Tuesday, September 1, 2020

Coronavirus - remdesivir

'Without evidence': Once again, FDA expands use of COVID-19 treatment without research to back it up is the title of a USA Today article about remdesivir, a drug being repurposed to treat Covid-19.

Without evidence?? The NIH said otherwise four months ago! The author Karen Weintraub even named two recent journal article that gave some evidence in favor of remdesivir. "Without research to back it up" sounds like a mantra alluding to randomized controlled trials (the "gold standard") and used as a "weapon."

Weintraub much disapproved the FDA decision. She found an ally in Dr. Topol. Dr. Marty mildly approved the FDA's decision. Dr. Meyer mildly disapproved.

There are at least three things the article says nothing about.

1. Weintraub did not name any alternative drugs. Is there an allegedly better one than remdesivir or is remdesivir as good as or better than any alternatives at this time? Context matters. Is it reasonable to denounce what is one of the best or better than others by a good margin because it isn't perfect?

2. At clinicaltrials.gov one can search with keywords Covid19 and remdesivir and find 48 studies underway or completed. Only two are completed, but maybe they gave some evidence favoring remdesivir.

3. Have practicing doctors encouraged the FDA to extend emergency authorization use (EAU) like the FDA did for only medical reasons? 

So what is Weintraub's motivation for saying "without evidence" and "without research to back it up"? My guess is that she wanted to smear the Trump administration. Weintraub writes, "[T]hose who follow the [FDA] said they have never seen such consistent politicization." What about her, USA Today's, and other main stream media's politicization?

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