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Coronavirus: Trump says this drug has ‘tremendous promise,’ but Fauci’s not spending

“I think it’s going to be great,” he said. “We’re quickly studying this drug.”

But the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases isn’t sponsoring any studies on hydroxychloroquine, according to a statement from the agency, which added that the agency is “considering” trials that examine the drug or its analogue chloroquine as a potential treatment for Covid-19. studies.

The Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority, another federal agency, also lists its coronavirus measures on its website, but hydroxychloroquine is not among them.

Hydroxychloroquine clinical trials

Last month, a Chinese study theorized that hydroxychloroquine might work against coronavirus by preventing it from binding to human cells.
Trump was so positive about the drug that doctors started hoarding it, causing several states to implement strict regulations around prescribing the drug.
States try to stop hoarding of possible coronavirus treatments
Despite this enthusiasm, a federal government registry for clinical trials shows only two trials in the US for hydroxychloroquine to fight coronavirus, and only one of those is up and running.
Researchers for that trial, at the University of Minnesota, requested but did not receive any federal funding, according to Dr. David Boulware, the infectious disease expert running the study.

Boulware said he had to get funding from Silicon Valley tycoon David Baszucki for one part of his study, which looks at hydroxychloroquine to prevent development of the disease, and he still doesn’t have funding for the other part, which studies the drug as a treatment for infection.

“With all the money being spent on coronavirus, we should spend funds on medical research on how best to treat people and prevent new infections,” Boulware said.

The second study, at Columbia University Irving Medical Center, is expected to begin enrollment this week and is currently not funded, according to a hospital spokeswoman.

The Gates Foundation is expected to announce soon that it will be funding hydroxychloroquine research for coronavirus at the University of Washington and New York University, according to multiple sources.

Federal funding for other coronavirus treatments

Other treatments are getting federal funding, and their trials are underway at multiple sites.

Doctors at 11 sites have enrolled between 60 and 70 patients in a study of a sarimulab, according to George Yancopoulos, chief scientific officer for Regeneron, which makes the drug.

In the fight against coronavirus, doctors are studying sarimulab and other antibody treatments that can alter a body’s inflammatory response to a virus.

Trump says FDA will fast-track treatments for novel coronavirus, but there are still months of research ahead
The sarimulab study is getting support from the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority, a division of the US Department of Health and Human Services.

At least four sites are already enrolling patients to study the effects of another drug called remdesivir, which is designed to keep viruses from replicating: Northwell Health and Montefiore Medical Center, both in New York City; Duke University Medical Center in North Carolina; and the University of Nebraska Medical Center.

NIAID, the institute lead by Fauci, is sponsoring the trials of remdesivir, which is made by the pharmaceutical company Gilead.

At the White House press briefing last week, Fauci tamped down Trump’s enthusiasm for hydroxychloroquine when he was asked if there was any evidence to suggest the drug could be used to prevent coronavirus

“No. The answer is no,” Fauci said, adding that there was only anecdotal evidence that hydroxychloroquine could be an effective therapy for people with coronavirus.

The day after discussing hydroxychloroquine, Fauci made a pointed comment about coronavirus treatments.

“I don’t want anybody to forget that simultaneously with our doing that, we’re also doing randomized clinical trials on a number of candidates,” he said. “We’re talking about remdesivir, other drugs, immune sera, convalescent serum, monoclonal antibodies, all of these are in the pipeline now queuing up to be able to go into clinical trial,” he said.

How we've overcome past pandemics

Researchers credit the advanced stages of the remdesivir and sarimulab trials to the fact that pharmaceutical companies have exclusive rights to these drugs and have an incentive to get studies moving.

Hydroxychloroquine, on the other hand, is an inexpensive generic drug made by several companies, so no one company stands to make much money off it.

“There are financial drivers in this system,” said Dr. Kevin Tracey, president of the Feinstein Institutes for Medical Research at Northwell. “I think that’s just the reality, frankly.”

Non-pharmaceutical treatments for coronavirus

There are also non-pharmaceutical approaches being researched to treat coronavirus.

On Tuesday the US Food and Drug Administration said it was expediting the use of a blood plasma treatment for patients seriously ill with coronavirus.
FDA says it is expediting the use of a blood plasma treatment as New York begins to roll out new clinical trials

The process, known as convalescent serum, involves taking the blood from someone who has recovered from coronavirus and…

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