Update 21 September 2020: Despite claims made on social media there is still no evidence that FAI has been approved, or undergoing clinical trial, or being legally used anywhere.
: 8 June 2020. Social media posts claim that the Indonesian health authorities had agreed to conduct clinical trials on Fabunan Antiviral Injection. The claims appear only from know promoters of FAI. Despite the importance of such a move, if true, it remains unconfirmed by medical news and information outlets, the WHO database of ongoing Covid-19 measures, Indonesian media, Philippine media or any reliable source. Given the track record of misinformation by FAI promoters (Such as claims that the Philippine FDA had approved FAI), we catalogue the claim as dubious.Clinical trials must be registered, yet no such trial can be found on clinical trial databases such as centerwatch.com or clinicaltrials.gov.Update: 31 May. Malacanang corrects false information regarding FAI.
Important update: 27 May: The Fabunan Medical Clinic has closed.
Update, 24 May, 2020: The Philippine FDA has issued a cease-and-desist order, DoH is ‘working up a case’ against Dr Willie Fabunan. Here for more information.
New information is emerging on the Fabunan claims which are now being verified. Updates will be made as these are checked.
Corrections of factual errors are welcome in the comments section, which is moderated.
Right now, things are little different from the 1918 Spanish flu pandemic which killed up.to 18 million people, according to some estimates. Many of the rumoured ‘cures’ have re-emerged in the Covid-19 crisis. You’ll find some familiar claims in this recording.
The case of the Fabunan patented jollop raises a number of red-flags suggesting that a patented mixture of painkiller and a steroid for treating Covid-19, Fabunan Antiviral Injection, is, prehaps less than is claimed for it. It is not encouraging that development was led by an accupuncturist, Willie Fabunan.
Over the past few years, Dengue fever, and severe Dengue have become major public health issues. Its prevalence is increasing. It affects billions of people around the world, many of them in low income and developing countries and there is no cure. Once some has contracted it there is little to be done except treatment of its symptoms and providing plenty of fluids.
It is an economic burden, both at the level of the family with a person affected by Dengue, and at the national level. Not to mention the emotional stress of parents with a child threatened by Dengue.
Prevention is a preferable option, but its success depends on economic, environment and cultural factors.
In many cases of vaccine-preventable diseases there is the principle of ‘herd immunity’ – a certain percentage of the population must be immunised for the vaccine to protect the whole of the population. Measles is an example. However, because of Dengue disease vectors this is not an approach that works.
Let’s take a look at what Dengue is, what is happening in a global context.
I have thought long and hard about covering the Dengvaxia controversy in the Philippines. It is not history, although it is historic. The issue, to my mind is what scientific evidence is there to support the claims that Dengvaxia has killed Filipino children? Are the claims supportable? Does what little evidence available support the claim? What damage is the controversy doing to other vaccination programmes?
What is at stake is the lives of children. If the Philippine government’s Public attorney’s office, PAO, is correct, then there is a serious issue to be addressed, if it is wrong it is putting at risk the lives of hundreds, if not thousands of Filipino children and hazarding the lives of kids in the other 18 countries where Dengvaxia is being used.
I have spoken to clinicians, epidemiologists and public policy experts throughout the SE Asian region. I have asked PAO for its input and should it respond then its comment and clarifications will be included.