The anti-hydroxychloroquine media has been full of the supposed dangers of hydroxychloroquine and its failure as a treatment for the virus. Does hydroxychloroquine work or does it not, is it safe or dangerous, and should we be using it as a treatment for the virus? Here we examine the evidence for and against it.
A New York doctor Vladimir Zelenko looked at treatments being used in China and Korea and gave it to 405 patients over 60 or with high-risk problems such as diabetes, asthma, obesity, hypertension or shortness of breath. In this high risk group he claimed to have cut hospital admission and mortality rates compared to what could be expected without treatment by 80 to 90%. https://internetprotocol.co/hype-news/2020/04/14/a-detailed-coronavirus-treatment-plan-from-dr-zelenko/
Dr Zelenko sent a letter to President Trump urging him to issue an executive order to roll out the treatment which the FDA was blocking. Trump announced that hydroxychloroquine looked like it could be a “game-changer”, and thus the politicization of hydroxychloroquine began.
Dr Fauci the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases who was supposed to be advising Trump disagreed with him and backed Gilead’s rival treatment Remdesivir. YouTube deleted a video of Dr. Zelenko talking about the treatment on his Rabbi’s channel and despite objections that there was nothing wrong with the video YouTube never reinstated it.
In this YouTube video interview with Rudy Giulliani from July 1, which hopefully will not be deleted by the time you read this, Dr. Zelenko claims 99,3% survival rate for the high-risk patients he has treated. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TFwjY0qe7ro
Professor Didier Raoult of Marseilles used a similar protocol to Dr. Zelenko without the zinc. His study with a small group using hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin showed a fifty-fold benefit. He then went on to get similar results with a much larger group of 1,061 patients. Contrary to the warnings the media had been running that hydroxychloroquine would cause heart problems, no cardiac toxicity was observed and he achieved a mortality rate of only 0.5%. http://covexit.com/professor-didier-raoult-releases-the-results-of-a-new-hydroxychloroquine-treatment-study-on-1061-patients/
The media quickly found critics who claimed that the only valid proof any treatment worked was a “gold-standard” double-blind clinical trial and dismissed Dr. Zelenko’s and Raoult’s results. Dr. Zelenko and Prof. Raoult both refused on ethical grounds to give placebos to half the patients in clinical trials and they defended their data as sufficient to show the treatment did work. They both stressed that the urgency of the situation made it necessary to act on available evidence, not clinical trials which would take months to produce results and be verified. There have subsequently been over a dozen studies which confirm that Dr. Zelenko’s and Prof. Raoult’s protocols do work.
A study from the New York University Grossman school of Medicine published in May found patients given hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin at an early stage had a lower need for hospitalization than those who were not. The addition of zinc improved the results even more. https://www.medrxiv.org/content/10.1101/2020.05.02.20080036v1.full.pdf
“I’ll tell you what. If this is me, and I am me, and I end up getting this thing, I am going to want Zinc plus Hydroxychloroquine plus Azithromycin. I would want that treatment.” commented Chris Martenson, PhD, in his video series about COVID-19 where he talks about this study. http://covexit.com/i-am-going-to-want-zinc-plus-hydroxychloroquine-plus-azithromycin-chris-masterson-phd/
Yale Professor Harvey Risch submitted a report of five trials and studies using hydroxychloroquine in the American Journal of Epistemology titled “Early Outpatient Treatment of Symptomatic, High-Risk Covid-19 Patients that Should be Ramped-Up Immediately as Key to the Pandemic Crisis. https://www.medrxiv.org/content/10.1101/2020.05.02.20080036v1.
Prof. Risch agreed that, in an ideal world, randomized double-blinded controlled clinical trials would be preferable but in the meantime “for the great majority I conclude that hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin, preferably with zinc can be this outpatient treatment, at least until we find or add something better. It is our obligation not to stand by as the old and infirm are killed by this disease and our economy is destroyed by it and we have nothing to offer except high-mortality hospital treatment. Available evidence of efficacy of HCQ+AZ has been repeatedly described in the media as anecdotal, but most certainly is not” http://covexit.com/yale-epidemiology-professor-urges-hydroxychloroquine-azithromycin-early-therapy-for-covid-19/
A Brazilian study found 4.6 times less hospitalization in patients who took hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin within seven days of infection. Professor Paolo Zanotto reported that there were “41% of deaths among those who did not choose therapy and were hospitalized against 0% among those who chose by therapy.” http://covexit.com/new-brazilian-study-shows-telemedicine-hydroxychloroquine-treatment-reduce-need-for-hospitalization/
A retrospective study of 2,541 Detroit cases showed up to 71% reduction in mortality in early treatment with hydroxychloroquine azithromycin. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijid.2020.06.099
A retrospective study of 3,737 cases in Marseille showed a reduction of 50% in mortality without any adverse effects in the Hydroxychloroquine and Azithromycin group. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tmaid.2020.101791
A meta-analysis of 105,040 cases from 20 studies in 9 countries found a reduction in mortality by up to three times in groups treated early with Hydroxychloroquine and Azithromycin: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.nmni.2020.100709
A study of 6,493 patients with COVID-19 at Mount Sinai Hospital, New York, showed that hydroxychloroquine helped to reduce mortality in hospitalized patients. . https://doi.org/10.1007/s11606-020-05983-z
On July 3 a study by a Michigan team at Henry Ford Health System found that 13 percent of patients who were given the drug early on died while 26 percent of patients who were not given the drug died. The study which included 2,541 patients was published in the International Journal of Infectious Diseases and determined that hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin provided a 71% hazard ratio reduction. “Our results do differ from some other studies. What we think was important in ours … is that patients were treated early. For hydroxychloroquine to have a benefit, it needs to begin before the patients begin to suffer some of the severe immune reactions that patients can have with COVID” said Dr. Marcus Zervos, head of infectious disease for Henry Ford Health System. https://www.ijidonline.com/article/S1201-9712(20)30534-8/fulltext
A statement from the Trump campaign hailed the study as fantastic news. “Fortunately, the Trump Administration secured a massive supply of hydroxychloroquine for the national stockpile months ago, yet this is the same drug that the media and the Biden campaign spent weeks trying to discredit and spread fear and doubt around because President Trump dared to mention it as a potential treatment for coronavirus. The new study from the Henry Ford Health System should be a clear message to the media and the Democrats: stop the bizarre attempts to discredit hydroxychloroquine to satisfy your own anti-Trump agenda. It may be costing lives.”
Also on July 3 results from another study by Dr. Takahisa Mikami and his team at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York, was published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine. The study analyzed the outcomes of 6,493 patients who had laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 in the New York City metropolitan area and found that hydroxychloroquine decreased mortality hazard ratio by 47% percent. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11606-020-05983-z
Many more studies in addition to those above also show that treating early with hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin and preferably also zinc is the key to ending hospitalization and death. https://c19study.com/
The trials that confirm Dr. Zelenko’s and Prof. Raoult’s finding have been mostly ignored or dismissed by the anti-hydroxychloroquine media. The trials that they have given attention to are those that supposedly show that hydroxychloroquine doesn’t help or even increases the death rate.
Statistics from the US Veterans hospital study (Magagnoli, 2020) showed patients who were given hydroxychloroquine died more frequently than those who did not. https://www.medrxiv.org/content/10.1101/2020.04.16.20065920v2
In this study hydroxychloroquine was only given to patients who were already seriously ill and those who were getting better without any treatment were not given it. Predictably those given hydroxychloroquine did worse than the untreated group but those conducting the study claimed it as proof that hydroxychloroquine did not work. Professor Raoult commented “In the current period, it seems that passion dominates rigorous and balanced scientific analysis and may lead to scientific misconduct. The study by Magagnoli et al is an absolutely spectacular example of this,” http://covexit.com/the-definitive-guide-to-discrediting-hydroxychloroquine-based-treatments-to-covid-19-part-1/
One of the collaborators in the trial reportedly received a $260 million grant from Gilead Sciences Inc. which produces the rival treatment Remdesivir.
The US Secretary of Veteran Affairs Robert Wilkie, acknowledged that the drug was given to veterans at their last stages of life and added “We know the drug has been working on middle-age and young veterans … it is working in stopping the progression of the disease.”
Another study that supposedly showed that hydroxychloroquine was dangerous and didn’t work came from a group that claimed to have data on hydroxychloroquine use for Covid-19 from hospitals around the world The study was published on 22 May in the Lancet medical journal. The results were immediately disputed by one of the Australian hospitals from which Surgisphere, the company which supplied the data claimed to have obtained it.
Following this a group of 140 scientists, researchers, and statisticians wrote an open letter to the Lancet and the authors of the study questioning the data used. A Guardian investigation revealed that Surgisphere was run by employees who lacked any scientific background. One was a science fiction author and fantasy artist and another was an “adult model and events hostess.” The Lancet conducted an independent investigation, retracted the study and in an interview with The New York Times, Dr. Richard Horton, the editor in chief admitted that the study should never have appeared in his journal. https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(20)31180-6/fulltext
On the basis of the flawed Lancet study the WHO suspended the hydroxychloroquine trials it was sponsoring. When the study was retracted they resumed them briefly but soon after suspended them again on the results of another faulty study, the Oxford University’s “RECOVERY Trial”.
The researchers in this trial gave patients massive doses of hydroxychloroquine without the necessary addition of azithromycin and they started treatment too late. That the RECOVERY Trial was never going to work was pointed out on the Covexit website two months before it started. http://covexit.com/uk-recovery-trial-inadequate-hydroxychloroquine-treatment-predictably-fails/”
Prof. Raoult compared the Oxford academics who carried out the hydroxychloroquine section of the RECOVERY trial to the Marx Brothers in a video interview titled “The Marx Brothers are Doing Science – the Example of RECOVERY” http://covexit.com/professor-raoult-compares-the-oxford-recovery-trial-academics-to-the-marx-brothers/
Prof. Raoult sarcastically commented that the good news that came out of the trial was that hydroxychloroquine is not toxic. The RECOVERY trial used a 2,400 mg dose on the first day compared to Dr.Raoult’s 600 mg. Even with such high dosage there were no cardiac side effects with any of the participants. Prof. Raoult recalled that “two weeks ago one was told everybody was dying because of cardiac issues. At least, this trial is good to assess the toxicity of hydroxychloroquine as they did not announce any toxicity, even at such high dosage”.
Although by now it should have been abundantly clear that hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin only worked in combination and if given early, not to patients in hospital more than seven days after infection, in April the US National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) started hydroxychloroquine trials on hospitalized patients too late, some already in emergency wards, and then abandoned the trials with the conclusion that “hydroxychloroquine does no harm but provides no benefit”. The FDA cancelled its emergency use authorization and the NIH halted their clinical trials of hydroxychloroquine
The media hostile to hydroxychloroquine successfully whipped up hysteria about its supposed dangers although it has an excellent safety record and it is not even alongside aspirin on the WHO list of the 100 most dangerous drugs. Specialists and doctors prescribing hydroxychloroquine for Rheumatoid Arthritis and Lupus have confirmed that thousands of patients are being prescribed the same dose Dr. Zelenko is giving for five days for years on end without problems.
Were the failed studies faulty because of ignorance or by design? Who gains from them? The drug companies can’t make much money on a generic drug, and they found in the media and the scientific community willing accomplices to stop its use. Gilead Sciences Inc. gives grants in addition to those mentioned above to Oxford University and the WHO. Is it possible that people in these prestigious institutions may have their integrity compromised by money, or is it mere coincidence that Gilead with their rival treatment is funding them?
Some of the media will do anything to make Trump look like a fool and these faulty trials were the perfect opportunity. The media hostile to hydroxychloroquine downplayed or cast doubt on the many successful studies and trials with hydroxychloroquine and made the most of the faulty trials as proof that the drug Trump had touted didn’t work.
For the media it seems to have been more about scoring political points and increasing their audience ratings rather than investigative reporting which uncovers the truth. For those who are dying and their families and friends as a result of this treatment not being used because of media misinformation it is lives tragically lost, and for the rest of us it is our economies sinking, businesses failing, and unemployment, poverty and suffering rising.
Hundreds of thousands of lives could be saved, and loss ruin, suffering and devastation to our economies and societies avoided if we simply started using this safe, cheap and readily available treatment. It is a ludicrous and tragic farce that because of the massive misinformation on behalf of corporate greed and political point scoring that we are not.
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of The Duran.