OUR LETTER IN THE WALL STREET JOURNAL!
Apr 10, 2020 —
In “Bet Big on Treatments for Coronavirus” (op-ed, April 6) Dr. Scott Gottlieb argues we cannot rely solely on isolation and social distancing and urges FDA to accelerate approval of new Covid-19 drugs. Yet Dr. Anthony Fauci says we must have conclusive clinical trials, which take months or even years, to prove drugs are efficacious. Remdesivir, the most hopeful antiviral, not yet approved, is an intravenous drug for hospitalization use. We need treatment before hospitalization.
Favipiravir is a Japanese drug approved for treatment of Covid-19 in China, but not approved here for fear of causing birth defects. Yet, we use several other drugs such as Accutane for acne, while carefully avoiding pregnancy.
In 1988, with massive protests from AIDS patients against slow FDA action, Dr. Fauci pioneered the plan of the parallel track: “There was a concept that if you have a clinical trial, it has to be sacrosanct, with very rigid criteria. People who were infected, who had no other possibility of therapy, were objecting that there were a lot of rigid rules that said they could not get into the clinical trial, and therefore could not have access to perhaps the only drug that might prolong their life. Their argument was, Let us take the chance. Let us sign that we appreciate we are taking a drug that has unknown toxicities, but we know, from looking around at all our friends, that in fact we’re going to die if we don’t get these drugs.”
Today, more than 40 HIV drugs permit millions of affected people to live out normal lives. Use Dr. Fauci’s parallel track now with favipiravir and other agents where favorable but not conclusive data have been obtained.
Binh Ngo, M.D.
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