“What would happen to the entire vaccine enterprise—I’m talking about pediatric vaccines, the fundamental bedrocks of public health—if we basically validate the criticisms of those that have been labeled anti-vaxxers?”
In this episode, we sit down with mRNA vaccine pioneer Dr. Robert Malone to discuss questions surrounding the COVID-19 vaccines and repurposed drugs, as well as the bioethics of experimental vaccines.
Jan Jekielek: Dr. Robert Malone, such a pleasure to have you on American Thought Leaders.
Dr. Robert Malone: Likewise, thank you.
Mr. Jekielek: You’re, of course, an outbreak specialist. You’re the inventor of mRNA vaccine technology. You’re also a biostatistician, which is an interesting collection.
Dr. Malone: I would say that I’ve been trained in some biostatistics. To be a biostatistician, for me, that’s a step above where I’m at. But I do epidemiology and biostats, among other things.
Mr. Jekielek: I want to touch on this whole censorship question, but before we do that, let’s talk about where do you stand right now when it comes to treatment for COVID-19 or vaccination for COVID-19, given everything we know as we speak and given your rather unique background?
Dr. Malone: That’s a good tee-up because you’re talking about both treatment and vaccines, and I’ve actually been primarily focused with the team that I’ve been working with on repurposing drugs for COVID. We’re trying to launch three clinical trials right now, one in India and two in the States, under IND (Investigational New Drug) for a drug combination involving anti-inflammatories that we’ve developed. It’s already been tested and was initially discovered in a small hospital in Beloit, Wisconsin.
I made an initial threat assessment in January, as we were discussing. I got a signal out of Wuhan and decided that the time needed was not available to develop new vaccines and get them safety tested in a timely fashion to mitigate the risks of the pandemic. So even though I’m a vaccine specialist, I also have started a company focusing on drug repurposing for Zika [virus]. I have this background, and so I’ve seen both sides of what’s going on and how it’s rolled out.
My take on the vaccines is that we have some new technologies in the mRNA vaccines. We have a fairly well-established genetic vaccine technology related to RNA, but using the gene therapy vector called recombinant adenovirus. We have two examples of those right now. People call them the AstraZeneca and the J&J.[Johnson and Johnson] AstraZeneca, Sanofi, Oxford is that cluster that’s not licensed in the United States. Right now in the States, we have patients, and everybody has access to three genetic vaccines.
There is a more traditional vaccine that’s about to gain emergency use authorization from Novavax. That has also showed greater than 90 per cent protection against disease and death. So that’s in line with what the genetic vaccines are showing. That one offers options for those that are uncomfortable with the genetic vaccine strategy. A lot of people that have been contacting me are interested in having an option. They’re uncomfortable with the genetic vaccines, and they’re interested in having an alternative that they can use. Novavax could be a suitable alternative for them.