Over the last few weeks, two states (Ohio and Minnesota) reversed prior regulations that had effectively banned hydroxychloroquine for the treatment of COVID-19 patients. I suspect we’ll see more of this sort of thing in the months to come, although unfortunately, the change in attitude towards the drug is coming just short of too late.
I first heard of chloroquine from a Ph.D. (not in the medical field) whose university’s School of Medicine was involved in the presentation of a paper entitled “An Effective Treatment for Coronavirus (COVID-19).” The summary of this paper reads as follows:
Recent guidelines from South Korea and China report that chloroquine is an effective antiviral therapeutic treatment against Coronavirus Disease 2019. Use of chloroquine (tablets) is showing favorable outcomes in humans infected with Coronavirus including faster time to recovery and shorter hospital stay. US CDC research shows that chloroquine also has strong potential as a prophylactic (preventative) measure against coronavirus in the lab, while we wait for a vaccine to be developed. Chloroquine is an inexpensive, globally available drug that has been in widespread human use since 1945 against malaria, autoimmune and various other conditions.
The paper is dated March 13 of this year. My Ph.D. friend started writing about the drug and the aforementioned paper on March 17. On the 18th, he did some analysis of his own, using data from 234 countries that demonstrated a strong correlation between countries with a high incidence of malaria (and that ostensibly had a high use of chloroquine in their populaces) and an extremely low incidence of COVID-19. I was feeling pretty hopeful.
Then, on March 19, President Donald Trump mentioned the drug as a possible “game changer” to treat the virus. A virtual firestorm ensued in the media and among Democrats, blasting the President for promoting false information, giving false hope to the American people, and perhaps even getting them killed. Since then, everyone, it seems, from the WHO to the CDC has suggested at one time or another that the drug is ineffective and perhaps even dangerous for the treatment of COVID-19. Dozens of studies around the world were done on the drug. Those studies that were positive concerning its efficacy treating COVID-19 were largely ignored in the U.S. This was still the case even after the New England Journal of Medicine retracted two negative studies for using a shoddy database.
Scientists have known since at least 2005 that chloroquine is a “potent inhibitor of SARS coronavirus.” What was not known, or certainly not proved, was whether it was an inhibitor of the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19.
That may be changing, as more and more studies are now concluding that hydroxychloroquine is indeed beneficial to COVID-19 patients. Virologist Steven Hatfill, adjunct assistant professor at George Washington University Medical Center, recently wrote this in RealClearPolitics:
Two recent, large, early-use clinical trials have been conducted by the Henry Ford Health System and at Mount Sinai showing a 51% and 47% lower mortality, respectively, in hospitalized patients given hydroxychloroquine. A recent study from Spain published on July 29, two days before Margaret Sullivan’s strafing of “fringe doctors,” shows a 66% reduction in COVID mortality in patients taking hydroxychloroquine. No serious side effects were reported in these studies and no epidemic of heartbeat abnormalities.
Hatfill goes on to ask why these results aren’t being widely reported. I think we all know why: The media and the Democrats managed to negatively politicize a drug that could have been helpful to COVID-19 patients. Their hatred of Trump has overshadowed everything else. The actions of authorities in Ohio and Minnesota in reversing their positions on the use of hydroxychloroquine is evidence that some are finally realizing what happened.
My guess is that eventually, the rest of the states, the CDC, the WHO, and everyone else who torpedoed this drug since last March will also reverse their positions. But sadly, as I said, it will be just short of too late.
This is Brian Myers with your (rather lengthy) Caffeinated Thought of the Week.