NEW: We take a step forward today as an FDA advisory committee approves Merck’s antiviral, the first oral anti-viral to be approved.

It has a low efficacy rate of 30%, but should pave the road for more effective drugs. 1/
The drug isn’t perfect. Its expensive— $700 per treatment (Govt paid), requires it be taken early, and people should talk to their physicians about the side effect profile. 2/
But the principle by which the drug works is promising & calls out for a future of better drugs. One of them is around the corner from Pfizer, with an 89% efficacy rate among unvaccinated people. 3/
Imagine the idea of a rapid test to determine illness followed up by a quick prescription of an effective drug. It is a powerful combination and would make a good to our growing arsenal of tools. 4/
And it’s a vision we can expect to become a reality in 2022 as we get more low cost rapid tests & the millions of courses of treatments the government purchased are produced. 5/
Even when these new drugs are available, we still will need better ones.

There are questions as to the way the drug binds to the cells to stop the virus from multiplying & whether that will be something that can the virus can grow resistant to over time. 6/
No matter. New solutions will open up smaller problems to be solved. 7/
What’s needed now more than ever is an active aggressive FDA to work on this rapid development. The nominee @califf001 is the right person hands down.

Only problem is the word “nominee.” Congress should break land speed records to approve him. 8/
Step by step scientists gain on it.

The virus grows exponentially. But so does science. /end

• • •

Missing some Tweet in this thread? You can try to force a refresh

Keep Current with Andy Slavitt 🇺🇸💉

Andy Slavitt 🇺🇸💉 Profile picture

Stay in touch and get notified when new unrolls are available from this author!

Read all threads

This Thread may be Removed Anytime!


Twitter may remove this content at anytime! Save it as PDF for later use!

Try unrolling a thread yourself!

how to unroll video
  1. Follow @ThreadReaderApp to mention us!

  2. From a Twitter thread mention us with a keyword "unroll"
@threadreaderapp unroll

Practice here first or read more on our help page!

More from @ASlavitt

2 Dec
COVID Update: I’ve been calling around to get a sense of the extent of spread of Omicron in the US.

Will report what I’ve heard and some very strong steps from President Biden to minimize spread. 1/
Two labs, one in the East Coast and one in the West Coast are investigating what earlier in the week was only 6 reported cases.

But as someone says, the absence of proof isn’t the same as proof of absence. So… 2/
The most telling conversation I had was with a state which sequenced every positive case from the last 6 weeks. They found no Omicron cases. 3/
Read 16 tweets
30 Nov
COVID Update: Given the events of the last few days, I got a rundown of what the US has been doing in Africa over the last few months. 1/
So far the US has sent 93 million vaccines to Africa, 13 million to Southern Africa, and 8 million to South Africa. More is available to S Africa when they need.

(The US has sent 275 million free doses outside the country total & are at a clip of 3 million/day.) 2/
US agencies providing support in Africa include PEPFAR, NIH, CDC, and USAID. 3/
Read 4 tweets
29 Nov
COVID Update: What should we consider doing differently with Omicron? 1/
1. Plan ahead.

Political leaders, business leaders & the rest of us should consider acting in some areas even before the facts are known for certain.

So what should be assumed about Omicron? 2/
2. Operate with informed but conservative assumptions until we know more.

Making assumptions is always hazardous. So what assumptions should we make until we learn more?
Read 17 tweets
28 Nov
COVID Update: Many things reported as known about Omicron that are still questions or at best hunches. From my communications w scientists/officials today.

Here are key questions & my shot at current state answers. 1/
Is Omicron able to evade the current vaccine?

Unknown. The profile and amount of mutations leads to the assumption that it likely does at least in part. That is not the real world but first looks at early real world data seem to support that it does evade to some extent. 2/
What we will look for is reduction of prevention of severe disease and moderate. The early pieces of data show more decline in moderate or mild disease. Some but less in severe.

It appears certain that being vaccinated improves your odds even if there is some degradation. 3/
Read 15 tweets
27 Nov
COVID UPDATE: The latest on Omicron from a few brief conversations with scientists plus 24 hours of development.

A little of what’s known & what’s speculated. 1/
For a summary as of yesterday, here is my thread. Please note that while the first case was detected in Botswana— but unlike the thread says— it is still not clear where the first case originated. 2/
South Africa has become a hot spot but cases are popping up now in Belgium, the UK, and Hong Kong. It’s a safe bet that there are cases now throughout the world. 3/
Read 19 tweets
26 Nov
COVID Update: A new variant in southern Africa has emerged & is grabbing global concern.

What do we know about it? Should we be worried? 1/
In situations like this, it is useful to separate into what is known with good certainty, what is unknown, and what is being speculated.

Then I will address the “what if…” question. 2/

B.1.1.529 (it will be given a Greek alphabet name today) originated in South Africa and Botswana and cases have been recorded among travelers in Belgium, Hong Kong, and Israel. 3/
Read 22 tweets

Did Thread Reader help you today?

Support us! We are indie developers!

This site is made by just two indie developers on a laptop doing marketing, support and development! Read more about the story.

Become a Premium Member ($3/month or $30/year) and get exclusive features!

Become Premium

Too expensive? Make a small donation by buying us coffee ($5) or help with server cost ($10)

Donate via Paypal

Or Donate anonymously using crypto!


0xfe58350B80634f60Fa6Dc149a72b4DFbc17D341E copy


3ATGMxNzCUFzxpMCHL5sWSt4DVtS8UqXpi copy

Thank you for your support!

Follow Us on Twitter!