It is appalling, in light of current evidence, to learn that early treatment based on the so-called “Covid kit” was advocated in a speech to the UN General Assembly. It is worth remembering that the Minister of Health has publicly admitted that there is no data to prove its effectiveness.
There is an accumulation of sufficient information to refute the use of hydroxychloroquine, azithromycin and ivermectin in the treatment of Covid-19. More than that, excessive sums of money have already been spent to prove that such medications do not work and can, more than that, do harm.
But imagine if early treatment could prevent progression to severe forms of Covid-19 by more than 80%? Wouldn’t it be legitimate to make every effort to make it available to Brazilians?
This treatment exists since the end of 2020. And four versions of these treatments have already been approved by Anvisa, for use in Brazil.
The use of monoclonal antibodies to treat Covid-19 has already been discussed in this column. The subject has gained greater prominence since Donald Trump was treated with a cocktail of monoclonal antibodies. The initial results of clinical studies started to come out in October 2020, when the possibility of its use on a large scale was opened. The FDA, the US equivalent of Anvisa, approved the emergency use of monoclonal antibodies in the treatment of Covid-19 shortly thereafter, in November 2020.
Other studies, with a large number of cases, were not long in coming out. In December 2020, the results were announced by different manufacturers, showing a reduction in progression to severe disease greater than 80%. An extraordinary result.
The recognition of the beneficial effect for the treatment was recognized in 2021 by Anvisa, which authorized the use of Regeneron’s monoclonal antibody cocktail on April 20th and Eli-Lilly’s on May 13th, Celltrion’s monoclonal antibody on August 11th, and Glaxo’s monoclonal antibody on September 8th. All, when used early, significantly reduced the occurrence of serious illness.
Why, then, do we still not have these products available to alleviate the suffering and deaths of Brazilians?
Could it be because of the difficulty in using it? No. A single infusion is enough for the antibodies that attack the new coronavirus to stay in the body for weeks. Do they have many side effects? No. Because they are made up of antibodies, substances that already exist in everyone, they are very well tolerated, with very rare side effects. Are expensive? Yes, however, the cost-effectiveness favors its use, since an admission to the ICU is very expensive and for an indefinite period. In addition, competition is already established and there are opportunities for price reduction negotiations, for use by the SUS.
The eloquent advocacy of ineffective products is nothing new and is often tainted by unfounded personal convictions, conspiracy theories, little study and, more recently, polarized political debate. Who doesn’t remember the story of phosphoethanolamine, the vaunted “cancer pill”, which consumed money and reputations without demonstrating that it was useful?
I would like the same enthusiasm of those who defended and defend the use of early treatment with the “Covid kit” to be directed towards alternatives that, in fact, would make a difference in saving lives.
Our most urgent question needs an equally quick answer: when will the true early Covid-19 treatment be available to Brazilians?
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