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Does Hydroxychlorquine, The Malaria Drug, Work? Early studies suggest media overhype.

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There is a lot of expectations for hydroxychlorquine (HCQ) as a savior for this CoVid 19 pandemic. People even question why Medicine is not using this more. People know it works. But the evidence, when looked at from a science view is not as encouraging. The studies are out of France and China and are all small sample sizes. HCQ is used with Azithromycin (Z-pak).

Early studies were encouraging but on review have problems. A study on published March 17th, in Marseille France had 80 patients with only mild symptoms with 85% not having a fever(one major symptom). This suggest that the patients could of naturally cleared the virus. They were no side effects which caused discontinuing of treatment.

A Chinese study from Wuhan is also encouraging for pneumonia but not definitive. The results show that all 31 patients who received the medication showed a lessening of symptoms 24 hours earlier than the control group. Pneumonia symptoms improved in 25 of 31 patients virus 17 of 31 in the control group. Good and encouraging for pneumonia prevention. Again, it was only tested on mild infections who are free of medical issues. These patients could resolve the virus without treatment and are not at risk of hospitalization or ventilation, those in most need of help.

A second French study, in Molina France, had only 11 patients but 8 had moderate to severe symptoms with underlying health conditions. This study, after 6 days, 1 patient died and 2 were transferred to ICU with 1 patient discontinued for side effects.

Another China study showed no difference in viral clearance with or without HCQ. These studies and control groups and supports further clinical trails but do not prove the efficacy of this combo drug therapy.

My point is that 1 drug has received a lot of press delivering hope to people. But many act like this drug is the miracle all hope for. Many medicines are in small trial throughout the world, including anti-viral drugs developed at various U.S. Universities. These medicines are ID at this point by a letter initial and a number, no name yet.

The anti-virals which show the best results are already used for other virus infections. Some are HIV, Ebola, or other hard to kill virus meds. But, all these anti-viral work to stop relication (multiplying of the virus) which means is stops the virus from adding to what already is infection the body. These work , like the current extremely successful HIV combo medicines , when the patients starts early in the infection. Severely ill patients could still die as the current level of virus can overwhelm the body defense.

Science will solve this problem. Pittsburgh University Medical has been studying SARS and MERS coronovirus for years. They believe a vaccine from their research could be available in 6 months. The technical part is the SARS, MERS and CoVid 19 virus has a vital protein in common. This protein can be used to create a vaccine to stimulate antibodies production, a vaccine response.

Science is moving quickly on this problem. But, be careful of the Media over dramatization of the crisis, mostly to create better ratings through drama, emotion and hope. The media only reports a small potion of the science attacking this problem. The solution will come from these little reported studies. And much quicker than ever accomplished in the past.

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Mike Bodnar
Mike Bodnar
Admin of BarbertonJournal.com Ed: Barberton 1972. Ohio Northern University 1977 BS in Pharmacy. Retired Pharmacist. Grew up on the Northend and Crissman Park. I love Barberton and always will.

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