Promising Coronavirus Treatment Canceled Years Ago Over Lack Of Profit Potential



The pharmaceutical industry didn't see a path to profit for a coronavirus treatment, and the government didn't step in.

According to medical researcher and former Harvard Medical School professor Dr. William Haseltine, a promising treatment believed to be useful against all coronaviruses was canned after the pharmaceutical industry did not find the venture profitable.

Haseltine appeared on MSNBC’s Morning Joe to discuss the ongoing coronavirus crisis in the U.S. and stated that he worked on the development of a treatment more than a decade ago, following the SARS outbreak in 2003, that could have proven life-changing during the current outbreak.

“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,” he said.

But he lamented that a treatment under development in the early 2000s had been left by the wayside over issues of profitability, particularly as the COVID-19 outbreak continues claiming lives around the world.

“From my perspective, it’s a tragedy that never needed to happen,” Haseltine 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 continued. “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 added that he and other public health officials have warned that another epidemic would come along, and he hopes that “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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