MYSTERY surrounds why an anti-malaria drug is not being tested as a Covid-19 treatment in combination with zinc, which doctors say is crucial for efficacy.
As we reported recently, President Trump revealed he was taking hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) alongside zinc after reports that many doctors are doing the same to help ward off Covid-19.
Criticism of the President rose sharply after a non-randomised study published in the Lancet said that HCQ provided no benefit to hospitalised Covid-19 patients while being linked to increased deaths.
What the mainstream media did not point out is that the Lancet study failed to test HCQ with zinc. Other experts have found zinc to be vital for efficacy in this context.
Zinc, available as an over-the-counter supplement, has long been seen as an immune-system booster that helps develop immune cells, or antibodies, and can strengthen the body’s response to a virus.
American infectious disease specialist Joseph Rahimian explained that, in relation to Covid-19, zinc ‘does the heavy lifting and is the primary substance attacking the pathogen’. HCQ is said to work as a delivery systemfor zinc in fighting coronavirus.
Ironically, the Lancet study came out at the same time as it was reported that India’s premier health body had expanded use of HCQ as a preventive for key workers following three studies showing positive results.
Conflicting reports and political axe-grinding have thickened the fog of war on this, but we know a number of things:
1 HCQ has been around for decades and is a ‘safe’ treatment for malaria and other conditions including lupus and arthritis (as the BBC has acknowledged).
2 Many doctors (and India) use HCQ as a preventive measure, as President Trump is now doing. A survey of doctors by a leading American physician staffing firm found that 65 per cent would give HCQ to their own family as a prevention or treatment. The UK is now conducting trials into whether HCQ can help prevent Covid-19. Results are not expected before the end of the year, although there will be results sooner from similar trials in the US.
3 International experience suggests HCQ can be effective in tackling Covid. Reports from France, Italy and Spain point to positive results from the use of HCQ, while a number of other countries are seeing success including Turkey, Costa Rica, Algeria, Belgium and Bahrain. This month a Shanghai-based doctor reported that, in China, a combination of zinc, hydroxychloroquine and the antibiotic azithromycin ‘has been able to save coronavirus patients’.
4 Many prominent Americans are taking HCQ to treat Covid-19 (and recovering) even as opponents attack President Trump for following the lead of many doctors. Hall of Fame rock star David Bryan, best known as the keyboardist for Bon Jovi, tested positive and was treated with HCQ, among other things. By late April, he was said to have recovered. Former Democratic presidential candidate Amy Klobuchar has now admitted her husband was treated with HCQ after he contracted coronavirus. After his rapid recovery, Senator Klobuchar said (through gritted teeth): ‘I believe he did briefly take that drug.’
Sadly it doesn’t seem to be the priority of most mainstream journalists, and some in the scientific community, to report the facts on HCQ in a responsible manner. As political commentator Scott Adams recently pointed out, the corporate news (CNN, Fox News etc) has no credibility when it comes to reporting on pharmaceuticals. In this context, this may be partly due to politics, but it is also a result of their financial stake in drug advertising.
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of The Duran.