Most of the news concerning coronavirus has been negative, and some leftist pundits have even been caught deliberately spreading lies and disinformation in order to attack President Trump’s response to the outbreak.
However, some very good news has occurred, and it comes in the form of a drug used to treat malaria in the 1940’s. It has been shown to reduce the contagious aspect of the virus in as little as six days, as well as provide effective treatment. Moreover, the drug is safe for almost everyone to use.
And today, President Trump announced that the FDA was making the drug available “almost immediately.”
Trump announced at a White House press briefing that chloroquine, a drug designed for use in malaria, has been FDA approved and will be made available by prescription “almost immediately.” He said it was one of a number of antiviral therapies to limit the symptoms of the virus that the administration is trying to get to Americans as quickly as possible.
“I have directed the FDA to eliminate rules and bureaucracy so work can proceed rapidly, quickly and fast,” he said. “We have to remove every barrier.”
Addressing potential safety concerns, Trump noted that it had been used previously in treating malaria, “so we know if things don’t go as planned, it’s not going to kill anybody.” He said it had shown “very encouraging” early results.
A drug originally developed to treat malaria is showing signs that it may also cure infections of the coronavirus, though much more testing is needed.
Researchers and virologists in France have completed a clinical trial studying the effects of hydroxychloroquine, used to treat arthritis, malaria, and other ailments, on patients with COVID-19. Researchers treated a total of 26 [other reports say 24] coronavirus patients with the drug, including six that were given the antibiotic azithromycin, as well.
The researchers released their findings in a study published on Wednesday. The results showed that all six patients treated with hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin tested negative for the virus after six days. Of the 20 treated with just hydroxychloroquine, 57.1% tested negative for the coronavirus after six days. Just 12.5% of the control group made up of 16 other patients tested negative.
“Despite its small sample size our survey shows that hydroxychloroquine treatment is significantly associated with viral load reduction/disappearance in COVID-19 patients and its effect is reinforced by azithromycin,” the study said.
Didier Raoult, an infectious disease expert from l’Institut Hospitalo-Universitaire in Marseille, led the research team that conducted the study. Gregory Rigano, an adviser to the Stanford University School of Medicine SPARK Translational Research Program, is leading a program based on Raoult’s results to study the effects of hydroxychloroquine on treating COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus.
Anthony Fauci is the leading expert in the United States on infectious diseases and has downplayed the existence of a cure and has said that many drugs are currently being tested that may lessen the severity of the coronavirus. The best medical tool doctors can hope for is a vaccine, which Fauci said is about a year to 18 months away from completion.
Rigano touted the results of the study on Fox News’s Tucker Carlson Tonight on Wednesday, claiming that hydroxychloroquine used with azithromycin is the second 100% cure for a virus ever found. Rigano also called on President Trump to “authorize the use of hydroxychloroquine against coronavirus immediately.”
The program is hosted by Tucker Carlson, whom the president often watches and calls on for advice. Carlson reportedly shifted Trump’s approach to the coronavirus, now a worldwide pandemic, by calling the disease “a very serious problem” in a March 9 monologue urging the administration and viewers not to panic but to prepare for “a painful period we are powerless to stop.”
The treatment was offered to 24 patients, who were among the first to become infected in the south east of France, and who had voluntarily admitted themselves to hospital for the process.
Patients were given 600mcg per day for 10 days. They were closely monitored, as the drug can interact with other medication, and cause severe side effects in some cases.
Professor Raoult said: “We included everyone who was in agreement [to be treated], which was almost everyone. Two towns in the protocol, Nice and Avignon, gave us [infected] patients who had not yet received treatment.
“We were able to ascertain that patients who had not received Plaquenil (the drug containing hydroxychloroquine) were still contagious after six days, but of those that had received Plaquenil, after six days, only 25% were still contagious.”
Chloroquine phosphate and hydroxychloroquine have previously been used to treat coronavirus patients in China, in ongoing Covid-19 clinical trials.
Kaletra, a US-based antiviral drug normally used to treat HIV, is another medicine that is being tested in the fight against Covid-19.
US academic study concurs
A new academic study, published on Friday March 13 by US scientific researchers, also said that chloroquine appeared to be an effective treatment, and appears to align with the findings in France.
It said: “Use of chloroquine (tablets) is showing favorable outcomes in humans infected with Coronavirus including faster time to recovery and shorter hospital stay…
“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…[it] can be prescribed to adults and children of all ages.
“It can also be safely taken by pregnant women and nursing mothers [and] has been widely used to treat human diseases, such as malaria, amoebiosis, HIV, and autoimmune diseases, without significant detrimental side effects.”
Researchers worldwide are continuing to work on developing a vaccine against Covid-19.
So far, no country – nor the World Health Organisation (WHO) – has officially published treatment measures against Covid-19, but in China and South Korea, guidelines already outline the use of chloroquine as an “effective treatment”, the study report said.