Trump is scooping up the world’s remdesivir. It’s a sign of things to come

onald Trump has called Covid-19 a hoax, encouraged his followers to take hydroxychloroquine and threatened to cut all ties between the US and the World Health Organization. He has predicted that coronavirus will disappear one day, like a miracle, organised indoor rallies with no masks during the height of the pandemic and encouraged public health officials to slow down testing, because carrying out tests results in a larger number of confirmed cases. He has praised scientists for developing an HIV/Aids vaccine (which doesn’t exist), been accused of stealing 20 ventilators from Barbados and taking face masks from Germany and France.

In this wild west moment in international relations, Trump boasted this week that the US had bought the world’s entire supply of remdesivir, the antiviral drug produced by the US biotechnology company Gilead. Remdesivir is one of the few proven medications for treating Covid-19 patients. Though low- and middle-income countries can still produce their own generic versions of the drug, European and other high-income countries are not able to buy remdesivir or produce it for three months. Fortunately the UK and Germany have stockpiled enough of the drug to treat all the patients who need it.