In another era, what happened Wednesday might have been viewed simply as good news. Two companies, Regeneron Pharmaceuticals and Eli Lilly, have independently developed therapeutic drugs, called monoclonal antibodies, that in preliminary testing appear to reduce symptoms for coronavirus patients. They applied for emergency use authorization from the Food and Drug Administration.

The positive development immediately became entangled in election-year politics, with President Trump repeatedly making false and exaggerated claims about the new therapeutics. He called them a cure, which they’re not. He said he was about to approve them — a premature promise given that the FDA’s career scientists are charged with reviewing the applications.

This has been the 2020 pattern: Politics has thoroughly contaminated the scientific process. The result has been an epidemic of distrust, which further undermines the nation’s already chaotic and ineffective response to the coronavirus.

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