Dr. Harvey Risch, an epidemiologist at Yale, disputes that hydroxychloroquine should be "widely available and promoted for prescription by physicians". In an article published by Oxford University Press, aided by the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, he explains why it is essential that scientists shouldn't only "stand by" while knowing the drug's efficacy and potential.
In the article, Risch says that the combination of hydroxychloroquine and the antibiotic azithromycin has been widely distorted in both clinical and media reports. He also contends how five significant studies, counting two controlled trials, have shown considerable and meaningful outpatient treatment competence.
According to Risch, a combination of hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin, preferably with zinc, should be used as a standard outpatient regimen. He says that the drug combination has been used as the "standard of care" in more than 30,000 elderly coronavirus patients with several comorbidities.
Furthermore, he argues that an estimated proportion of patients diagnosed with cardiac irregularities accountable to the drug is 47/100,000, which is less than 20 percent, compared to approximately 10,000 of Americans dying each week because of COVID-19.
He says that in the meantime, the drug combo could help "until something better arrives". Risch says it could be remdesivir or another form of therapy. Whatever it could be, he believes that the drug could immensely help others while other clinical trials are still being held.
Varied Opinions on Hydroxychloroquine
There are two sides when it comes to viewing how the antimalarial drug, hydroxychloroquine, fares in the treatment of coronavirus patients. In a study, researchers from Columbia University compared more than 800 patients treated with the malaria drug hydroxychloroquine to more than 560 who got supportive care. Furthermore, they found no evidence of benefit from the malaria drug being widely promoted for COVID-19.
The drug has previously received considerable attention after US President Trump touted it as a "game-changer". In May, he admittedly took hydroxychloroquine and zinc after Katie Miller, Vice President Mike Pence's Press Secretary, tested positive for the coronavirus.
On the other hand, Dr. Anthony Cardillo, a physician from Los Angeles, contests that every patient he's prescribed the drug to became symptom-free within eight to 12 hours of taking the medication. Moreover, he concludes that resolution in symptoms, even for severely-ill patients, is definitely apparent with hydroxychloroquine.
Clinical Trials Put on Hold Yet Many are Still Believers
The antimalarial drug used for treating COVID-19 patients has been under a lot of speculation lately. Just last week, the WHO suspended global trials on using the medicine as a treatment for COVID-19. Due to many claiming that the drug posed risks for heart conditions and could even cause death, officials figured it would be best to put a halt on the drug's usage temporarily.
Yet, despite the WHO call for halting trials, a group of Oxford University researchers claim that they will still continue their trial of the anti-malaria drug on coronavirus patients.
The United Kingdom's Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency says they did not see any safety issues with the Recovery Trial, which involved more than 10,500 COVID patients under the NHS.
The Recovery Trial has been deemed as safe since the drug is being randomly given to patients with different degrees of illness. Furthermore, it is also compared to a control group.