As professor of epidemiology at Yale School of Public Health, I have authored over 300 peer-reviewed publications and currently hold senior positions on the editorial boards of several leading journals. I am usually accustomed to advocating for positions within the mainstream of medicine, so have been flummoxed to find that, in the midst of a crisis, I am fighting for a treatment that the data fully support but which, for reasons having nothing to do with a correct understanding of the science, has been pushed to the sidelines. As a result, tens of thousands of patients with COVID-19 are dying unnecessarily. Fortunately, the situation can be reversed easily and quickly.
I am referring, of course, to the medication hydroxychloroquine. When this inexpensive oral medication is given very early in the course of illness, before the virus has had time to multiply beyond control, it has shown to be highly effective, especially when given in combination with the antibiotics azithromycin or doxycycline and the nutritional supplement zinc.
- As a result, tens of thousands of patients with COVID-19 are dying unnecessarily.
- An inexpensive and be highly effective treatment, especially when given early: Hydroxychloroquine in combination with the antibiotics azithromycin or doxycycline and zinc.
- The article, “Early Outpatient Treatment of Symptomatic, High-Risk COVID-19 Patients that Should be Ramped-Up Immediately as Key to the Pandemic Crisis” was published in the American Journal of Epidemiology (AJE). It analyzed five studies, demonstrating clear benefits and safety of this treatment.
- Other studies include:
- an additional 400 high-risk patients treated by Dr. Vladimir Zelenko, with zero deaths;
- four studies totaling almost 500 high-risk patients treated in nursing homes and clinics across the U.S., with no deaths;
- a controlled trial of more than 700 high-risk patients in Brazil, with significantly reduced risk of hospitalization and two deaths among 334 patients treated with hydroxychloroquine;
- and another study of 398 matched patients in France, also with significantly reduced hospitalization risk.
- “Natural experiments:” northern Brazil state of Pará used hydroxychloroquine to reduce deaths.
- Hydroxychloroquine has shown major success when used early in high-risk people but, as one would expect for an antiviral, much less success when used late in the disease course.
- Delays in waiting before starting the medications can reduce their efficacy.
- FDA concerns about the drug did not announce is that these adverse events were generated from tens of millions of patient uses of hydroxychloroquine for long periods of time, often for the chronic treatment of lupus or rheumatoid arthritis.
- The harms are minuscule compared to the mortality occurring right now in inadequately treated high-risk COVID-19 patients.