A potential cure dangles out of reach while a child suffers from a fatal illness -- and it takes thousands of people to turn everything around. A drug company will give medication to a dying 7-year-old boy thanks to a Facebook campaign. Josh Hardy is a cancer patient who contracted an adenovirus infection after a bone marrow transplant. His doctors pleaded with drug company Chimerix for an untested antiviral drug called Brincidofovir, but the company refused. So Hardy's mother turned to social media.
The drug bricidofovir is in clinical trials, but under the FDA's compassionate use rules, unapproved drugs can be used outside of trials under certain circumstances. The drug company Chimerix originally told doctors that Josh didn't qualify for those trials, and that if they answered every request for exceptions, it would strain their resources. Imagine the feelings of desperation Josh's mother must have felt when they were refused again and again. What would you do?
Josh's mother Aimee set up a Facebook page called Save Josh. They created petitions on Change.org and on the White House petition page. They attracted media attention. Josh's sweet face was everywhere -- the face of an innocent child who would die because a faceless drug company said no.
Finally, Chimerix agreed to release the drug to Josh Hardy's doctors. Hardy is one of 20 other patients in a new trial for the drug. Aimee poured out her thanks in a Facebook post. "Thank you to every member of Josh’s Army. The world has heard you and because of you Josh and many others will have the opportunity to receive CMX001 (Brincidofovir) the life saving antiviral drug made by Chimerix."
It's not over for Josh. There is no guarantee that Brincidofovir will save his life. He could still die from the infection. But at least now he has a chance. And thanks to Aimee's relentless efforts, 20 other people also have a chance at recovery as well.
Can you see why Cimerix refused requests from Josh's doctors at first?
Image via Facebook