If you need another reminder on why you should not go to the mainstream media for accurate and useful information, go read this. Right now, the media is the greatest threat to your health and safety, and those you love, out there.
Nor have the CDC, FDA, and NIH covered themselves with glory. The latest take down on how they got us in the position we are in is here. Some may chide me for attacking them, and I will admit that there are some good, very good, people working there. However, they are political agencies, not scientific or medical at this point. More on that in a moment.
Thanks to President Trump, who has to continually play whack-a-mole with the bureaucrats, a number of unnecessary regulations have been pulled out of the way. As such, there are new treatments coming on line, and testing is expanding in quantity and quality as the power of the American free enterprise system is harnessed to meet the challenges of COVID-19. Get the bureaucrats out of the way, and there is no challenge we can’t face.
In news not likely to be covered widely in the mainstream media, Dr. Didier Raoult and colleagues have published a second paper on the efficacy of hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin to treat COVID-19. Read the paper here, and when politicians say it won’t work and they make it illegal to prescribe, ask them why when three (more at this point I think) studies show it works.
Also, look at everyone standing up to help. You see it locally, and you can see it nationally when 9,000 retired Army medical personnel have volunteered to come back and help.
I was going to talk about vaccines and protein crystallization today, but the number of conspiracy theories about the pharmaceutical industry, while not deserving a reply, do give me a springboard to talk about the need to massively overhaul the FDA. This is something that has been bitterly resisted by the FDA, to the point of scorched earth, and by certain politicians with a vested interest. What vested interest? Go look up the Epi-Pen scandal and note but one politician who had a vested interest. They are not alone.
As a liaison to the Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO) many years ago, I had the chance to meet one person named head of the FDA with a mandate from the then President to reform the agency, including updating the drug approval process. Sadly, they were not successful and what happened there is why I use the terms ‘bitterly opposed’ and ‘scorched earth.’
The first time I worked as a contractor for NASA, one of the scientific investigations that I came to learn a lot about involved protein crystallography for new drug development. Short version for today, if you can grow the right form of a given protein, it allows you to develop drugs that will bind with/act on it and not anything else. This greatly reduces the chance of side effects and makes for a more effective drug.
At that time, it took a minimum of five years and an average of $400 million to get through the FDA process. If, in the course of going through that process, you found a way to improve the drug, you had to start completely over again. By the end of my second time as a contractor for NASA, the cost had grown to $800 million.
Keep in mind, this is not the cost of research and development. This is just the cost to go through the FDA new drug approval process. I’m honestly scared to see how much the average cost is now, or how many years it takes. Means of improving the testing, and speeding the process up, have been known for years, but again were and are bitterly resisted by the FDA. These methods in no way impaired the safety of the public.
So, when you see drugs costing hundreds or thousands of dollars; or, you see drugs that can work on multiple diseases or conditions but are not FDA approved for them, this cost is why they are expensive and often not approved for other uses even when known to be safe and effective. Unless something has drastically changed (doubtful), you have to go through a process costing hundreds of millions of dollars, and lasting years, for each and every disease/condition.
Which is why even though Chloroquine/Hydroxychloroquine was proven effective against coronaviruses in 2005 (and ignored by the CDC), it was not approved for it. What company is going to spend hundreds of millions of dollars on approval when it has no realistic chance of a return on it’s investment.
Before I forget, on a similar topic, I worked with a researcher (couple actually) who developed a treatment that reversed paralysis from spinal injury, every time. He demonstrated it in animals repeatedly, and it worked if he could get to them within about 36 hours. The treatment prevented the formation of scar tissue in the spinal cord track that would block the regrowth of nerves, as they can and do regenerate if there is a pathway. When he tried to get approval from the FDA to do human trials, they said it had to be proven on patients who already were paralyzed from spinal injury – the people who already had scar tissue and on whom the treatment was unlikely to work. The FDA’s take was that no matter the animal studies, if it wouldn’t work on patients on whom it was almost impossible to work, then it was a no go. Last I heard, he was trying it there way even though there was almost no chance of success.
Thus ends today’s lecture. I really do want to talk more about protein crystallography, structure-based drug design, vaccines, and related topics. I find them fascinating, and they do have quite a bit of relevance to what is happening right now. That said, I intend to go have such fun as I can have in unpaid lockdown.
Oh, a quick frack you to Howard County here in Indiana. Books are always essential, and this strikes me as severe overreach that needs to be strongly and quickly addressed by the Citizens of said county.
Since the media isn’t going to say it, once again, COVID-19 is not Capt. Tripps. It is not the flu. Chill, distance, and use good hygiene. STOP THE PANIC!
Also, a reminder once again: if you are sick or think you are sick, DO NOT GO TO WORK OR TO VISIT PEOPLE. Stay the frack home. Don’t be Stupid, go to work/out, and insist on getting up close and personal to everyone you meet. Yes, Stupid is capitalized as I work with Stupid, who did just that. Don’t be Stupid.
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If you suspect you have COVID-19 or have been exposed: call your state health department and work with them so that you can be dealt with in a way that minimizes the chance of spreading the virus to those helping you and to the general public. Can’t get them? Call your local department or see if your health service has online/telemedicine screening set up; or see if one who has will let you use it even if you are not in their network. Do not go out in public, and don’t go to an ER or other facility without calling ahead. Be smart.
Use the interactive graphic to keep track of things. Is COVID19 an epidemic? Yes. Is it a Pandemic? Yes. Is there need for panic? NO. HELL NO. Should you be paying attention? Yes. Hell yes. Should you be preparing? Yes, better late than never. And good luck finding/getting stuff.
Want to avoid catching COVID19 here in the U.S.? Wash your flippin hands frequently, wash them thoroughly every time you use the bathroom, then follow with hand sanitizer after every washing, use hand sanitizer liberally when you can’t wash on a regular basis. Cover your mouth and nose when you sneeze, and stay away from those who don’t. Also, keep your bugger hooks out of/away from your eyes, nose, and mouth. Do NOT shake hands with anyone, and avoid touching or being touched by strangers. Or your strange friends.
Avoid travel if at all possible. If you have to travel, or go out for any reason, use lots of hand sanitizer and go to full flu protocols. If you have to use a public restroom, take full precautions including using paper towels and such to handle faucets, doors,etc. Believe it or not, this was highly recommended before now, and major grocery chains have long told employees to use those practices to avoid getting or spreading colds, flu, etc. Not many actually do it, but…
If you own a business, make sure your employees know the above protocols. Have someone who refuses to wash their hands or otherwise follow the protocols? Talk to them, write them up, and if necessary fire them as they now pose a risk of infection to you and your customers. Extreme? Yes, but while the CDC and others are working to slow it down, odds are it is already here and could hit hard and fast. Prepare for the worst and hope for the best.
I want to reiterate that there is no need for panic, but there is a strong need to be alert, be informed, and be prepared.
Good Sources Of Information On COVID-19
Instapundit (no longer doing roundups, but great articles from Glenn and his team)
South China Morning Post (decent, some salt may be needed)
Business Insider (decent, even if they did fall for some lies about Trump)
More to come
Local Independent Businesses That Need Your Support
More to come
Other COVID19/COVID-19/2019-nCoV articles: