By Leo Goldstein | 2 May 2020
WHAT’S UP WITH THAT — This is a research article published as information for health care professionals and public officials, and for an open peer review. It is not medical advice.
I reviewed the scientific literature on hydroxychloroquine (HCQ), azithromycin (AZ), and their use for COVID-19. My conclusions:
- HCQ-based treatments are effective in treating COVID-19, unless started too late.
- Studies, cited in opposition, have been misinterpreted, invalid, or worse.
- HCQ and AZ are some of the most tested and safest prescription drugs.
- Severe COVID-19 frequently causes cardiac effects, including heart arrhythmia. QTc prolonging drugs might amplify this tendency. Millions of people regularly take drugs having strong QTc prolongation effect, and neither FDA nor CDC bother to warn them. HCQ+AZ combination, probably has a mild QTc prolongation effect. Concerns over its negative effects, however minor, can be addressed by respecting contra-indications.
- Effectiveness of HCQ-based treatment for COVID-19 is hampered by conditions that are presented as precautions, delaying the onset of treatment. For examples, some states require that COVID-19 patients be treated with HCQ exclusively in hospital settings.
- The COVID-19 Treatment Panel of NIH evaded disclosure of the massive financial links of its members to Gilead Sciences, the manufacturer of a competing drug remdesivir. Among those who failed to disclose such links are 2 out of 3 of its co-chairs.
- Despite all the attempts by certain authorities to prevent COVID-19 treatment with HCQ and HCQ+AZ, both components are approved by FDA, and doctors can prescribe them for COVID-19.
Hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) was accepted as a COVID-19 treatment by the medical community in the US and worldwide by early April. 67% of the US physicians said they would prescribe HCQ or chloroquine CQ for COVID-19 to a family member (Town Hall, 2020-04-08). An international poll of doctors rated HCQ the most effective coronavirus treatment (NY Post, 2020-04-02). On April 6, Peter Navarro told CNN that “Virtually Every COVID-19 Patient In New York Is Given Hydroxychloroquine.” This might explain decrease in COVID-19 deaths in the New York state after April 15. The time lag is because COVID-19 deaths happen on average 14 days after showing symptoms. […]