You can’t learn a lot from a COVID-19 patient – even when the patient is President Trump


On October 8, the efficacy of Remedisvir, a major milestone in what we know about experimental antiviral medication, was the first therapy drug in the United States to issue an emergency use authority for COVID-19. On that day, the results of a major medical trial – double-blind, placebo-controlled and involving more than 1,000 patients – were eventually published in the New England Journal of Medicine. The study found that the drug actually seems to reduce the number of days it takes to recover from COVID-19, and it also had less severe side effects than placebo controls. However, researchers also showed that the drug was not a game-changer at all. For example, it did not reduce mortality. Overall, however, the study was good news.

A day earlier, a 74-year-old COVID-19 patient who had taken Remedisvir returned to work in his regular office. That bit was probably good personal news for a man, but if you want to find out how well remedisvir works – and what it means for you, if you were to get coronovirus – then compare the preceding cases I have a lot of Even if that man is the leader of the free world.

He may have taken a combination of experimental drugs, but President Trump’s hospital stay was not an experiment. We have not learned anything about COVID-19 or its remedies as to what has happened to him. This is true whether you are tempted to look at his experience for evidence that COVID-19 is not a deal, or if you are hunting Twitter for evidence that the mental state of the drugs he is taking Is having an external effect. .

From the moment the president inhaled the virus particles, his illness not only posed a physical risk to himself, but also posed a moral threat to a country to give concrete answers about a contagious disease, which seven months Has become completely difficult to reduce. COVID-19 has given us marginal places one after the other. It is almost impossible to chart the likely course of the pandemic, stop the spread of the virus, and even count the number of Americans who have died without strings and without merit. So when the President of the United States became one of the infected, it seemed that there was, at least, an opportunity to make a small offer of clarity – to pin down one thing in public conversation on coronoviruses and let everyone in order to obtain. One page about the severity of the disease and its risks.

but that did not happen.

Understanding a person’s case was never going to help us fully understand the disease, but we can do so. The White House lacks transparency on what exactly has happened – and when – the country has failed to agree on what actually happened. It is still unclear whether the president tested positive for the first time. There appears to have been no trace of the president’s contacts who may have contracted the virus; If any, it is left to the media and private citizens. It is hard to know how sick he really was of the blatant public statements – that his doctor admitted that they were intentionally positive and encouraging.

Trump is not the first president to have information about his physical health. (However, one would think that there is little reason to be transparent when the disease in question is contagious. President Kennedy was not spreading Edison’s disease around the Rose Garden.) In this case, however, there is a lack of clarity from White. The house has become entangled with a lack of clarity about the virus. If you were skeptical about whether the president tested negative before his first post-hospitalization rally, wait until you know exactly the right question to ask.

Partly, though, the problem with hoping for Trump’s disease to clear COVID-19’s muddy waters is to cut through anyone’s illness. This is just how science works. As CEO of Regeneron – the creator of experimental antibodies, Trump also put it on Face the Nation last weekend: “The President’s case is a case, and what we call a case report, and this is evidence that What’s happening, but it’s the weakest evidence you can find. ”

This evidence is weak because medical science does not work in the same way as our system of government – you cannot just choose individuals to represent the biology of society. Our bodies are slightly different. Our situation is slightly different. If a patient takes the drug and recovers, how do you tell if the drug actually works, or have you tried it on someone who will be cured anyway. How can you tell if the drug is safe, or is the patient more tolerant of its effects than the average person?

The answer is that you run tests repeatedly, over and over. And you make sure that some of them are told that they have received the drug, even if they really do not, so we can differentiate between the benefits of the drug and the power of our own body under the suggestion . This is why science weeds out outsiders and finds out, as best it can, whether a drug actually works. It is not perfect, but it is better than the alternative. This research is not about a strong leader, it is about the community.

But the President of the United States is the end result in a way. Even among older whites, he is not typical. He is very rich. He has better healthcare available. He has a handler and an on-call physician and a literal hospital suit made just for him. And this particular president is probably not all that representative – in nature, habits, and life history – even your average old white male president. If he were, he probably would not have contracted the virus. What happens to him is never going to tell us what a run-way is likely to look like with COVID-19. What happens to him is never going to tell us if a drug works. What happens with that is not going to tell us about the side effects of Remedisvir, Regeneron antibody cocktail or dexamethasone.

And all of this is especially true when we are talking about a virus that appears to be dropped at random through a family – killing some, hospitalizing others and Hardly registering as a disease with others.

No politician can be our figurehead. Demagoguery does not work for the study of infectious disease.

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