Originally Posted By: Arney
This topic also reminds me of dweste's thread we had on science a little while ago. This is an example of how medical science gets advanced in many cases. The doctors are desperate, they have a hunch about something that might work, and they try it. This approach wasn't approved by the FDA first. There were no clinical trials done. Eventually, doctors will decide whether they "think" it works, and if so, it will become the new standard. Maybe after the fact, someone will do the research to figure out exactly how it works or to confirm that it really is better than other treatments. I'm not saying this is right or wrong, but just pointing out that the process really isn't as "scientific" as people imagine in many cases.

Hmmm, I'm curious if Precious has health insurance? And even if she did, I imagine this protocol is still considered "experimental" and therefore not covered by insurance. "Glad you're feeling well, Precious! By the way, when you see your parents, please give them this bill for $750,000, OK?"

As I understand it the FDA doesn't have much to say about any of this because there are no new drugs or medical devices being used. There may be one or more state medical boards who might want to review the case but I suspect that, because inducing coma and supportive care are a standard treatment, in essence using old treatments in unique ways, they won't have much to say.

While there certainly will be a good deal of study of these cases, they are being well documented, two cases aren't really enough to form a statistical base. What seems to be a good sign is that both cases followed a similar progression, which paralleled the expected course. None of that means this is the final word but it pretty clearly seems to be a major advance.

As for the cost, I don't know but these first few cases were likely covered under research funding. This isn't even considered experimental because experiments are more structured. More like a last-ditch, shot in the dark, treatment based on a hunch used on a couple of low odds cases.

Costs, outside the cost of extra testing for documentation, which are likely paid for by the institution, aren't likely to be exceptionally high. In round figures I estimate $200,000 to $250,000 but that is more a WAG. Not so high to avoid a death sentence. With time the prices would likely come down. Here again a lot depends on how much the various researchers, academic, medical, NIH, etcetera, are all willing to chip in.

Lots of groups, people like the DoD and big pharma, are interested in rabies. The former because they spend time in places with infected animals. The later for any opening to a profitable drugs. Both get access to documentation by chipping in.

That is in addition to researchers interested in viruses in general. Figure out the details of how this works and it might lead anywhere. Research on HIV has led to a lot of advances in understand how the human immune defense system works, opened up mechanisms to exploit with vaccines, and illuminated wide areas in medical science. Learning more is good even if you don't produce a cure.