“It has potential antiviral properties and anti-inflammatory properties and there have been quite a few smaller trials conducted in low and middle- income countries, showing that it speeds recovery, reduces inflammation and reduces hospitalisation,” said Chris Butler, professor of primary care at Oxford and co-chief of the Principle trial. “But there’s a gap in the data. There’s not been a really rigorous trial.”

The medicine works by blocking the entry of a protein into a cell’s nuclei, limiting the replication capacity of the virus, and initial analysis from the World Health Organization has shown promising signs.

“It could save thousands of lives a day,” said Paul Marik, from the Eastern Virginia Medical School. “The data is compelling: across Mexico, India and South America, mortality has fallen.”

Peter Horby, the Oxford University professor who helped to set up the UK’s largest COVID-19 trials, said this month the latest data was “interesting, perhaps encouraging, but not yet convincing.”

Most breakthroughs in coronavirus treatments to date work on patients who are already suffering in the later stages of the illness, but Butler and his team are hoping to find a medicine that can prevent the virus from taking hold within its host.

The trial is looking for people aged 65 and over, or those aged over 50 who have underlying health conditions, through general practitioners, online, and through the UK’s NHS Test and Trace system, The Times said.