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Promising coronavirus treatment called off years ago — because Big Pharma didn’t see profit potential

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A medical researcher revealed that a possible treatment for all forms of coronavirus had been developed more than a decade ago, but work on the drug had been called off because pharmaceutical companies didn’t see any profit potential.

Years later, a novel coronavirus outbreak has destroyed the global economy and threatens millions of lives, and Dr. William Haseltine told MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” that government action was now needed to fight the COVID-19 pandemic.

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“The good news is that there will be an end to this epidemic, whether it’s a natural end and it goes away or whether we develop the drugs that are antiviral drugs that we know we can develop,” said Haseltine, a former Harvard Medical School professor and founder of its cancer and HIV/AIDS research departments.

Haseltine said researchers had developed a promising treatment for coronavirus after the SARS outbreak killed nearly 800 people in 2003.

“From my perspective, it’s a tragedy that never needed to happen,” he said. “Many of us were very clear in warning, this will come back. We had it as early as 2004, 2005, a whole set of chemical compound that would be very likely to treat not only the SARS virus but all coronaviruses. We stopped the development of those drugs. My fervent hope is that we will not stop it now.”

“Why did we stop?” he added. “Because there was not an economic model that pharmaceutical and biotechnological companies could use. Well, that is a perfect time for the government to step in and provide the incentives necessary.”

Haseltine himself worked on those drugs that were intended for use against bioterrorist attacks, but he said government officials and pharmaceutical executives had ignored researchers’ warnings and halted their development.

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“We did that, develop drugs against bioterrorist weapons,” he said. “I helped to develop one of those drugs, so I know those mechanisms exist. We just didn’t use them to protect ourselves. What I and many public health officials said will be a next epidemic. Let’s hope we don’t stop the development of these drugs prematurely so we have them for the next, and the next and the next wave of epidemics that are surely coming over the next 20 years.”


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2020 Election

New data shows how Fox News may be keeping Republicans away from voting

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On Monday, writing for The Washington Post, columnist Greg Sargent outlined the results of a new poll from the Public Religion Research Institute, suggesting Fox News' messaging is actually turning people off one of the easiest and most convenient forms of voting — putting President Donald Trump's re-election in jeopardy.

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2020 Election

Trump ‘engaged in incitement to domestic terrorism’ — no wonder he’s losing Michigan: Heilemann

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What will Trump do between now and Election Day, and what is he willing to do if he loses on Election Day, asked MSNBC's John Heilemann when talking to host Nicolle Wallace on Monday.

Wallace noted that on Sunday night, Dr. Anthony Fauci appeared on "60 Minutes," where he explained he couldn't even take a walk with his wife without having security because of the attacks he's getting from the right-wing.

"Genuinely, as we hurdle into the final two weeks where we think that all of the October surprises have to be played out -- we've had them all," Heilemann began. "But given the way 2020 has gone, I'm assuming we'll have at least maybe a Martian invasion between now and election day. I think -- it never hurts to remind people of the context here."

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2020 Election

Steve Mnuchin extends his overseas trip — despite failing to reach a deal on coronavirus stimulus

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Raw Story reported on Oct. 16 that U.S. Secretary of the Treasury Steve Mnuchin left the United States after repeatedly failing to reach a stimulus agreement with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA). Now, it appears Mnuchin has extended his trip to the Middle East by an extra day. The media has not been given any information on his whereabouts or with whom the meetings are taking place.

Mnuchin was expected to travel to Israel, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates from Oct. 17 through Oct. 20. Negotiations were expected to resume upon his return to the U.S. on Oct. 20.

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