Scientists around the world are urgently seeking solutions to two challenges: How to prevent people becoming infected with Covid-19 using a vaccine, and how to cure it or mitigate its effects on someone who has caught it. Within the past week two very promising efforts have been announced.
None of these trials involve Fabunan Antiviral Injection, FAI.
First, is a vaccine developed at Oxford University, which passed animal trials with flying colours ad is now moving into human trials.
The big news is that a medicine used for treating Ebola, Remdesivir, has passed human trials and appears to shorten the period of infection in severe cases from 15 days to around 8-10 days. Importantly, the trials used placebos to determine whether th effect was caused by the medicine or not.
Remdesivir received emergency approval within the past few days and can now be deployed.
On 29 April, the Philippine Department of Education issued a warning again regarding FAI, warning that Fabunan could be held liable for the use of an unapproved drug.
It is possible that the objective of using the political troll farm referred to in an earlier post is the use of political leverage to gain some form of political leverage to by-pass regulatory requirements. This seems unlikely since FAI approval has not been applied for.
Curiously, despite acupuncturist Willie Fabunan’s very obvious involvement in videos posted on social media, a note on the Fabunan Medical Clinic Facebook page dissociates it from the social media campaign and states that FAI can only be given to patients in its own clinic.
Which is odd, to say the least.
However, local media sources say that there has been a split among the Fabunan siblings, with acupuncturist Willie Fabunan involved with a member of a powerful local political family and set up a competitor clinic in Subic Bay Freeport. Rueben Fabunan, it is claimed, is being kept out of the loop.
This appears to be confirmed by an announcement by the Fabunan Medical Clinic in San Marcellino, Zambales.
In addition, according to an article in the Manila Times of 17 May, there is a legal dispute regarding the patents. All in all very messy.
Despite the claim in the announcement, Prodex-B, earlier subject to an FDA warning, has the same ingredients as the patented FAI.
Promoters of Promex-B , have been told by DOST-PCHRD that scientific studies must first support its claims. Currently, DOST-PCHRD is in discussion with other researchers for the formulation of the same drug combination, independent from Prodex-B, for in vitro efficacy testing. If found promising, DOST-PCHRD could also assist in connecting the team with clinicians who could conduct the clinical trials.
Fake medicine and disinformation has flooded social media, endangering lives. Indeed, the eminent journal Nature published an article by Dr. Timothy Caulfield called upon scientist to be more pro-active in fighting back: “The scientific community must take up cudgels in the battle against bunk.”
Today’s regulatory environment for medicines owes much to patent medicine fad of the 19th century. With little regulation, anyone could whip up a concoction and sell it, claiiming to cure whatever disease was fashionable, especially those known to have no real cure.
One of those patent medicine frauds remains famous today. In the 19th century, Clark Stanley patented a mixture called Snake Oil, a supposed painkiller. He made a lot of money until 1916 when. under the requirements of the 1906 US pure Food and Drugs Act.
Stanley’s Snake Oil consisted of mineral oil, beef fat, turpentine and camphor. He didn’t even have the courtesy to put any snake in it.
Instead of Facebook and Youtube, Stanley and others worked county fairs and exhibitions, pulling into town and making grand announcements. The audience would be seeded with shills who could give testimony to the effectiveness of the nostrum on offer.
Things have changed little. ‘Supplements’ and fake medicinal cures continue to be marketed as curing a host of diseases. Their new platforms are on the internet.
Red flags for fakery include reliance on marketing and advertising, relying on ‘testimony’ rather than clinical trials and scientific evidence, and avoiding the regulatory process
There is is also the addition of ‘Big Pharma’ conspiracy to explain why the seller has not bothered with clinical trials. Anyone exposing fake medicine is accused of being in the pay of ‘Big Pharma’. More red flags.
Unlike Clark Stanley’s product, Fabunans FAI does have something to do with snakes: It’s very first claim was that it cured snake bites.
You must decide for yourself whether FAI is just another Snake Oil. But for now, I’ll apply the duck principle – if it looks like one, sounds like one, and walks like one, the chances are you’re looking at a duck, not a miracle cure.