Why Didn't They Tell You?

Dr. FRANK MARTINS COMMENTARY ON HISTORICAL, SOCIAL & ECONOMIC ISSUES OF OUR TIME

that more treatments, not just vaccines, for COVID are imminent through Operation Warp Speed?

… that more treatments, not just vaccines, for COVID are imminent through Operation Warp Speed?

Yesterday (November 9, 2020), Pfizer announced that “first interim analysis from phase 3 study” of its COVID vaccine showed it to be effective and safe; an amazing 90% of those taking the vaccine developed COVID-19 anti-bodies with no significant side effects. The company soon will seek Emergency Use Authorization for its vaccine from the Federal Drug Administration (FDA), paving the way for its being made available to the public. Those in the most vulnerable categories, basically frontline, healthcare workers and those over 70, will be the first to receive the vaccine. General public distribution could occur before the end of the year.

The Trump Administration contracted with Pfizer to manufacture 100 million doses of the vaccine which started during the final Phase 3 trials, with encouraging results being reported. Since the Federal Government is paying for the 100 million doses, the cost to the patient is zero.

To understand why this was possible, read my blog post of October 18, 2020. In that post, I opined that the availability of vaccines and treatments was imminent, right around the corner. My position was supported by on article in the New York Times on Monday, October 12 which said that “Experts are saying…that the pandemic in the United States will be over far sooner than they expected [Italics inserted]…. The Times further noted “… Despite the chaos in day-to-day politics and the fighting over issues like masks and lockdowns, Operation Warp Speed … appears to have been working with remarkable efficiency” (Italics added).

Operation Warp Speed entailed developing not just vaccines but also therapeutics (treatments) for those who have the virus. On July 7, the Federal Government approved $450 million to support the large-scale manufacturing of Regeneron’s COVID-19 investigational anti-viral antibody treatment, REGN-COV2. This treatment was given to President Trump after he had contacted COVID-19. We all recall that he was back on the campaign trail after being incapacitated just a few days. There are other treatments being developed by other drug manufacturers.

The availability of effective treatments for COVID-19 is critical in light of the recent spike in the number of confirmed cases. Fortunately deaths are not increasing as fast as confirmed cases. Based on a simple spreadsheet I started keeping April and updating daily, mortality rates (deaths as a percent of confirmed cases) peaked around the second week of May and have been steadily falling since then as the number of confirmed cases has been rising, for the world, for the United States, and for several states I have been tracking. Doctors’ understanding of the virus is greater now than it was in February. For instance, they have found that it is better to lay the person on his stomach rather than on his back, and the patient should not be put on a ventilator as soon as they had been doing. There are therapeutics such as Remdesivir which are having a positive impact. Some have suggested that over time, the virus has become milder or weaker.

In short, there is reason to be optimistic. We could be back to normal by midsummer.  

Notes and References

Featured image is taken from Jim Garamone (August 12, 2020). Operation Warp Speed on track for end-of-year vaccine delivery, DOD News. Accessed at https://www.defense.gov/Explore/News/Article/Article/2311177/operation-warp-speed-on-track-for-end-of-year-vaccine-delivery/#:~:text=Operation%20Warp%20Speed%20on%20Track%20for%20End%2Dof%2DYear%20Vaccine%20Delivery,-Aug.&text=Operation%20Warp%20Speed%20is%20a,the%20end%20of%20the%20year.

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