Is the Departure of NCATS Director Indicative of NIH’s Repurposing Track Record During the Pandemic?

Is the Departure of NCATS Director Indicative of NIH's Repurposing Track Record During the Pandemic

TrialSite recently went on the record that a major clinical program announced by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) for the “ACTIVE” program, while appreciated, was in many ways too late—this announcement should have occurred by last summer of 2020 at the latest. Instead, billions of taxpayer dollars were marshalled into the Accelerating COVID‑19 Therapeutic Interventions and Vaccines (ACTIV) public–private partnership, with an overwhelming focus on vaccines and novel therapeutics as TrialSite has been nearly alone in chronicling. But for nearly a year now, a growing numbers of front line physicians argue that care needed to happen in the clinic—and fast! While NIH director Francis Collins recently acknowledged that “While we’re doing a good job with treating hospitalized patients with severe disease, we don’t currently have an approved medication that can be self-administered to ease symptoms of people suffering from mild disease at home, and reduce the chance of their needing hospitalization,” it most certainly took a long time, and a lot of suffering to get to this point. That is, to acknowledge that the ACTIV program needed a major repurposed clinical drug research progra...

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