As we receive the second Monday of good news on an end in sight on COVID even as colder weather is upon us, there is good reason to be hopeful of containing the virus.
Trump Cut the Red Tape for Vaccine Approval
Along with credit to private drug investment and innovation, the Trump administration deserves much praise for speeding up government vaccine approvals by cutting bureaucratic red tape, writes the WSJ.
The Administration pushed reforms in the Food and Drug Administration’s bureaucratic and risk-averse culture, even if it didn’t always succeed. Former FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb put a particular priority on speeding up drug approvals. New generic approvals increased to 107 last year, from 73 in 2016.
The Trump FDA’s COVID innovation has been providing real-time feedback and clear guidance to drug and vaccine makers about its expectations. This has helped therapies and vaccines advance and cut Phase 3 trials from three years to a few months. These reforms are one of the success stories of the federal COVID response. But there’s a serious risk that the Biden team will default to their instincts and re-impose a culture of bureaucratic control that restricts new medical advances.
Home CORONAVIRUS Self Test Authorized
Also reported last night, the Food and Drug Administration issued an emergency use authorization for the Lucira COVID-19 All-In-One Test Kit, the first rapid coronavirus diagnostic self-test for home use. The test, however, is currently authorized for prescription use only.
The universal trumpeting of confirmed case counts remains an insidious problem, however, argues Homan Jenkins in the WSJ.
Consider a few numbers: 80% of cases are mild or asymptomatic. They run their course in 15 days. Transmission is believed to require 15 minutes of contact within 6 feet.
Put these numbers together, and if infections were really only 11 million in the U.S. since the epidemic began eight months ago, you’d be crazy to worry about COVID. Your implied chances of catching it from a random encounter would be nil.