An excellent question – please supply your answers

From Dodgy Geezer:

Purely as an exercise, if someone on this blog had just developed, and had unequivocal rights to, a certain cure for Covid-19, what actions should they take to obtain the largest profit?

A profit I’d be allowed to keep? That, I think, being the important part of it.

Not being entirely serious but perhaps talk to BoJo and trade the patent for a Dukedom.

29 thoughts on “An excellent question – please supply your answers”

  1. Dunno the answer to the question, but I am sure that a lot of people will be opposed to even the idea of a working cure.

    Why? They are not too keen on discussing the prophylactic effects of HCQ, zinc, vitamins and all the other things which have been suggested.

    They are not keen at all to discuss the suggestion that ACE-inhibitor medication might be a problem. Because it spoils ‘the message’. Fuck the message, just find out the truth and let the chips fall where they may.

    I suppose I’ll have BiG after me for ignorance. I admit ignorance. I just wonder if everything I hear or read has been messaged to fit somebody’s narrative.

  2. Sell it to Putin.

    Sure, not the ethical thing to do, but they can’t bully him. You’d get a decent price.

    Then plastic surgery.

  3. I think the thing that amuses me the most about the search for a cure for CV is that it appears that smoking has a significant prophylactic effect, potentially something to do with the effect nicotine has on the linings of the throat.

    Wouldn’t it be wonderful if those evil capitalist bastards of the tobacco companies end up being the saviour of us all? If there were conclusive proof (follow the ‘science’ remember?) that smoking was the best thing that a person could do to protect themselves against CV, I think it would make the usual suspects heads explode.

    Which in turn is probably the best way for a company to profit from a ‘cure’ – if smoking was the cure the government is hardly going to nationalise BAT and start sending everyone 200 fags in the post, its politically unthinkable. But people would buy the product themselves anyway. So you bypass the State and sell direct to the consumer.

  4. You’d have to kill Bill Gates first. He’s got the vaccine industry sewn up and wants to keep us all at home until we’ve received it together with an infrared tattoo for the authorities to check if we’ve been legitimately freed from captivity.

  5. smoking has a significant prophylactic effect

    It certainly worked a treat for my old man, killing him 3 years before the coronavirus emerged.

    If I had the virus cure, I would give it to the first nation to assassinate Piers Morgan.

  6. BlokeInTejasInNormandy

    It’s a good question.

    And the answer depends on what sort of thing the cure is.

    If it were smoking, then that’s NOT a medicine, and so couldn’t be controlled by the medical ‘biz’. (But before getting excited by smoking to avoid the Lurgy, try this:

    If it’s some naturally-occurring more or less ready to use (like zinc), then too late. There’s already folk selling that.

    If it’s a re-use of an existing medication (like remdesivir) – too bad; you discovered the solution, but they make it. Now, do they get rich? Tim explained how they probably wouldn’t get enormously rich because of the usual shenanigans, but since remdesivir already exists, and Gilead still exists, then presumably they have one way or another survived the introduction cost of a medication, so they’ll make a nice revenue even at smallish margins.

    If it’s a brand-new thingy, well. Depends, eh? Anything that comes out of the world-wide alliances to develop such a thing will be said to have been created by public money. So no major path to riches there.

    But the question is specific, not realworld. So I think the answer is basically – put in place massive protection (along the lines of kill me and the secret dies with me) and then offer it up to the highest bidder, setting a remarkably low starting price of a few million. Start with the pharma companies. When they balk, go on national TV and offer it to governments. If it ain’t too high, no need to kill you.

    Now, getting $50M or so isn’t rich by big corp standards. But it is for an individual. So that might do.

  7. Rhoda, far be it from me to suggest you are ignorant!

    Look, I think Bill Gates wants us all to be microchipped and tracked. I think the lockdown is stupid. It will now obviously cause some kind of economic Armageddon that is utterly, utterly disproportionate to the problem it is supposed to solve. I think politicians and all manner of nasty watermelon types are exploiting the crisis for their own ends, and relishing the shutdown of civil liberties lasting forever, not just for a few weeks. I think we will see, in all countries, only a very small rise in overall deaths this year, and that the final infection fatality rate will be higher than ‘flu, but probably below 0.3%. I think covid will end up circulating as another of those perennial bugs we all have to get occasionally. There may or may not be an effective vaccine developed. Who knows. In short, the response to this is an enormous pile.

    So I suspect I am on “your side” on much of that stuff. But I think HCQ is a complete and utter waste of time. Why is that? Well, arguments are below because I don’t expect you to take my word for it. But, with decades in medical and clinical research, I can tell you it doesn’t pass any of the standard bullshit tests, while it does score 1000% on the Alternative-Quackery-Woo™ test. People are desperate and need to have something to believe in.

    By the way, I’ll be happy to change my mind if the evidence, due in a month or two (not years), tells us otherwise. But who of those who believe and trust in it with religious zeal (belief in the absence of evidence being the most certain form of religion) will change their minds if the evidence (due shortly) shows it is useless?

    There is an exhaustive list of reasons to be skeptical of the wisdom of treating Covid patients with HCQ, at this point in time. Here are some:
    1: There is no evidence that it works on any clinically meaningful endpoint.
    2: There is paltry evidence from an atrociously conducted, and misleadingly analysed trial, that it might work on one clinically meaningless endpoint.
    3: The graveyard of pharma is piled high, as far as the eye can see, with the rotting corpses of those who tried and failed to develop treatments for viral infections.
    4: HCQ, like all drugs, has side effects. It has cardiovascular side effects that would be an astonishingly bad thing to add on top of pneumonia.
    5: There is no obvious mechanism of action. How does it work? How could it work? Why this and not one of the other millions of chemical entities?
    6: There are patients with serious diseases who actually need the drug who can’t get hold of it as everyone with a sniffle is buying up all the supplies.

    Like I said, if the data comes in to show it works (and that its good works outweigh its bad), I’ll change my mind.

  8. BiG, I am indeed ignorant of HCQ, but it surely has been used by many people for long periods in its anti-malarial role. So the side effects are not all that bad. The mechanism by which it works has been proposed and possibly seen in vitro, that is as a zinc ionophore, where zinc in the cell disrupts RNA replication. OTOH I can see that the possibility of a miracle solution does appeal to many of us, grasping at straws in a sea of ignorance. A lay person just doesn’t know.

    And we just do not know to what extent vested interests, narratives, messaging and ivory tower protectionism are affecting progress towards a resolution.

  9. BiG
    I read somewhere it reduced the inflammatory response and so reduced the effects of the virus on the body, rather than any direct effect on the virus. Does that remotely standup?

  10. Rhodaklapp is right.

    Look at the eco-loons. They say CO₂ is bad, so we must stop burning fuel. That’s fine, nuclear is a safe and cheap alternative. Oh no! howl the greens, we didn’t actually want you to succeed in having cheap clean power; we just wanted to subject you all to endless misery.

    We hear the same noises about Covid-19 from the media. No there can’t possibly be a safe easy cure, the only way to solve this is through mass hardship.

    This logic goes back a long way. The New Testament has plenty of examples of misery=good, e.g. Matthew 19:24. I suspect it’s fundamental to how we are wired as a species.

  11. “BiG, I am indeed ignorant of HCQ, but it surely has been used by many people for long periods in its anti-malarial role. So the side effects are not all that bad.”

    Not all that bad COMPARED TO MALARIA.

  12. Suppose that a cure is the only way to end lockdown. How much would individuals be prepared to pay to end lockdown? Surely middle class Britain would not begrudge £10 per head; you can double it if you presume these nice families want to adopt a poorer person to get the cure too. That’s £670 million right there, and everyone would feel they had a bargain.

    The problem is government: why spend even as little as £10 when you can whine at government to beat up the pharma companies and steal their lunch money?

  13. Rhoda, what possible vested interest could there be?

    No one is currently selling any alternative, and even if they were, there are trials of this (and other possibilities) underway that will deliver conclusive results faster than any Phase 3 trial in the history of mankind.

    Far from there being a conspiracy to shut down the use of HCQ it is in such high demand that you can’t get it if you need it. If anyone is behind any conspiracy, it would be the manufacturers, not their potential competitors!

    So my advice is to stick with the status quo:
    We don’t know if HCQ helps covid patients.
    We do know HCQ definitely harms covid patients.
    Therefore, don’t give HCQ to covid patients now.
    Await robust, and imminent, demonstration of whether it does good, and if so, whether that good outweighs the harm.

  14. BlokeInNormandyFromTejas


    As I’ve noted elsewhere, let’s assume that HCQ and it’s friends are unhelpful agin the Lurgy19.

    Then there’s an encouraging side to the good Dr Raoult’s most recent announcement – he treated 1000 plus patients with his cocktail and something like 5-7 died.

    So we now have an independent survey giving us a measure of the case fatality rate: out of a thousand plus fed placebo, 5-7 died.

    Eh, encouraging, eh?

  15. 5: There is no obvious mechanism of action. How does it work? How could it work? Why this and not one of the other millions of chemical entities?

    I’ve seen one plausible (I’m an engineer not a doctor dammit!) possible theory as to how it might work: the virus has been engineered with a malaria-type protein shell, so therefore the anti-malaria drug disrupts it.

    How much of that is conspiracy theory and how much stands up to analysis, I’ve no idea. Like I said, it’s a plausible (to me) suggestion.

  16. BiNfT,

    BTW, his study is worthless without a control group, and also tells us little about likely population fatality rates in the absence of other information. I’ll let you think about why, in the light of what little we _do_ know about covid, that is so.

  17. BiG: and dearieme: I have taken low dose hydroxychloroquine for years when I lived in a malaria area as prophylaxis. I have also treated or observed the treatment of several hundred people for malaria with hydroxychloroquine ie acutely over say ten days at higher dosage, and observed no ill effects. When it comes to patients with lupus for whom it is prescribed at high doses for long periods, months to years, then its side effects have to weighed against the disease. I note that the survey of fourteen thousand lupus patients receiving HCQ, found no clinical Covid19 despite their compromised immune system.

  18. I have quotes from Paine about administering medicine to the dead, and from Chesterton about believing in anything once you start believing in nothing running through my mind.

    Why can’t people wait for the damn evidence that’s around the corner?

  19. BiG, I did not mean vested interest as only financial from competitors, or indeed that this was limited to HCQ. I don’t have a problem with big Pharma making money anyway, it has kept me alive, after all. I worry more about people in positions of influence protecting those positions at the expense of the lay public. And of course I’ve seen that kind of attitude in other fields than medicine where I am more able to judge. Consensus viewpoints can have very high inertia.

  20. The only consensus viewpoint anyone might die in a ditch for is that microbiological treatment of viral infection after it has started is usually a gargantuan waste of effort. That is the case for essentially everything with the exception of HIV, oral herpes, and HCV. Of those, only the latter can be microbiologically eliminated by treatment.

    Yet somehow we now have a new virus that is highly susceptible to an old drug, and we’ve discovered which of the tens of thousands of drugs on the market it is susceptible to within days of having the idea.

    Obviously if it is, someone is going to get this year’s Nobel Prize for proving so. My money, simply on a probability basis, is that it’s a load of bollocks. But, for good measure, there is a PROPER TRIAL being conducted AS WE SPEAK!

  21. HCQ was in fact mooted as an antiviral as long ago as 2003. I don’t know what happened after that, or who if anyone remembered that and tried it, but not quite out of the blue. However, I can wait for a proper trial.

    Anyhow, learn to live with CV, try to treat it, wait forever for a vaccine. They seem to be our options.

    Although the conspiracy theorist in me says if Covid was exacerbated by ACE inhibitors THAT would be a problem with that part of the medical establishment which has put so much effort into treating mild hypertensive patients with them even when not high-risk for CVD.

  22. Why? You would probably switch patients to ARBs (now you can actually get them again!) if you were worried about interaction with Covid. Plenty of GPs are so far behind the curve they don’t use either anyway. A relative of mine is still on atenolol as their “first line” treatment!

  23. We can all have fun with conspiracy theories:

    The Chinese deliberately contaminated their generic ARB production lines so millions of western patients were switched to generic ACEis. Then they released a virus that specifically hurts patients on ACEis, for Bond-villain nefarious, world domination reasons. The icing on the cake is they spread disinformation that Big Pharma still makes any money out of antihypertensives* and want to defend ACEis specifically against the dozen other drug classes that have a similar effect.

    How do you like it?

    *: They don’t.

  24. Is the risk of ACE’s that the persistent dry cough side effect of some ACE is likely to get you lynched in the current environment

  25. @rhoda klapp


    Dr: This might work, want to try?
    Patient: Yeah, go for it
    BiG/FDA: You can’t, not approved
    Me/Trump: Stop squabbling, Let patients decide

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