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Why Fauci resurrects failed drugs

FDA’s revolving door facilitates approval of abandoned, toxic medications

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Eliyahu Tulshinski

Eliyahu Tulshinski

Eliyahu Tulshinski

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Focusing on the influence of socialism on public health policy.

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May 26, 2022

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06:23 AM

Why Fauci resurrects failed drugs

Once officials declare a new health emergency, real or not, the race is on to find the “cure”. Safety and efficacy testing, from laboratory testing to animal testing to small studies in humans to large human trials, though, takes years. That is unless, of course, the drug already went through some of that testing in the past (even if the drug was proven a failure). 

As the leading public health official, Anthony Fauci was able to do just that with remdesivir, a failed antiviral treatment for Ebola and Marburg virus, which he brought back to life as a COVID treatment under an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA), despite the drug’s high rates of kidney failure and death

This was not, however, Fauci’s first exercise in drug resurrection.

FDA’s revolving door

A former public health official at the FDA, David Barry of Burroughs Wellcome (later merged into global pharma giant GlaxoSmithKline), well aware of which previously researched drugs could potentially see quick FDA approval, selected a few such therapeutics and sent them for testing at a university laboratory soon after HIV was claimed to be the cause of AIDS. The number one killer of HIV in a test tube was none other than the failed chemotherapy, AZT.

Barry used [his previous work at the FDA] as leverage when he began quiet negotiations with key FDA officials, arguing that AZT should be rushed through the approval process with reduced testing requirements. [p. 314].

"Reduced testing requirements" doesn’t begin to tell the true picture of what then took place.

Fraudulent laboratory trials

The purposeful irregularities that allowed AZT to obtain FDA approval are so numerous as to far exceed the scope of this article. A reading of Inventing the AIDS Virus would be necessary to get an accurate picture of the gravity of the improprieties. Here, though, are three glaring violations of research protocol:

1. False claim that the immune system’s T-cells are safe from AZT. Barry published a paper claiming that the amount of AZT that would be needed to kill T-cells is 1,000 times that which kills HIV. This flies in the face of logic, since a T-cell’s own DNA is 100,000 times longer than that of the HIV virus, providing 100,000 more chances for AZT to interfere every time a T-cell divides compared to the division of the HIV within that same T-cell. 

Thus, AZT should be expected to kill the T-cell host of HIV together with the HIV, at the same dose that kills HIV. Not surprisingly, Barry’s study could not be replicated. To the contrary, “six independent studies” found Barry’s findings completely unreliable -  in each subsequent study, AZT killed T-cells at the very same dosage at which it killed HIV

2. False comparison between active and inactive HIV. Barry tested AZT on active (dividing) HIV in test tubes, knowing that AZT interferes specifically in the dividing process but not the functioning of a virus or cell in between divisions. In actual patients, however, HIV is almost always inactive (NOT dividing). 

. . . in the body of an infected person, antibodies neutralize HIV years before AIDS appears, if it comes at all. In persons with antibodies against HIV, the virus is inactive, not making any viral DNA at all. 

Thus AZT in a human being cannot attack the virus anyway, for it has already become dormant. It can attack only growing human cells.  [p. 313].

3. False benchmark assuming all T-cells contain HIV. In reporting on the AZT's effect on T-cells versus its effect on HIV, Barry assumed there would be one HIV virus to kill in each T-cell. Only a tiny percentage of T-cells contain HIV in actual patients, though, and AZT cannot distinguish between T-cells containing HIV and those which do not. The result is that far more T-cells are killed, as compared with HIV, than reported by Barry.

. . . since only 1 in about 500 T-cells of HIV antibody-positive persons is ever infected [even with inactive HIV], AZT must kill 499 good T-cells to kill just one that is infected by the hypothetical AIDS virus. This is called a very bad therapeutic index in pharmacology! [Emphasis added, pp. 313-314].

Fraudulent human trials

If the lab experiments were on shaky footing, the human trials had no footing at all. And this was seen from the start, as recorded in, Good Intentions: How Big Business And the Medical Establishment Are Corrupting the Fight Against AIDS.

A move to stop the trial began immediately. The toxicity of AZT was proving to be extremely high, much higher than indicated by Sam Broder's previous safety trials. PIs [Principal Investigators] began to worry that AZT was killing bone marrow cells so fast that patients would quickly come down with aplastic anemia, a murderous disease. 

This was terrifying to many PIs. "There was enormous pressure to stop," recalls Broder. "People said, 'My God, what's going on, we're getting these anemias, what's going on?' We never saw this level of anemia before. [Emphases added]

From here it only got worse.

Experiment groups mixed up!

Once the controls broke down, the study began to unravel. While some "placebo" recipients were actually taking AZT [having heard it hyped as a miracle drug in the media], some of the "AZT" recipients were being taken off the drug. Many of the patients simply could not tolerate AZT, and the physicians had to do something to save their lives. 

"Drug therapy was temporarily discontinued or the frequency of doses decreased ... if severe adverse reactions were noted," admitted Fischl in the fine print of her paper. "The study medication was withdrawn if unacceptable toxic effects or a [cancer] requiring therapy developed." This astonishing slip reveals that the doctors did indeed know who was using AZT. But never did Fischl tell how many "AZT" patients were taken off the drug, nor for how long. 

Most severely injured by AZT not counted!

Other patients dropped out of the trial altogether. Some 15 percent of the AZT group disappeared, possibly including patients with the most severe toxic effects. Fischl and her collaborators never bothered accounting for the loss, fueling the suspicion that they could have even dropped the sickest patients themselves. 

This is a likelier possibility than it first sounds. Author John Lauritsen succeeded in obtaining documents released under the Freedom of Information Act and found many examples of incomplete or altered dataCauses of death were never verified, as by autopsy, and report forms often listed "suspected" reasons. 

No standard for diagnosis

Naturally, Fischl and colleagues tended to assume that diseases in the placebo group were AIDS-related, while assuming diseases in the AZT group were not. 

The symptom report forms looked even worse. Mysterious changes appeared, often weeks after the initial report for a given patient, including scratching out the original symptoms. The unexplained tamperings generally had no initials indicating approval by the head researcher. Other symptom reports were copied onto new forms but often lacked the original form for comparison. And on some forms reporting toxic effects of AZT, the symptoms were crossed out months later.

FDA itself reported protocol violations

During the trial, an FDA visit to one of the test hospitals in Boston uncovered suspicious problems. "The FDA inspector found multiple deviations from standard protocol procedure," an FDA official later commented, "and she recommended that data from this center be excluded …  [Emphasis added, pp. 319-320].

Stacking the deck

Barry, still working for Burroughs Wellcome, was able to get his former colleagues at the FDA to cut down the approval process for AZT, to drop the requirement for animal studies and to allow two paid consultants for Burroughs Wellcome to sit on the advisory committee of 11 scientists and doctors whose recommendation would likely be followed in deciding whether to approve AZT. 

The follow-up results on the patients, showing higher death rates after everyone [was unblinded and all participants] went on AZT, were cleverly buried in an avalanche of confusing statistics. Dazed, the members of the committee began to feel anxious that something had gone wrong in the testing process. [Emphasis added; p. 323].

FDA connections to the rescue

All the exceptions made by the FDA still wasn't enough, though, to get four scientists to join the two from Burroughs Wellcome to create a majority for approval of AZT, until …

Then Barry played his ace: a high-ranking FDA official, Paul Parkman, showed up and spoke, despite not having been scheduled to do so. After only a minute of suggesting most of the panel's concerns could be addressed, Parkman closed with a dramatic statement: "I think we can probably arrive at a plan that will satisfy people here." [p. 323].

“Success”

Suddenly, the arguments stopped, and the mood shifted from opposition to support for AZT. FDA officials had never before interfered in these meetings, and the entire committee was shocked. "Did you hear that?" the panel chairman said to an associate. "He's telling us to approve it." [p. 323].

No disclosure.

Few in the room knew that Parkman was a personal friend of Barry; they had once worked together on virology projects. The panel ended up recommending AZT with only the chairman voting against it.

Burroughs Wellcome quickly patented the drug, something no one else had ever bothered to do [since its development in 1964; Emphasis added, pp. 323-324].

Aftermath

Word about the unusual events surrounding AZT’s approval eventually emerged and even the legacy media outlet Time Magazine covered the controversy, albeit 30 years late, in a 2017 article:

Under enormous public pressure, the FDA’s review of AZT was fast tracked — some say at the expense of patients. 

Scientists quickly injected AZT into patients. The first goal was to see whether it was safe — and, though it did cause side effects (including severe intestinal problems, damage to the immune system, nausea, vomiting and headaches) it was deemed relatively safe…

After 16 weeks, Burroughs Wellcome announced that they were stopping the trial because there was strong evidence that the compound appeared to be working ...

Those results — and AZT — were heralded as a “breakthrough” and “the light at the end of the tunnel” by the company, and pushed the FDA to approve the first AIDS medication … in a record 20 months.

But the study remains controversial. Reports surfaced soon after that the results may have been skewed ... 

There were also stories of patients from the 12 centers where the study was conducted pooling their pills, to better the chances that they would get at least some of the drug rather than just placebos…

Such uncertainty would not be acceptable with a traditional approval, but the urgent need to have something in hand to fight the growing epidemic forced FDA’s hand 

The drug’s approval remains controversial to this day … [Emphases added].

In the case of Time Magazine, that last sentence should read, 

The drug’s approval became controversial on this day, 30 years after millions of users began experiencing its toxic, unnecessary side effects.

Parallels to COVID

Is Fauci’s push of a drug far more deadly than the virus it’s supposed to treat the only overlap between HIV and COVID? Please visit for the continuation of our AIDS series as we explore:

  • What else do coronavirus and HIV have in common?
  • Who’s censoring Kennedy’s expose The Real Anthony Fauci?
  • How many times have public health officials mistakenly blamed a virus or bacteria for a disease?

Previous articles from our AIDS series:

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