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Opinion: We must depend upon science, not opinion, to fight this virus
03062020 CDC
The headquarters for Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is shown on Friday, March 6, 2020 in Atlanta. - photo by Associated Press

Being a virologist, it totally baffles me that the FDA, CDC and our president would ignore science and recommend both an antibiotic and an antimalarial be used as an antiviral drug to treat coronavirus infections.

I fully understand that it was based upon a recommendation made from uncontrolled research by an incapable individual, which actually amounts to personal opinions rather than accepted science with acceptable statistical validity.

Viral replication is totally resistant to such drugs because mammalian virus replication must take place inside a mammalian living cell. The process involves attachment, uncoating, utilizing cell DNA or RNA mechanisms to replicate viral DNA or RNA, assembling of viral particles (maturation) and finally release of the mature virion from the cell, which usually dies or becomes non-functional. Antivirals are developed to interfere with one or more of these processes.

Antibacterials and antimalarials act through totally different mechanisms. They basically stop the growth of organisms based upon various stages of binary fission. These organisms grow on media or require living cells in which to multiply. Therefore there is no scientific reason to expect them to be antiviral. In fact, it is a scientific fact that they have no antiviral activity.

This is faulty thinking and faulty administrative decisions to depend on non-scientific advice or even no advice to make decisions that affect the health of our citizens.

Why expend valuable public funds to “research” facts that have been proven long ago. We must depend upon science, not uneducated opinion, to protect the health and welfare of our nation’s citizens. Go figure.

Dr. Paul C. Smith