Today's Topline - 5/14/20

Thursday, May 14, 2020

Source: MedTech Association

Good Thursday morning:

Welcome to the Pogo edition of Today’s Topline.  In his article, The Pandemic Broke America, Axios reporter Nicholas Johnston writes that America's ongoing cultural wars over everything have weakened our ability to respond to the coronavirus pandemic and concludes “we may be our worst enemy.”  Specifically, he notes:

“The response is being hobbled by the same trends that have impacted so much of our lives: growing income inequality, the rise of misinformation, lack of trust in institutions, the rural/urban divide and and hyper-partisanship. We're not even seeing the same threat from the virus. Democrats are far more likely than Republicans to be worried about getting seriously ill, while Republicans — including the president — are more likely to think the death counts are too high.”

“The bottom line: An existential threat — like war or natural disaster — usually brings people together to set a course of action in response. Somehow, we've let this one drive us apart.”

In far more hopeful news, MedTech member Regeneron Pharmaceuticals announced plans to test an antibody cocktail to treat the coronavirus. The experimental treatment uses antibodies to neutralize the coronavirus’s ability to reproduce by blocking the virus’s spike protein.  According to Leonard Schleifer, Regeneron’s CEO, “for the virus to work, it has to hijack your cells, and to hijack your cells it has to get inside your cells, and to get inside your cells, it uses this spike literally to attach to the outside of your cell and then tunnel its way into your cell. We literally surround this spike so that the virus cannot get into your cells, and it renders it harmless.”

One of the main concerns is meeting global demand. Schleifer says this type of drug wouldn’t be able to treat hundreds of millions of people in the way a vaccine could. “It'll have to be a lot more limited,” he says. “You might be able to treat millions of people, and you might want to treat the most high-risk people or the people who are actually sick, but we won't be able to use it broadly. You could think of this in that respect as sort of a bridge to, hopefully, a successful vaccine.”

We salute Regeneron for this breakthrough approach.

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