Dr. G.E. Ghali, a surgeon and professor at LSU Health Sciences Center – Shreveport, spoke on the first night of the Republican National Convention on Aug. 24, 2020.
I’m Dr. G.E. Ghali, an oral and maxillofacial surgeon and chancellor of a large academic medical and research center in Louisiana. I feel uniquely positioned to share how President Trump’s decisive leadership led to a rapid and efficient response to the coronavirus pandemic. I know this as a health professional and as someone who has recovered from COVID himself. The COVID-19 pandemic exploded into our great nation with an intensity unparalleled in history. But our medical investigation and drug development systems were not designed for a pandemic. The devastating effects of the coronavirus demanded immediate changes at the regulatory level. A prompt response led by President Trump cleared away the red tape that usually makes drug approvals a long and drawn out process.
By harnessing the resources the federal government and the private sector, President Trump’s Operation Warp Speed is accelerating the testing, supply, development and distribution of therapeutics, diagnostics, and very shortly, effective vaccines to counter COVID-19. Let me give you three clear examples of how President Trump’s leadership removed regulatory barriers so COVID patients could have faster access to effective therapies and diagnostics. First on February 26, two phase three clinical trials studying remdesivir were initiated. Just two months later, the FDA approved remdesivir for emergency use to treat COVID-19. Normally this is a three to five year process. The amazing speed with which this happened in a safe but efficient manner is unheard of. Second, the FDA granted expanded access to COVID-19 convalescent plasma. Within 24 hours of this approval, we were administering convalescent plasma and remdesivir to a critically ill patient, a former Army ranger and physician.
Had it not been for the rapid deployment of these medicines, this patient who is my colleague and friend, would have surely died, And third, at the end of July, I developed a fever and cough. I reached out to our testing team and received one of the Abbott rapid tests, yet another tool quickly approved by this administration. Within 15 minutes, my test came back positive and within four hours I was receiving my remdesivir doses followed by an infusion of convalescent plasma. As a physician, I’ve seen firsthand how these breakthroughs have saved countless lives. As a patient I’ve benefited from the expedited therapies made by the swift action of this administration. President Trump truly moved mountains to save lives and he deserves credit. Thank you President Trump for providing timely access to critical diagnostics and therapeutics during this pandemic. Thank you Mr. President for your strong leadership in these challenging times.