Last week, Arizona Governor Doug Ducey proudly announced that COVID-19 vaccinations will be available to healthcare workers and first responders. However, the vaccination has its critics, and physicians and residents are wondering why early intervention and more therapeutics such as RLF-100 are not available.
One physician, Dr. Jane Orient, Executive Director of Association of American Physicians and Surgeons, questions why we are prioritizing the newly developed vaccine over preventative measures.
In an interview on KFYI’s James T. Harris show, Dr. Orient, who practices Internal Medicine in Tucson, and is a clinical lecturer at the University of Arizona College of Medicine, stated that “patients who are going to the hospital with COVID, almost none of them have had any attempt at outpatient treatment.”
“Doctors are being discouraged from doing things that might help keep people out of the hospitals or save them from a very horrible two-week illness, “explained Dr. Orient. “Early use of steroid treatments, such as those used for asthma, seem to be helping.”
Orient also recommended the use of Vitamin D and Zinc as a means of staving off COVID-19.
As for the vaccine, Orient has serious concerns and believes there has been an “inadequate period of testing in regard to the new COVID vaccine.”
“The spike proteins that are on the virus have certain similarities to proteins that your body needs to make a placenta. So, if we make women of childbearing age immune to spike proteins are we also causing them to destroy something that would enable them to have a baby?” asked Orient referring to the vaccine.
For young people there is a recovery rate of nearly 99.9 percent, which leaves Dr. Orient questioning whether the benefits outweigh the risks. She argues that there are still too many unanswered questions such as how long the immunity will last and whether or not the vaccine prevents someone from transmitting the virus to others.
Therapeutics seem to be working
Dr. Jacobo Elgozy, a southern Florida doctor, ended up in critical condition after contracting COVID-19 and made a remarkable recovery. He says he is grateful to be alive and gives credit in a large part to a new drug, RLF-100 (aviptadil), which has shown great promise in clinical trials.
In an interview with WSVN 7News, Dr. Elgozy told of his experience with the virus.
According to the report, “for the first seven months of the pandemic, the 47-year-old was the one taking care of patients at Mount Sinai Medical Center in Miami Beach. Then he became infected with the virus.”
“My lungs were white-out, completely gone, non-functional,” explained Dr. Elgozy to WSVN 7News.
“The journey that I had was really rough, and many times I had my ups and downs.” His health had deteriorated to the point where his physician believed he might need a lung transplant, possibly both lungs.
Fortunately, his doctor decided to try something different; RLF-100 (aviptadil), described as a “game changing drug.”
Aviptadil has shown “promising results” according to NeuroRX CEO, Dr. Jonathan Javitt, who claims “with the drug, we saw a 70 percent or greater survival rate.”
“In a matter of two weeks plus, I recovered like this,” Elgozy told WSVN 7News, as he snapped his fingers. “My lungs started responding like there was no tomorrow. Everybody thinks it was related to RLF-100 that was given to me, that protected my lungs from any injury or scarring.”
In August 2020, Bill Hall fought to have RLF-100 administered to his wife Gabriella, who was suffering from a bad case of COVID-19. After his desperate request was refused by her physician, Hall turned to a patient advocate and even went to Rep. Andy Biggs. Nothing they could say or do won Gabriella the right to try.
Despite their best efforts to save Gabriella, she passed away on August 21, 2020.
According to the Arizona Department of Health Services, “the federal government is allocating a particular therapeutic to the state, as is the case with bamlanivibab, ADHS works to direct it to the right places in AZ.”
“Based on an updated dataset from the trial reviewed on October 26, no additional COVID-19 patients in this hospitalized setting will receive bamlanivimab,” according to Eli Lilly Pharmaceuticals. “This recommendation was based on trial data suggesting that bamlanivimab is unlikely to help hospitalized COVID-19 patients recover from this advanced stage of their disease. In this updated dataset, differences in safety outcomes between the groups were not significant.”
Lilly submitted a request for bamlanivimabto be used “for the treatment of recently diagnosed mild to moderate COVID-19 illness in high-risk patients to the U.S. FDA in early October. While there was insufficient evidence that bamlanivimab improved clinical outcomes when added to other treatments in hospitalized patients with COVID-19, we remain confident based on data from Lilly’s BLAZE-1 study that bamlanivimab monotherapy may prevent progression of disease for those earlier in the course of COVID-19.”
If successful, some say, the drug would be useful for those patients who are currently being denied early intervention and ultimately forced into hospitals.