Sunday, April 19, 2020

Fauci the Hypocrite. Do NIAID royalties cloud his thinking?

Dr. Tony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) does well.  According to the NY Times,

"He is among the most highly paid federal employees, earning about $400,000 a year, more than the vice president or the chief justice of the United States."

Based on reporting by the Associated Press and British Medical Journal, in addition to his salary, he has patented IL2 as a treatment for AIDS, while directing NIAID.  He receives an unknown amount of royalties for that, which according to NIH rules may reach a maximum of $150,000 per year.  Queried about this, he said he gives the money to charity.

I mention Fauci and royalties because his institute collects royalties on a number of patents. NIAID has a patent for therapeutic drug products to treat MERS, and  seeks collaborators for commercial development. NIAID collaborated on a vaccine for MERS. And NIAID developed the use of a previously licensed, two drug combination to treat Middle East Respiratory Syndrome, or MERS.  MERS is caused by a deadly coronavirus, a cousin to SARS-CoV-2.

In an interview with USA Today seven years ago, Fauci discussed MERS, which was causing an outbreak in Qatar and Saudi Arabia with over 30% mortality.  Fauci sang an entirely different song than he is singing now about hydroxychloroquine.  Back then, he suggested using a licensed and available drug combination to treat MERS, even though the treatment had not gone through definitive trials. (And even though the treatment is truly dangerous, see below.) Might this be because his institute had discovered the MERS treatment he touted, and stood to benefit, while hydroxychloroquine, at a cost of about $1.00 for a full course of treatment, might save lives but would make nobody rich?

Scientists found that a combination of the antiviral drugs ribavirin and interferon-alpha 2b can stop the virus from reproducing in lab-grown cells, says lead author Darryl Falzarano of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease (NIAID)'s lab in Hamilton, Mont.

That's particularly encouraging, because these drugs, now used to treat hepatitis C, are widely available, says Anthony Fauci, director of the infectious-disease institute, which financed the research.

"We don't have to start designing new drugs," a process that takes years, Fauci says. "The next time someone comes into an emergency room in Qatar or Saudi Arabia, you would have drugs that are readily available. And at least you would have some data."

Even though the treatment hasn't gone through definitive trials, Fauci says, "if I were a physician in a hospital and someone were dying, rather than do nothing, you can see if these work."

But what makes him even more of a hypocrite is that the drug combination he recommended using is known to be exceptionally dangerous.  It contains a Black Box warning, and its FDA label says the following:

"Alpha interferons, including PEG-Intron, cause or aggravate fatal or life-threatening neuropsychiatric, autoimmune, ischemic, and infectious disorders. Patients should be monitored closely with periodic clinical and laboratory evaluations. Patients with persistently severe or worsening signs or symptoms of these conditions should be withdrawn from therapy. In many but not all cases these disorders resolve after stopping PEG-Intron therapy. See WARNINGSADVERSE REACTIONS.

Use with Ribavirin. Ribavirin may cause birth defects and/or death of the unborn child. Extreme care must be taken to avoid pregnancy in female patients and in female partners of male patients. Ribavirin causes hemolytic anemia. The anemia associated with REBETOL therapy may result in a worsening of cardiac disease. Ribavirin is genotoxic and mutagenic and should be considered a potential carcinogen. (See REBETOL package insert for additional information and other warnings)."

Fauci's NIH colleagues provided this warning regarding the drug combination Fauci thought should be used in the absence of clinical trials, in a 2006 NEJM review:

"Side effects of peginterferon and ribavirin affect virtually all patients who receive treatment. The most common side effect of ribavirin is hemolysis, and anemia is the major reason for dose reduction. The stress of the sudden onset of anemia can induce myocardial infarction in persons with preexisting coronary artery disease or stroke in those with cerebrovascular disease. Ribavirin is also teratogenic, and strict adherence to an effective means of birth control is mandatory for both women and men who receive this drug. Serious side effects of combination therapy occur in 1 to 2% of patients, and permanent injury and death can occur. 

Yet Fauci and his media sycophants continue to claim hydroxychloroquine is inappropriate to use for Covid-19, while 40,000 Americans have already died from the disease and potentially millions of lives are at stake.


Chris Thompson said...

Well done.

Anonymous said...

DeJavu. He was lethal too on AIDS.

Bilbo said...

Hi Dr. Nass,

I have been reading your blog ever since watching Plandemic 2. I certainly have no desire to defend Fauci. However, it is not clear to me how the use of ribavirin and interferon-alpha 2b to treat MERS would have been of benefit to NIAID or Fauci? Neither one of the drugs seems to have been under patent at the time. Would the benefit have been merely additional fame and reputation?

Meryl Nass, M.D. said...

My understanding is that NIAID patented the combination for this specific (new) indication. Had it been widely used, they may have been able to collect royalties.

Today MANY patents are issued for using someone else's drug for new applications.

Dana DeLuca said...

it is not clear to me how the use of ribavirin and interferon-alpha 2b to treat MERS has anything to do with the use of hydroxychloroquine to treat COVID. Attribution as to why the doctor would be against one and not he against the other here is speculated to be a profit motive.
The only thing n common between those two treatments is that both can be dangerous and neither has been through proper clinical trials. But an infinite number of things have not been through clinical trials making their risks as treatments unknown. Would recommending against one of those unknown treatments all be seen as being from a profit motive? It's not possible to say if the risk of one is more or less dangerous than another.