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Biden’s speed of action on snails on Covid therapies

The Biden administration on Tuesday ordered another 600,000 doses

GlaxoSmithKline

and

Viral biotechnology‘S

monoclonal antibodies. Last week, it increased orders of

Pfizer‘S

antiretroviral drug Paxlovid reduced by 10 million. Great, but these treatments will likely come after the Omicron Covid variant emerges. Why didn’t it order more treatments sooner?

That’s a particularly good question given that the stated purpose of last March’s $1.9 trillion spending bill by Democrats was Covid relief. However, less than 1% of spending is allocated to therapies. Last year, about how much money was given to New York’s ailing financial transit system as the Administration spent on Covid therapies. The result: Persistent drug shortages and countless preventable deaths.

***

It was clear from the outset during the pandemic that treatments would be crucial to living with Covid, especially oral antivirals that patients could buy in pharmacies soon after their development. the symptoms. Francis Collins, then director of the National Institutes of Health, explain this one on

CBS‘S

“60 Minutes” in March. But therapies are a very low priority for the White House Covid team.

In June 2021, the Administration pre-ordered 1.7 million courses of the antiviral drug molnupiravir from Merck and Ridgeback Biotherapeutics, which has shown promise in early trials. In November after stronger data was released, it increased orders to 3.1 million courses, to be delivered in early 2022. Why not more?

Perhaps because the White House believes the money would be better spent on Pfizer’s monoclonal and Paxlovid antibodies, which have been shown to be somewhat more effective in tests. But the authorities don’t order nearly enough of them either.

Shortage monoclonal supplies had to be sorted out during Delta’s summer spike. In mid-September, when Delta was in retreat, the Administration ordered 1.4 million doses of monoclonal Regeneron and 388,000 doses

Eli Lilly‘S

. Unable to get enough federal funding for his state, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis in September circled the Regulatory Authority to buy monolines from GSK and Vir.

Their monoclonal was approved by the Food and Drug Administration in May. It is unique in neutralizing both the SARS and Covid-19 viruses, making it less susceptible to new variants. It resists Omicron well while those of Regeneron and Lilly don’t. But the authorities don’t seem to think there is a need for GSK-Vir.

In June GSK had 450,000 doses on hand. However, the Administration waited until the fall to order $1 billion for the treatments, which included about 450,000 doses. On November 18, the regulator also ordered 10 million courses of Pfizer’s Paxlovid after trial data showed it reduced hospitalizations by nearly 90%. However, the production of these pills takes six to eight months, so the supply is very limited.

If authorities require more treatments earlier, more treatments will be available this winter. The Trump administration’s Warp Speed ​​campaign has accelerated vaccine development and production by placing pre-orders so that it can be delivered as soon as the FDA approves the vaccine. President Biden could have done the same for the treatments but hasn’t.

Instead, the Regulatory Authority has focused relentlessly on cover-ups, testing, and vaccinations with therapies as a fourth priority. The focus is on preventing the infection, rather than treating it. Vaccines to prevent serious diseases. But as we are learning with Omicrons, they do not prevent infection or transmission. Despite President Biden’s coercive efforts, many Americans remain unvaccinated.

Mask-wearing seems to be on the rise alongside Omicrons spreading like wildfire and millions of Americans improperly wearing them. Testing could help those who want to protect vulnerable people in their orbit, but the Administration is also unprepared for the winter spike in demand for testing.

***

Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra oversaw the procurement of therapy, but he was inactive. He didn’t even appear for Tuesday’s Senate hearing with officials Anthony Fauci, Janet Woodcock and Rochelle Walensky. Then again, he has no healthcare expertise, and his only definite credential for the job sued the Trump Administration as Attorney General of California.

As Omicron spread, Americans began to appreciate that we could all be infected eventually. President Biden’s campaign promise to “stop the virus” has always been a boon and will never be fulfilled. Fortunately, so far Omicron causes milder disease. But living with endemic Covid means that therapies are crucial.

Having more therapies this winter would ease the burden on hospitals and could have saved thousands of lives.

Wonder Land: The weaponization of ‘science’ started with climate policy and accelerated with Covid-19. Now many people think that is misinformation. Image: AFP / Getty Images Synthesis: Mark Kelly

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https://www.wsj.com/articles/bidens-operation-snail-speed-covid-therapies-pfizer-merck-ridgeback-vir-11642024875 Biden’s speed of action on snails on Covid therapies

Ethan Gach

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