If you watched President Biden’s latest speech on the Covid pandemic this week, you heard lots of talk about getting vaccinated. He repeated this mantra multiple times, making it a matter of morality and patriotism, as well as personal health. Although I’m very pro-vaccine, I also believe in America we have the freedom to make our own decisions about our bodies. Pro-choice advocates are always choosing this argument for women who choose abortion, but not so much when it comes to freedom to choose to be vaccinated or not. Then it’s our patriotic duty!
What’s missing from the conversation is any talk about viral therapeutics. It’s great to have effective vaccines, but it’s a big step forward to have effective therapeutics, too. Not everyone can be vaccinated, either for medical, religious, or personal reasons. Effective therapeutics make it possible to treat those who get infected anyway – and many of those may also have been vaccinated.
Perhaps it goes back to President Trump, who was vilified by the media for suggesting hydroxychloroquine was an effective treatment of Covid. Despite all the negative media about this drug, it has proven effective in limiting the severity and duration of Covid-19. Today, however, we have even better therapeutics.
I’ve written earlier about oral treatment of Covid-19. (Covid Pill Should be Coming Soon) That blog was written nearly three months ago and we’re still waiting for FDA approval.
Dr. Marty Makary, Johns Hopkins Medical School professor, writes in The Wall Street Journal that the FDA has been delinquent in authorizing both Merck’s and Pfizer’s antiviral pills that are designed to work against all Covid variants. Merck’s molnupiravir received an up-vote from FDA experts three weeks ago, yet the agency hasn’t authorized it. Pfizer’s paxlovid cut Covid deaths to zero (compared with 10 deaths in the control group), yet the FDA has been sitting on the application for five weeks without even scheduling an advisory meeting to review it. What are they waiting for?
There are other effective therapeutics, too. Fluvoxamine reduced Covid deaths by 91% among symptomatic high-risk patients in a second randomized controlled trial evaluating its effect. Yet there is little mention of this drug by public-health officials. Ivermectin is another drug that has been in use since 1996 for treatment of river blindness and other diseases caused by parasites. Its safety and effectiveness have been proven over 25 years. Ivermectin has also been found to be effective against 21 viruses, including Covid-19. A single dose of ivermectin reduced the viral load of Covid-19 in cells by 99.8% in 24 hours and 99.98% in 48 hours, according to a June 2020 study published in the journal Antiviral Research. In August, 2021, I wrote of some 70 clinical trials currently evaluating the use of ivermectin for treating Covid-19 patients. (FDA Withholding Effective Covid Drug) Yet we’ve heard nothing from public-health officials since that time.
Furthermore, we hear little about natural immunity and its impact on our society. Yet those who have survived Covid-19 have developed their own natural immunity, which has been estimated in one study in Israel to be 27 times as effective as vaccines in preventing future infection.
Dr Makary says, “Last week I testified before Congress that many Covid policies are no longer driven by science. Data is being cherry-picked to support predetermined agendas, while the roles of natural immunity and life-saving therapeutics are being sidelined.”
Vaccines are great, a monumental achievement of the Trump Administration’s Operation Warp Speed. The world is a much safer place because of them and I recommend them to all who can safely be vaccinated. But there is also much room for celebrating – and using – viral therapeutics. What could be easier than taking a home test for Covid, then a pill to get you over the next few days of what should be a common cold-like illness? Then, we could all get back to life as it was before Covid.