Fauci: Don't Assume Chloroquine is a 'Knockout Drug'; Vaccine is 'Ultimate Game Changer'

Chris Menahan
Apr. 03, 2020

Don't assume hydroxychloroquine is a "knockout drug" but do assume a theoretical vaccine rushed out in just a year or so with little testing is an "ultimate game changer."

From CNBC, "Coronavirus: Dr. Anthony Fauci warns Americans shouldn't assume hydroxychloroquine is a 'knockout drug'":
Americans shouldn't assume hydroxychloroquine is a "knockout drug" in preventing or treating COVID-19, White House health advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci warned Friday.

"We still need to do the definitive studies to determine whether any intervention, not just this one, is truly safe and effective," Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said on Fox News. "But when you don't have that information, it's understandable why people might want to take something anyway even with the slightest hint of being effective." 

[...] On Wednesday, Fauci said the first human trial testing a potential vaccine to prevent COVID-19 is "on track," with public distribution still projected in 12 to 18 months, which would be the "ultimate game changer" in the fight against the pandemic.
As the Washington Times reported yesterday, an international survey of 6,227 doctors in 30 countries found hydroxychloroquine or chloroquine was rated as the "most effective therapy" overall.

It's worth noting that Fauci has not spent any money to launch trials for hydroxychloroquine or chloroquine but has spent money on trials for Gilead's Remdesivir.

Incidentally, chloroquine is about .04 cents per dose internationally, which would come out to less than $1 per course, whereas analysts are predicting Remdesivir will cost around $1,000 per course.

Fortunately, hydroxychloroquine is being given trials by the government of France and private industry is funding trials in America.

Last month, Reuters reported that rushing a vaccine can have disastrous consequences:
Behind the scenes, scientists and medical experts are concerned that rushing a vaccine could end up worsening the infection in some patients rather than preventing it.

Studies have suggested that coronavirus vaccines carry the risk of what is known as vaccine enhancement, where instead of protecting against infection, the vaccine can actually make the disease worse when a vaccinated person is infected with the virus.

[...] "I understand the importance of accelerating timelines for vaccines in general, but from everything I know, this is not the vaccine to be doing it with," Dr Peter Hotez, dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine, told Reuters.

Hotez worked on development of a vaccine for SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome), the coronavirus behind a major 2003 outbreak, and found that some vaccinated animals developed more severe disease compared with unvaccinated animals when they were exposed to the virus.

"There is a risk of immune enhancement," said Hotez. "The way you reduce that risk is first you show it does not occur in laboratory animals."
I think I'd rather take my chances with hydroxychloroquine.

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