Remdesivir arrived with great hope and even greater expectations. Would this drug finally awake us from the 2-plus-month long nightmare that has the U.S. tossing and turning in its sleep? As things stand now that answer is no. Here's why.
Media headlines are almost exclusively about the coronavirus death toll and the debate over whether it's too early to begin lifting lockdown restrictions. However, there are several other observations about COVID-19 that are important, but are getting very little attention.
How would we respond differently if another outbreak happened?
The death toll from the coronavirus will place COVID-19 in the top 10 causes of death in the United States in 2020, possibly as high as #3. Yet, it likely will remain far behind the deaths caused by heart disease and cancer.
After months of speculation, the results of the first placebo-controlled trial of remdesivir are out. The drug does help people with COVID-19 disease, but it's nothing to get excited about. Here's why.
Much remains unknown about the coronavirus. A new paper published in The Lancet estimates that roughly 60% of the population needs to be immune to COVID-19 to achieve herd immunity.
Many politicians insist that they will "follow the science" in regard to reopening the economy. But the COVID-19 pandemic has placed us in uncharted territory with few relevant precedents to guide policymaking. Therefore, "Follow the science," is indistinguishable from, "Do what I say." This doesn't prevent activist websites like Undark from smearing reputable scientists who speak out in disagreement.
What's worse, flying American Airlines or camping out in a Greyhound's bus bathroom during National Projectile Vomiting Day? Ask Erin Strine. American recently stuffed her, and a whole bunch of other people, into a flying incubator. It wasn't pretty.
Being anti-science and anti-technology is a luxury for when times are good. In times of crisis, people beg for help from scientists, doctors, and pharmaceutical companies.
Preliminary data, obtained from a randomized clinical trial of remdesivir in China, look bad. Maybe even very bad. But this doesn't mean that the drug won't be shown to be useful in other trials. Nonetheless, not good news.
Should we open up the economy immediately or remain on lockdown indefinitely until a vaccine is made? Believe it or not, there are other options. It's too bad that society isn't smart enough to understand that.
Remdesivir, the most promising anti-coronavirus drug at this time is no fun to synthesize. But Gilead, the drug's maker, is synthesizing a whole bunch of it. Does this tell us anything about whether the drug works? Maybe.