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President Trump gave another briefing on the handling of the COVID-19 coronavirus (which he very pointedly called the “Chinese virus” to the reporters’ faces, after remarking how nice it was to have fewer of them there, and at a “social distance” from him):

https://youtu.be/7Q2pj_tOJ0k

Here’s a transcript:

https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefings-statements/remarks-president-trump-vice-president-pence-members-coronavirus-task-force-press-briefing-6/

And here are some of the highlights, including his decision to invoke the Defense Production Act of 1950, giving him war President-like powers to direct the fight, just in case it’s needed. Also, he announced that the FDA will make experimental drugs available to COVID-19 patients, as well as the long-established malaria drug chloroquine, which has shown effectiveness in early studies (see my article in more depth elsewhere in the newsletter/MikeHuckabee.com website.)

https://www.foxnews.com/politics/trump-fda-experimental-drugs-coronavirus

One of the good developments we might see longterm from this crisis (aside from bringing our drug manufacturing back from China) is that it’s demonstrated how many federal regulations don’t “protect” the public so much as create extra costs, red tape and pointless delays. For instance, it’s good that the FDA demands stringent testing of drugs. But when it’s a drug that’s needed right away that offers even a chance at life to a terminal patient, you aren’t helping by refusing them, then later on saying, “The good news is that the drug is now proven safe and effective! In fact, it’s so safe and effective that if we’d let you try it a year ago, you might still be alive!”

On a personal note, one of my favorite highlights was watching the liberal reporters squirm when a reporter for the conservative OAN news channel asked Trump why so many media members were so eager to attack him that they would be willing to team up with the communist Chinese government to repeat their phony narrative that he’s a racist for saying the virus came from China. Of course, liberal sites absolutely roasted the reporter for daring to say that. Guess they don't know what we're all already saying about them. I'd file that question that under, “Obviously True Things You Aren’t Allowed To Say, But Nobody Ever Asked Me If You Shouldn’t Be Allowed To Say Them.”

https://pjmedia.com/trending/watch-lefty-reporters-squirm-as-journalist-asks-trump-why-media-echo-chinese-communist-propaganda/

On that subject, here’s the latest article from the hilariously blunt Kurt Schichter, and it’s about the media siding with communist China and a virus rather than with Trump and the American people. He usually doesn’t pull any punches, but this time, he pounds his opponent into the canvas and delivers a rhetorical kick in the groin for good measure.

https://townhall.com/columnists/kurtschlichter/2020/03/19/the-media-is-even-more-garbage-than-usual-n2565172

So, their pretense for an investigation was all fake. And now, for the “coup de gras,” we find that the Justice Department can’t even make a case against the Russian “bot farms” they made a great show of charging with crimes. All charges were dropped with prejudice (that means they can’t ever be brought up again) on Monday. Robert Mueller, Rod Rosenstein, Andrew Weissmann and the rest can thank the coronavirus for keeping this embarrassment out of the news.

Rosenstein was the one who announced the indictments in February of 2018, with great fanfare. The media, predictably, went crazy: Wow, so there really were RUSSIANS trying to influence our election! And one of them was an acquaintance of Vladimir Putin! And the Russians were trying to help Trump! Wow, the Trump campaign must have been working with Russians! It was quite a show.


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But our Justice Department never dreamed those Russians would show up to fight the charges in our courts. It was assumed they’d just ignore the whole thing and let the DOJ use the charges against them to further the “Russia” narrative. Rosenstein and his colleagues never dreamed that one Russian company would actually fight back.

Concord Management and Consulting, LLC, called their bluff. They also called for...discovery. Lots of discovery. So the Mueller attorneys had to fight motion after motion, argue for delays, and protest giving “classified” information to Russians. Delightful.

Concord attorney Robert Barnes tweeted, “The only case #Mueller brought to prove ‘Russian interference’ w/any defense is now being dismissed by DOJ [because] prosecutors knew they couldn’t win at trial. Repeat: the DOJ could not find a single case they could successfully prosecute to prove any act of ‘Russian interference.’”

At the link is a piece by Victoria Taft that includes the ten-page motion to dismiss the charges against Concord. It took ten pages to say, “Never mind.”

The phony “Russia” investigation into the Trump campaign is really over now, an absolute fiasco, and the one laughing the hardest is probably Vladimir Putin. For three years, Trump’s enemies wrecked the nation’s confidence in its institutions and “meddled” with a presidency more than Putin ever could have. And they hindered us from dealing with more important things. Like China.

https://pjmedia.com/trending/first-no-collusion-now-no-actual-russians-in-muellers-disastrous-russian-collusion-illusion/

Since pharmaceutical attorney Gregory Rigano appeared on FOX NEWS, others (real MDs) have come forward with more information on recent studies of hydrochloroquine, a newer version of the commonly used antimalarial drug chloroquine, and also remdesivir, which was created to fight the ebola virus. The French study referenced by Rigano is real, and there’s one out of Australia and another out of China.

Rigano had called on President Trump to cut as much red tape as possible to hasten the approval process on new therapies. And on Thursday, the President did just that, calling on the FDA to “eliminate outdated rules and bureaucracy so this work can proceed rapidly, quickly, and I mean...fast.”

He means...FAST. And all the other words that mean fast.


RELATED READING: Is it a cure? Pharmaceutical attorney pushes for off-label use of hydroxychloroquine


"We have to remove every barrier,” the President said, “and they’ve done that, to get to the rapid deployment of safe, effective treatments.”

According to Tennessee Republican Rep. Mark Green, a former Army flight surgeon who appeared with Shannon Bream on FOX NEWS Thursday night, the French study touted by Rigano earlier this week showed that when mixed in a “cocktail” with the antibiotic azithromycin (the familiar “Z-pack” often given to patients who have bronchitis and/or bacterial pneumonia), hydroxychloroquine can completely clear COVID-19 --- it happened in all patients who were in the study --- in as little as three days. The sample size in the study he referenced was small, Green said, “so it’s kind of hard to extrapolate...to the whole population, but it’s very promising. One hundred percent of the virus gone in six days.”

He said that in the French study, hydroxychloroquine and azithromax were tested against hydroxychloroquine alone and also against a control group, and the hydroxychloroquine-alone patients did better than the control group, but the patients who did best were the ones who had received both chloroquine and azithromax. The anti-inflammatory effect of the antibiotic helps not only with bacterial infections but also with the symptoms of viral illness.

All of these drugs are already FDA approved for other uses and would just need to be manufactured in large quantities. (Please don’t tell me that all the manufacturing is currently being done in China!) Hydroxychloroquine is a generic [cheap] drug, Green said, “so the question will be, who’s going to stand up and manufacture it?” In this case, surely some American company would take that on. If there’s no financial incentive, our government might have to do some subsidizing to get this going NOW. Goodness knows, that’s a more productive use of funds than just passing out money to everyone. We need to defeat this virus so people can recover economically by getting back to work.

"I think that the FDA has joined forces in eliminating red tape to ensure that that product could be available to physicians to prescribe to their patients,” said White House coronavirus coordinator Dr. Debbie Birx on Thursday. “But we want to be able to study at the same time --- not limit use but actually study it at the same time to see if it does have he impact that others have reported.”

In other words, the FDA wants to be able to collect data on all patients receiving treatment with these drugs so they can scientifically answer questions of safety and effectiveness. But, as Rep. Green pointed out, a physician doesn’t have to wait for a study –- the doctor can write prescriptions right now for hydroxychloroquine (off-label use) and azithromax, with no restrictions. As I mentioned yesterday, the FDA doesn’t really have a problem with off-label use once a drug has been approved.

"[Hydroxychloroquine] is a drug that we’ve had around for decades,” Dr. Birx said. “So, it’s a pretty straightforward drug to make; there’s a lot of companies who already make it because it’s very important in our malaria fights around the world. And so, we have [the] drug available, and we really just have to see, does it actually work? We know it’s probably safe --- I think the question really is, does it have a therapeutic effect, and that’s going to be studied. It looks promising. We just want to make sure that at the same time that we’re giving this option to physicians, that we’re actually studying its impact.”

You know, if researchers and bureaucrats think it’s safe but want to see if it works, doctors can really help them with that by PRESCRIBING IT, especially for those who are very sick and going downhill.

Even with the President cutting red tape, the FDA is still a bureaucracy and moves slowly. Remdesivir, another antiviral, hasn’t yet completed the approval process, according to Rep. Green, but it’s already in Phase III studies with the FDA, so if it makes it, perhaps it will be available fairly soon.

My researchers turned up something very interesting: a study that compared two maps: one showing the pattern of COVID-19 infection and the other showing malaria. In countries where malaria flourishes, people often take antimalarial drugs such as chloroquine routinely as a preventative, and that may be why those those countries aren’t reporting COVID-19 cases. “This is amazing...” said Dr. Roy Spencer on Facebook. “In all my years of data analysis I have never seen such a stark and strong relationship: Countries with malaria basically have no COVID-19 cases (at least not yet).”

We’re not sure if there’s anything to this, but it certainly is consistent with the theory that antimalarial drugs also fight this coronavirus. Here are the two maps:

https://docs.google.com/document/d/12YDytbAsZaruGlhFO7eTTgxSH_BuxJtwFmbhqpkPPSk/mobilebasic?fbclid=IwAR2wXhG5woobpV5DAuHxnf7YOxalQiCkPMX-rUL2z6SIa0AJGovbJ9ATq7A

Our commentary on Gregory Rigano and his claims about hydroxychloroquine drew letters expressing a variety of points of view. Most fell into the “it’s worth a try!” catgegory. Some readers shared anecdotal evidence that the drug is safe, but a few others noted that it can cause retinal problems and other side effects, particularly serious among those with inflammatory disease such as rheumatoid arthritis. That’s why we can’t just hand out pills. They have to be carefully prescribed by a physician who knows the patient’s condition and medical history and who will be closely monitoring the effects, both intended and unintended. But that should be the case with every prescribed medication.


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Antimalarial drugs are very commonly used in other parts of the world –- if you’ve traveled abroad to India or Africa, you likely have taken them –- and might be completely harmless for most people, but there’s hardly any drug that is safe for everyone. There’s also the matter of how much to take for this particular illness, when to take it, how often and for how long. A medication that might be fine at a low dose or in the short term to treat or head off coronavirus might be harmful if taken at a high dose or for months at a time. And, of course, there might be bad interactions with other medications a patient is already taking. That’s why the FDA wants as much data as it can get. If we start giving these medications to patients, we’re essentially initiating a very large-scale human trial. But that appears to be just what we need to do.

Today's Edition

 

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Gregory Rigano, an attorney who says he is an adviser at Stanford University Medical School, appeared on Tucker Carlson’s show Wednesday night to discuss the potential for a widely-used antimalarial drug, hydroxychloroquine, to treat the novel coronavirus. He had already appeared on Laura Ingraham’s show Monday night, where he claimed a study he’d co-authored showed that coronavirus patients who’d taken hydroxychloroquine were testing negative after six days.

On Tucker’s show, he said that President Trump, after having “cut more red tape at the FDA than any other President in history,” has the authority to green-light the use of this drug immediately against coronavirus. He said Trump has expedited drug approval before, in 2017, with a new drug for muscular dystrophy being approved after a very small clinical trial (fewer than 15 patients) that was “generally uncontrolled, in an open setting.”

Being a lawyer himself, I guess Rigano is concerned about liability if doctors prescribe the drug off-label and it causes harm. But doctors do prescribe drugs off-label quite often. The FDA takes a pretty lax attitude about that once it has approved a drug as "safe and effective."

READ MORE AND COMMENT HERE>>>

With gratitude,

Mike Huckabee


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FEATURED COMMENTARY

Landmark day

By Mike Huckabee

Wednesday was a landmark day in Washington, as the Senate passed a second, revamped bill to deal with the economic fallout from the COVID-19 coronavirus and President Trump signed it. Eight Republican Senators voted no because they say the provision requiring businesses to provide paid sick leave will bankrupt many small businesses that are already struggling to stay afloat. They will get a credit at tax time, but by then it will be too late for many of them. That’s a valid point, and one that should be quickly addressed with follow-up legislation.

https://www.foxnews.com/politics/senate-passes-houses-coronavirus-response-bill-sends-to-trump

The first bill provided $8.3 billion to beef up the health-care system, while this latest bill provides funds to help workers who lost their jobs, and families stuck at home due to illnesses, quarantines or caring for kids whose schools have closed. Trump is also seeking further funding to help the airline industry, small businesses and other sectors hammered by the pandemic shutdown. He has said that he considers this the equivalent of being a wartime President, and he will bring all the resources at his disposal to defeat this invisible enemy.

https://www.foxnews.com/politics/senate-passes-houses-coronavirus-response-bill-sends-to-trump

I’m also pleased to see that some of the unlikeliest people are finally recognizing how hard Trump has been working to deal with this crisis and praising his swift, effective leadership, despite the media’s efforts to question, demean and undermine everything he does. You might want to sit down before reading this one:

https://www.foxnews.com/politics/ilhan-omar-praises-trumps-incredible-response-to-coronavirus-pandemic

If even Ilhan Omar can acknowledge that Trump is doing a good job under near-impossible circumstances, is it too much to expect the press to at least stop pestering him with idiotic gotcha questions, like repeatedly asking whether the term “Wuhan virus” is racist or who was rumored to have referred to it as “Kung-flu”? You see, to the left, wishing the virus on the First Lady is just a joke, but calling it “Kung-flu” is an OUTRAGE!!

I think what’s happened is that they have gone so long without any real problems, having to inflate “micro-aggressions” into big honking deals to create controversy, that now that a really big, serious threat has arisen, they don’t know how to stop. They have so lost perspective that they don’t even realize how small their petty nitpicking now looks in comparison to what the President (and everyone watching) is dealing with.

They’ve shrunken into Lilliputians without realizing it, and can’t understand why we’re all looking down on them.

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I wanted to make sure you also read these comments:

It appears that this is one time when being rated “A+” may not be a good thing.

https://www.westernjournal.com/new-research-coronavirus-vulnerability-partially-determined-blood-type

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Thursday Coronavirus Fake News: No, Joe Biden, President Trump did NOT refuse to accept virus testing kits from the World Health Organization. A spokesman for the WHO told CNN that there were never any discussions about that because the US has the capacity to create its own diagnostics and never relies on the WHO for them. The assistant director for health at HHS also said the test was never offered to us, and besides, it was an unapproved research grade test that we’ve already surpassed.

https://www.westernjournal.com/spokesman-shuts-claims-left-trump-rejected-coronavirus-tests/

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The most reprehensible part of this bit of fake news is that the man pushing it, Joe Biden, has been in Washington for decades and surely knows all that, but made the false charge away. It’s bad enough that the media and lower-level politicians are trying to sow distrust in the President while he’s dealing with a pandemic that threatens millions of Americans, all for cheap political advantage. But if you’re running for President yourself, based entirely on the argument that you’re going to bring character back to the White House, then don’t try to stir up fear, division and distrust by telling unconscionable lies about the incumbent and the public's health.

Asked about Biden’s bogus claim, Trump replied, “I assume he’ll apologize.” I am not giving you advice on how to avoid catching a virus when I say: “Don’t hold your breath.”

In a related story, if you are a “journalist” who is cheering the big drop in the stock market due to the pandemic because you can falsely blame it on Trump to harm his reelection chances, then remember that the Dow has not fallen nearly so low as some of you have.

https://www.westernjournal.com/leftist-journalist-doubles-attacking-trump-stock-market-chaos-shapiro-sets-straight/

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This won’t surprise you, but the same chowderhead who was chuckling it up with Don Lemon recently over what a bunch of “credulous rubes” Trump supporters are is now using social media to wish that the First Lady would contract the coronavirus. All he proved is that not all noxious, nausea-inducing infections come in the form of viruses.

https://www.foxnews.com/media/rick-wilson-melania-trump-be-infected-coronavirus

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Reminder: Many small businesses and entrepreneurs are being hurt by all the coronavirus shutdowns. If you’d like to help your local businesses survive, remember that many of them have online stores where you can purchase products for delivery. Or you can buy gift cards from local businesses and restaurants now and use them once this is over.

Bible Verse of the Day (KJV)

"And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house."

- Acts 16:31

Did you miss reading a newsletter recently?  Go to our archive here.




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Gregory Rigano, an attorney who says he is an adviser at Stanford University Medical School, appeared on Tucker Carlson’s show Wednesday night to discuss the potential for a widely-used antimalarial drug, hydroxychloroquine, to treat the novel coronavirus. He had already appeared on Laura Ingraham’s show Monday night, where he claimed a study he’d co-authored showed that coronavirus patients who’d taken hydroxychloroquine were testing negative after six days.

On Tucker’s show, he said that President Trump, after having “cut more red tape at the FDA than any other President in history,” has the authority to green-light the use of this drug immediately against coronavirus. He said Trump has expedited drug approval before, in 2017, with a new drug for muscular dystrophy being approved after a very small clinical trial (fewer than 15 patients) that was “generally uncontrolled, in an open setting.”

Being a lawyer himself, I guess Rigano is concerned about liability if doctors prescribe the drug off-label and it causes harm. But doctors do prescribe drugs off-label quite often. The FDA takes a pretty lax attitude about that once it has approved a drug as "safe and effective."


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Understanding Unapproved Use of Approved Drugs "Off Label"

https://www.fda.gov/patients/learn-about-expanded-access-and-other-treatment-options/understanding-unapproved-use-approved-drugs-label

Rigano noted that hydroxychloroquine has been on the market and used safely for over 50 years, and said he was breaking news on the air with his announcement that “a well-controlled peer-reviewed study...showed a 100 percent cure rate against coronavirus." (He claims this makes COVID--19 only the second virus in history to be cured, after Hepatitis C.) "The study was recently accepted to the International Journal of Antimicrobial Agents,” he said. We looked that publication up, and here it is:

https://www.journals.elsevier.com/international-journal-of-antimicrobial-agents/

The journal has published other work on the issue of treating COVID-19 with this drug.

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0924857920300662

Tucker was understandably skeptical, as we all should be, but expressed gratitude. “I very much want to believe this,” he said, “and I think we need, obviously, to immediately run it down; the federal government needs to find out if this is true, because if it is, that’s the biggest news of this moment.”

It was hard to know what to think about this while watching it, as it just came out of the blue. It didn’t help that Rigano ended the interview oddly, by saying, “Please disseminate it to the scientific community immediately.” It sounded a little like, "People of Earth...take me to your leader."

What could Tucker say? It was the close of his show. “I would hope they’d—they’d be on it,” he stammered.

We looked up Rigano’s bio, and that’s where I saw that he is an attorney, not an M.D. as TV viewers might have assumed. It goes on to say, “Gregory’s experience includes advancing various pharmaceutical assets through laboratory, animal, formulation, manufacturing, clinical trials (Phase I-III), as well as commercialization.” Here’s the whole thing:

https://www.riganollc.com/attorneys/gregory-j-rigano/

There actually is a research paper with his name on it, called “An Effective Treatment for Coronavirus (COVID-19), linked to below. On the other hand, the paper concludes with a grammatically-challenged disclaimer that says in part, “The authors and/or its affiliates does not guarantee the accuracy of or the conclusions reached by this white paper, and this white paper is provided ‘as is.’ It goes on in similar fashion. That doesn’t do much to inspire confidence. It’s impossible to know right now if this is legit, and it appears that they rushed it out.

Whether this study is for real or not, I think perhaps the best attitude to take about trying this drug on the virus is that “it couldn’t hurt.” When something seems too good to be true, it usually is. Still, this is a drug that has been used safely for half a century, so why not fast-track the studies and also approve it now for off-label use to treat coronavirus and see how well it works? Given the circumstances, what have we got to lose?

https://docs.google.com/document/d/e/2PACX-1vTi-g18ftNZUMRAj2SwRPodtscFio7bJ7GdNgbJAGbdfF67WuRJB3ZsidgpidB2eocFHAVjIL-7deJ7/pub

The video from Tucker’s show can be found here:

https://starpolitical.com/report-french-doctor-reports-100-cure-rate-using-malaria-drug-to-treat-corona-virus/

After seeing a discussion on Laura Ingraham’s Monday show about existing antiviral drugs such as chloroquine, reader “Dru” wrote to ask me what I thought about the promise of these drugs to treat novel coronavirus. Now, I am not a scientist and don’t even play one on TV, but I can offer you some background. In fact, in yesterday’s Evening Edition, I linked to a story out of Australia about the good results obtained with existing antiviral drugs. Calling this treatment a “cure,” as the headline does, seems premature; however, they are ready to move on to a widespread human trial on what they call “this first wave of patients.” Here it that story if you didn’t see it last night.

https://www.thechronicle.com.au/news/cure-found-for-coronavirus-in-australia/3973564/


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Chloroquine is already widely used as an antimalarial drug and an anti-inflammatory agent, and it also has shown anti-viral activity against several other similar viruses, such as Zika. So it would certainly make sense to test it against the novel coronavirus. There’s a lot of misinformation going around online right now –- “Yes, it's a cure!!! No, it’s a scam!!!” –- but here’s a published study that might help put the issue in perspective. It was done in 2009 in response to the SARS epidemic, which showed for the first time that coronaviruses were capable of causing serious respiratory illness.

https://www.livescience.com/possible-treatments-new-coronavirus.html

Sorry, PETA; this multifaceted study involved infecting mice with viruses and looking at symptoms and survival rates of treated vs. untreated. Among other things, researchers were trying to determine when the administering of chloroquine worked better (at least IN MICE). There are other studies on antiviral drugs listed in the sidebar.

What works in mice doesn’t necessarily work in humans. I would think that under the circumstances, research could be super-fast-tracked and an existing drug such as chloroquine that is known to be safe, even FDA-approved, could be used in human trials RIGHT NOW. For all I know, this is happening. In the meantime, past results are encouraging, at least if you’re a pregnant mouse, as in this study from China on chloroquine administered for protection against microcephaly (small heads in newborns) caused by Zika virus.

Wow, for a moment I was distracted by the thought of how small the microcephalic head of a newborn mouse would be. Almost as small as AOC’s brain.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2715625/

Here’s more promising research on the use of chloroquine, this one on Zika virus in an in vitro study involving various human and mouse brain cells.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27916837

And here’s a new Chinese study –- ironically, from the Wuhan Institute of Virology –- on the effects of chloroquine and another promising anti-viral drug, remdesivir. It shows a high level of effectiveness, at least in vitro, for both drugs in the control of novel coronavirus, to the extent that they recommend assessing them in the treatment of human patients.

https://www.nature.com/articles/s41422-020-0282-0

You will not be tested on any of this. I link to these studies just to show that research into these existing antiviral medications is already going on because of previous bouts with other viruses such as ebola, Zika and SARS/MERS. Now, the studies need to be accelerated, as they were a few decades ago in response to HIV/AIDS. It’s going to be dedicated scientists and other innovative people who find better, faster ways to test and treat for this and other viruses, along with strategies to help us head off future pandemics. Of course, along with human ingenuity, I believe in the power of prayer, so pray for those scientists, for President Trump and all those who are involved in combatting and ultimately defeating this foe.

Here’s another approach being studied: giving plasma from recovered coronavirus patients, who presumably would have antibodies against it, to current patients and to those who have been exposed. Dr. Arturo Casadevall, a professor at John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, talked with Tucker Carlson about this on Monday night. “It is important to do this right,” he said, “and to do it with a regulatory framework.” Once approvals are in place, he said, recovered patients might be invited to donate just as people donate blood today.

Anyway, researchers are all over this. I’ll leave you with some recent anecdotal evidence on the use of antiviral drugs, including HIV drugs, as reported by the NEW YORK POST.

https://nypost.com/2020/03/12/hiv-drugs-are-being-used-as-part-of-coronavirus-treatment/