It was just a little more than a week ago that President Donald Trump touted a drug combination including the anti-malaria medication hydroxychloroquine as a possible treatment for severe cases of the coronavirus disease known as COVID-19. Now, reports are beginning to surface showing that the medication could indeed be a “game-changer.”
A report from One America News Network (OAN) published Wednesday revealed that several individuals said they believed hydroxychloroquine saved their lives after complications from a coronavirus diagnosis left them fearing the worst.
Take a look at OAN’s report for yourself:
Could it work?
According to The New York Times, a small study done in China did show that coronavirus patients given the drug saw improvement, but it was only given to those who were mildly or moderately ill, not to severely ill patients. Still, in the Chinese study, patients recovered faster and were less likely to become seriously ill when they were given hydroxychloroquine, the Times reported.
Some experts have suggested that taking hydroxychloroquine might even prevent users from getting COVID-19 altogether, according to ClickOnDetroit.com, but studies have not been done to test the validity of this hypothesis yet.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved hydroxychloroquine and a sister drug, chloroquine, on Sunday for use to treat seriously ill coronavirus patients when a clinical trial or other treatments were not available, The Hill reported.
Some doctors have also combined chloroquine or hydroxychloroquine with the antibiotic drug azithromycin, mentioned in OAN’s report, to help ward off secondary bacterial infections like pneumonia. But that combination has not yet been tested in studies or trials, as Michigan’s NPR affiliate noted.
Do we have enough?
One caveat to the use of hydroxychloroquine in the U.S. is that thousands of people already take the drug for a number of autoimmune diseases like lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, and Sjogren’s syndrome, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
With the federal government stockpiling the medication for use with the coronavirus, some who take it regularly have said they’ve been unable to get their much-needed prescriptions filled or have had delays in doing so. Indeed, the FDA has reported that the drugs are now in shortage, and manufacturing has been ramped up to deal with increasing demand, The Hill reports.
What’s more, patients who were already taking the drugs have compromised immune systems, and may be at increased risk for contracting COVID-19 and developing serious complications without their medication.
These drugs may be a key to lowering coronavirus deaths, but we need to keep those already taking them protected, too. It looks like the Trump administration has a slippery slope ahead.