A Ray Of Hope

A couple of weeks ago in Black Monday we wrote that

That in turn would be when a treatment is available, which takes us to our next policy action.  Remove bureaucratic obstacles.  If you listen closely you’ll hear it said that there are no currently approved vaccines or therapies.  In fact there are both vaccines and therapies in existence now.  Technology isn’t standing in the way; bureaucracy is.  The decision whether to try a preventative or treatment should be up to the patient and doctor.

There’s good news on that front, via The New York Times:

The Food and Drug Administration has given emergency approval to a Trump administration plan to distribute millions of doses of anti-malarial drugs to U.S. hospitals, saying it is worth the risk of trying unproven treatments to slow the disease in seriously ill patients.

Freedom works.  This is not to say that this or any other specific treatment will cure COVID-19, but there’s no faster way of finding out what helps than trying it on thousands of patients, many of whom might die without treatment.  It’s also not to say there isn’t value in gold-standard, randomized, controlled studies, but common sense prevails.  Just some of the proposed treatments include a combination of repurposed hyrdoxychloroquine, azithromycin, and zinc sulfate, a combination of danoprevir and ritonavir, and Gilead’s remdesivir.  A medical doctor should be qualified to make a determination of what may be worth trying in any individual case, and the FDA action encouragingly reflects that.

MarketWatch – These 16 companies are working on coronavirus treatments or vaccines — here’s where things stand

3 thoughts on “A Ray Of Hope

    1. Bill Terrell says:

      I’m optimistic we will. Thanks largely to the above mentioned Trump administration policy of allowing doctors and patients considerable latitude to decide what therapies to try.

      Instead of centrally planned, one-size-fits-all medicine, we have thousands of doctors and patients conducting a very large, very fast, simultaneous real time clinical trial of multiple therapies. This will help separate therapies that work from those that don’t orders of magnitude faster than the usual glacial pace of federal bureaucracy.

      There are encouraging signs of progress. Some therapies are already so well regarded by the nation’s doctors that supplies are being strained. One such medicine is Gilead Sciences’ remdesivir. Another is the combination of hydroxychloroquine, azithromycin, and zinc sulfate. While the combination has received the most positive attention, the hydroxychloroquine component appears to confer meaningful benefit:

      “The malaria drug hydroxychloroquine helped to speed the recovery of a small number of patients who were mildly ill from the coronavirus, doctors in China reported this week.

      Cough, fever and pneumonia went away faster, and the disease seemed less likely to turn severe in people who received hydroxychloroquine than in a comparison group not given the drug. The authors of the report said that the medication was promising, but that more research was needed to clarify how it might work in treating coronavirus disease and to determine the best way to use it…

      … But the findings strongly support earlier studies suggesting a role for the drug, Dr. Schaffner said.”