As much as the President is constantly criticized for endorsing hydroxychloroquine, a drug and anti-parasite that treats and prevents malaria, this may have just saved one woman’s life. A Democratic representative Karen Whitsett in Detroit, Michigan, is crediting President Trump for this recommendation. She began suffering from Coronavirus, having tested positive, and sought treatment for it March 18. She began taking hydroxychloroquine on March 31. She states she would likely have not received the drug had the President not publicized it so greatly.
“It has a lot to do with the President … bringing it up,” Whitsett said to the Detroit Free Press. ”He is the only person who has the power to make it a priority.” She then continued to say it was less than two hours before the drug began to relieve her of Coronavirus symptoms, which included shortness of breath and swollen lymph nodes. She also said she felt as if she had a sinus infection and a headache.
She then said she believes the President saved her life. “I do thank him for that,” she added. Because of President Trump, Gov. Andrew Cuomo has agreed to provide it to thousands of seriously ill patients in New York hospitals in combination with Zithromax. A state Health Department official said the DOH has shipped doses of hydroxychloroquine to 56 hospitals across New York, distributing enough “to treat 4,000 patients to date.”
“There has been anecdotal evidence that it is promising, that’s why we’re going ahead, doctors have to prescribe it. There are some people who have pre-existing conditions where it doesn’t work, or they’re taking medication that’s not consistent with this treatment, but anecdotally it’s been positive,” Gov. Andrew Cuomo said during a press briefing in Albany.
“We have multiple types of treatments, studies underway to see what’s working best. Many of our patients are receiving Hydroxychloroquine as part of those treatment regimens,” said Dr. Eric Wei, vice president and chief quality officer for NYC Health & Hospital.
Medical experts say the drug should only be prescribed for serious cases of Coronavirus being that it is a drug used for the treatment of other maladies and they would like to prevent any shortages. Dr. Anthony Fauci, a leader of the President’s Coronavirus task force, has cautioned against overly optimistic hope on the drug as an actual treatment to Coronavirus until there’s randomized control groups to prove its efficacy.
Medical groups have said evidence about hydroxychloroquine is “contradictory” but worth experimenting with during a public health crisis to treat very sick patients.
“We believe that in urgent situations like a pandemic, we can learn while treating by collecting real-world data. There are in vitro studies that suggest that hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine have activity against SARS-CoV-2019, the virus that causes COVID-19.” Said Dr. Kevin Wilson, chief of guidelines and documents at the American Thoracic Society.
There have also been clinical trials being conducted to see whether the drug can help block transmission. NYU Langone Medical School is conducting a random trial with a $9.5 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates foundation. Researchers are enrolling 2,000 adult volunteers at six sites, recruiting people who lack any COVID-19 symptoms but have been in close contact with others who have a confirmed or pending diagnosis.
On a random basis, the trial participants will receive either hydroxychloroquine or a placebo pill — vitamin C — every day for two weeks. Each day during the 14-day period and then again on Day 28, the participants will swab their nasal passages and send the samples to researchers to detect potential COVID-19 infection. If successful, the strategy could give health officials a much needed boost in slowing person-to-person transmission.
It is a worthy experiment to try to save lives and we have President Trump to thank. Time is of the essence.