Friday, March 27, 2020

Kung Flu - The End Is In Sight

Getting past all the bloviating going on right now, here's what we know.

If you show any symptoms of the Kung Flu, a 5-day regimen of Hydroxychloroquine, azithromycin*, and maybe a zinc supplement will erase the symptoms and put you back in circulation. Scott Adams is referring to this pill combo as the Trump Pills in no small part to avoid having to remember the rather lengthy names involved.

At the same time, ventilators for the most severely affected are in short supply although American ingenuity has trotted out several cheap and easy to make versions. There are a couple of problems with this, first of all being the FDA who won't approve of the manufacture or sale of a medical devise without a long and detailed study for safety and efficacy which typically runs about 2 years if you include the review process. This means that anyone needing one of these ventilators will be long dead before they are allowed to use one, and by the way, the survival rate for people reduced to using a ventilator seems to be about 5% so you'd probably be dead soon enough even if you got one. To me this suggests that ventilators are probably the wrong tree to be sniffing up.

Doctors can prescribe pretty much anything for any purpose as long as the rewards outweigh the risks. As of right now, the evidence suggests that the Trump Pills (O.K. I hate spelling all that out even with cut-and-paste) are a sovereign solution to the problem, and side effects are well known and so insignificant that the stuff is sold over the counter in areas where Malaria is more common than the common cold. So how many do we need, and where are they?

Statistics from the Diamond Princess petri dish suggest that with little isolation, about 25% of an exposed population will catch the disease. The U.S. population is 330M give or take a few. That means we would have 82.5M people developing symptoms and needing treatment. The standard regimen so far has been to prescribe 200mg HOCQ and one of the others for 6 days to be cautious. HOCQ seems to come in 100mg tablets, so 12 pills times 6 days, times 82.5M is 990M pills. That's a lot of pills for something that heretofore has not been all that commonly used.

HOCQ is a synthetic chemical which means you need some precursor chemicals, and at minimum likely the major components of a brewery to mix and cook them. There are 2 companies in the U.S. that are currently making the stuff and I seriously doubt that they have the capacity to quickly crank out half a billion pills each in the next 2 weeks so there's the bottleneck as of today. India has a large population, is in the earths Malaria belt, and so uses a lot of the stuff. They have politely informed us that notwithstanding the prospect of someone making a LOT of money in a hurry, they will not be shipping us 100,000 Kg of it. At least not right away.

A number of companies worldwide make the HOCQ for human consumption. The link is to a list. AMRI company in the U.S. is a maker of the HOCQ. I have emailed them as to how hard the process is compared,say, to brewing beer. When I hear back from them, I'll add the answer.

*The antibiotic, azithromycin, seems to be related to penicillin so some people will have to use something else. The application in this case is pretty generic as the virus renders the body unable to deal with common bacteria which then take advantage of the break and attack with little or no resistance. It looks at this point like pretty much any antibiotic suitable for use against airborne bacterial infection would do the job. Antibiotics we can find.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

You should abbreviate Trump Pills at TP, except then they'll be out of stock everywhere!