Bill Gates says Trump’s coronavirus treatment won’t work for everyone, shouldn’t be called a ‘cure’

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Microsoft co-founder and billionaire philanthropist Bill Gates said on Sunday that the Regeneron antibody cocktail administered to President Trump to treat a case of COVID-19 should not be called a “cure.”

“The word ‘cure’ is inappropriate because it doesn’t work for everyone,” Gates told “Meet the Press” on NBC. “But yes, of all the therapies, this is the most promising. ”

Although an effective vaccine is an ultimate goal in ending the pandemic, Gates noted that monoclonal antibodies allow treatment that does not require admission to a high percentage of the population.

“With monoclonal antibodies, it’s only after someone tests positive, has symptoms, and is old enough to be at risk,” Gates said. “It is the target of this therapy. ”

He added that while monoclonal antibody treatments can be approved for emergency authorization for use in a timely manner, they will “save more lives than the vaccine will”, especially if given in low doses. .

“The president got eight grams and we’re testing products that are weaker than 0.7 grams and 0.3 grams,” Gates said. “Of course that changes the cost and the capacity a lot, but it hasn’t been proven at this point either, but it’s important that we explore. ”

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Gates is optimistic that antibody treatments, including those developed by Regeneron and Eli Lilly, could potentially gain emergency use clearance in the coming months, but warned of the President’s recent push for that regulators speed up the approval schedule.

“You don’t want politicians to say something has to be approved because it’s wrong to think that political pressure has to be appropriate in these cases,” he said.

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Regarding vaccines, Gates said the majority of vaccines will likely receive emergency use authorizations early next year, with the Pfizer and BioNTech vaccine potentially being an exception with possible authorization by the next year. end of this year.

“Phase three data is key, especially for safety, making sure we don’t see side effects. So the tool is increasing, and in the first half of the year those volumes will reach the point where we’re really going to ask the Americans, you know, to go ahead, ”Gates said. “The efficiency could vary, you know, be as low as 50% or as high as 80 [percent] or 90% and, different from vaccines, some will fail completely and others will reach a very high bar. But we don’t know yet. ”

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He added that almost all vaccines will likely require two injections, with the potential exception of Johnson and Johnson, who are currently conducting phase three trials of their vaccine candidate involving a single dose.

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Despite his disagreement with the United States’ response to the pandemic, Gates believes there is still hope to turn the tide and the focus should be less on assessing blame and getting vouchers. diagnostics.

“Don’t say the FDA is under pressure to do something to have its integrity clearly defined,” Gates added. “And then, you know, on the vaccine front, get it out to everyone with the right message, including making it known to the world so that the disease doesn’t come back to our country all the time.

He believes the only way to get back to normal is to have a vaccine that is “super effective and a lot of people take” that can be distributed around the world to eliminate the disease globally.

Gates’ comments come as the coronavirus has passed 37 million cases worldwide, with more than 7.7 million cases affecting the United States alone. According to Johns Hopkins University, there are over one million related deaths worldwide, with the United States accounting for more than 214,000.

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