The FDA giveth, and HHS taketh away

In figuring out the trouble with vaccine mandates, it's worthwhile to consider the opposite yet successful treatment protocols used in India and Sweden.  Both approaches by these two very different countries have proven to be effective in taming the COVID beast.

India originally prescribed hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) at the onset of the pandemic with great success.  It then switched to its new and more potent COVID kit containing ivermectin to conquer the more contagious delta and subsequent variants.  In so doing, India continuously maintained an insignificant daily death rate per million except for a brief increase when the delta variant first appeared.  This likely indicates that India has achieved herd immunity.  In contrast, Sweden appears to have achieved its herd immunity status by letting the virus run its course naturally, with minimal mandates or lockdowns.  Unlike India, Sweden shunned early treatment meds, as did most Western countries, including the USA.  As a result, all shared similarly high death rates initially. 

However, both India and Sweden have apparently achieved herd immunity, and they got there well before the Western countries that imposed harsh lockdowns and mask mandates and placed primary emphasis on the vaccines while rejecting early treatment protocols (especially those including HCQ or ivermectin).

To simplify the differences in the outcome, the seven-day rolling average of confirmed COVID-19 deaths for India and Sweden are compared with only two representative countries (the U.S. and U.K., since both relied mostly on lockdowns, masks, and vaccine mandates).  You can monitor the current death trends for these four countries here.  This data source updates daily, and I just noticed that in September, Sweden posted an unexpected increase in deaths (from 0.01 per million daily in mid-August to 1.0 per million in mid-September).  In comparison, India has posted a gradual decline in deaths and continues to trend down (currently at 0.2 per million daily). 

It is noteworthy that Sweden's vaccination rate initially lagged well behind the U.S. and U.K. but has now caught up.  In contrast, less wealthy India continues to lag far behind in vaccinations.  Could there be a connection between the jump in vaccination rates in Sweden and its unexpected uptick in deaths?  In contrast, the U.S. death rate as of 19 September climbed to 5.8 per million daily, while the U.K. is now stabilizing at around 2.1 per million daily.   Note that the U.K. was hit by the delta virus before the U.S. and after India.

There are some solutions other than vaccines.  The FDA recently approved some monoclonal antibody medication as an early treatment option for COVID-19 (brand name REGEN-COV).  According to the FDA fact sheet, REGEN-COV requires a lengthy infusion process or an IV, which makes it more complicated and expensive to administer than either HCQ or ivermectin.  Both of the latter meds are taken orally at home.  If administered early, within days of infection, all these medications work similarly by preventing the virus from triggering the often fatal overreaction of the body's autoimmune system.  It is this overreaction (cytokine storm) that is most responsible for causing the severe symptoms that often lead to hospitalization and death.  In contrast, the virus itself usually results in mild cold or seasonal flu–type symptoms for most people having healthy immune systems.  Those with a compromised immune system due to age or other co-morbidity are the most vulnerable to this dangerous cytokine storm reaction and should get higher priority for professional treatment.

These newly FDA-approved monoclonal antibodies have proven to be extremely effective in stopping the progression of the disease when administered early, prior to the onset of the cytokine storm overreaction.  But instead of finding ways to increase production (or to allow the off-label use of HCQ or ivermectin), the HHS has taken control of its distribution.  We know that this decision had nothing to do with the fact that about 70% of orders were from seven Southern states having conservative governors — most notably Florida and Texas.  Right...it is also likely that blue states may not have been ordering it because their leadership may prefer to rely solely on the vaccines.

Nevertheless, orders to red states will be reduced in the spirit of "equity."  According to The Washington Times:

Republican lawmakers are demanding the Biden administration to cease rationing COVID-19 antibody treatments, saying the restrictions are disproportionately harming red states.

They sent a letter Friday to Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra calling on him to reverse the decision to ration COVID-19 monoclonal antibody (mAb) treatments to their states.

The lawmakers said the rationing threatens their states with "a severe deficit of doses" of the antibody treatments, which has proven to be powerfully effective in fighting COVID-19 infections including aiding the recovery last year of then-President Trump.

With Biden's socialist-leaning HHS team now in charge of distribution, good luck finding it in a medical facility in a red state.  Meanwhile, there will likely be excess supply in blue states that would prefer that it not be available.  It is likely that Biden's vaccine advocates are behind this decision because they don't like the competition.  These effective monoclonal antibody meds will likely reduce the incentive to get the mandatory jab or follow-on booster shot.  That cannot be permitted, no matter the cost in lives, as long as the pandemic continues to offer some political advantage.

Image via Pxhere.

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