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WHY HAS HYDROXYCLOROQUINE BEEN SHUNNED?
by Leonard A. Daneman, ©2020, blogging at Paraleagalnm
(Jul. 27, 2020) — The first cases of COVID-19 came from Wuhan, China in January, 2020. Dr. Didier Raoult, a renowned French microbiologist, began antiviral trials of Hydroxychloroquine in patients March 6, 2020 which concluded, “hydroxychloroquine is efficient in clearing viral nasopharyngeal carriage of SARS-CoV-2 in COVID-19 patients in only three to six days, in most patients.” https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0924857920300996
In the United States, primary physicians were prescribing Hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) and recommended early use to stop spread of the virus (shedding) in days, at the most thirty-seven days.
March 21, 2020 — “Mr. Trump carelessly broadcast enthusiasm for the drug March 21, declaring that hydroxychloroquine and the antibiotic azithromycin “have a real chance to be one of the biggest game changers in the history of medicine.” He suggested they be put in use “immediately,” and the Food and Drug Administration authorized emergency use against covid-19.” https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/global-opinions/the-lessons-from-trumps-reckless-recommendation-of-hydroxychloroquine/2020/04/23/4626c4ce-84bc-11ea-ae26-989cfce1c7c7_story.html
March 21, 2020 — State boards of pharmacy begin restrictions on hydroxychloroquine (HCQ). Here is a list of each state’s updated policy. One concern was hoarding of HCQ putting lupus and arthritis patients at risk, but the U.S. had stockpiled millions of doses, and the therapeutic dose is for only one week. https://www.ama-assn.org/system/files/2020-04/board-of-pharmacy-covid-19-prescribing.pdf?fbclid=IwAR2f8mJ5E1QPtxaiZc-c0WOPqnjFHZecIvc_iPveKguU-E1GOWuzuw1gYcc
March 30, 2020 — FDA approves off-label use (emergency use authorization) of Hydroxychloroquine. Out-Patient success of use reported by Doctors Didier Raoult (microbiologist/virologist) and Zelenko. Private physicians note rapid elimination of the virus in out-patient quarantine. https://khn.org/morning-breakout/fda-approves-emergency-use-of-malaria-drug-trump-touted-despite-scant-evidence-that-it-works/?fbclid=IwAR0phH_Vg2nuH0hlt7nZQsXixUgIsGb7vbHOs5NrUYqD-yk747kUdqyy8DI
June 15, 2020 — FDA revokes emergency off-label use of Hydroxychloroquine. https://www.fda.gov/media/138945/download
June 16, 2020 — New York Times reports on government in-fighting over millions of hydroxychloroquine tablets put into stockpile. But, contradicting the president’s trade advisor Peter Navarro, Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar (an attorney and former president of Eli Lilly) revokes use of HCQ favoring a new drug, Remdesivir. (Remdesivir has been determined ineffective on the viral diseases it was designed for and has severe liver inflammation issues, but approved for emergency use for COVID-19. https://www.gilead.com/purpose/advancing-global-health/covid-19/about-remdesivir See also Wikipedia cited report.)
While HCQ was better known, has fewer side-effects, and costs about $20 a dose for out-patients, Remdesivir is untested and a therapeutic course costs $2,340/patient. Being intravenous, it requires expensive hospital care (an additional $13,000 from Medicare.)
“This is a Deep State blindside by bureaucrats who hate the administration they work for more than they’re concerned about saving American lives,” Peter Navarro, Mr. Trump’s trade adviser, who helped distribute 19 million hydroxychloroquine pills, fumed in an interview Monday night. Mr. Navarro insisted that the F.D.A. would have “blood on its hands” if any of those studies showed hydroxychloroquine was effective.
The article mentions Dr. Didier Raoult, a world-renowned virologist, and Dr. Zelenko, who have been reporting success prescribing hydroxychloroquine. https://www.nytimes.com/2020/06/16/us/politics/trump-hydroxychloroquine-coronavirus.html?fbclid=IwAR0utOIERdzgvP9QcLsK393lgBKi0aGu_8GK_fDUJ_q7zn6YxrC7I9yhmsw
July 6, 2020 — This is one of many press releases on the Henry Ford Health system of in-hospital clinical trials required by the FDA for use of hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin. Was Peter Navarro right after all? https://khn.org/morning-breakout/study-finds-positive-results-for-hydroxychloroquine/?fbclid=IwAR3j0at2E6CtgN3cIzKGfw2ssblrOcD9kTpUd08-zX3Ohd9KFL-MPRVblDI
The U.S. economy is still suffering from quarantine and now faces a second bill on bailouts and unemployment compensation. And, yet, Hydroxychloroquine is still denied to patients when clinical trials prove it can stop viral spread in mere days and prevent hospitalization. Instead, billions have been allocated for Remdesivir and as yet unproven vaccines.
I searched on-line for nations that approve Hydroxychloroquine for out-patient prescriptions. India permits primary physicians (does not limit to specialists) to prescribe HCQ for early treatment and its mortality rate is 0.002%. That is 20X better than 0.04% in the U.S. https://coronavirus.jhu.edu/map.html
However, the infection map shows greater transmission rates in high-population urban areas; and, India is only 30% urban compared to 80% in the United States. Adjusting to urban areas only, India still has a mortality rate 7X less than the U.S.
With 1.3 billion people, compared to 330 million in the U.S., India provides a real-world clinical trial of substantial statistical value.
Why is a $20 dose of a proven drug, Hydroxychloroquine, still barred from efficacious early treatment in favor of BILLIONS of DOLLARS spent on an unproven antiviral (Remdevisir) and rushed, untested vaccines that won’t be available until, perhaps, too late! Too late for many, already.
Leonard A. Daneman, Paralegal, Ret.