“Tens of thousands die needlessly” from not using the drug, said Dr. Harvey Risch, professor of epidemiology at Yale and director of the Molecular Cancer Epidemiology Laboratory.
Risch said in a NewsWeek article that when hydroxychloroquine is given early to a patient who is sick with the CCP Virus, before the virus has had time to multiply beyond control, it has proven highly effective, especially when given in conjunction with some antibiotics such as azithromycin or doxycycline and zinc as a nutritional supplement.
There is not an inconsiderable advantage—the drug is very low cost and easy to produce.
On May 27, Risch published an article in the American Journal of Epidemiology (AJE), the world’s leading epidemiology journal, where he analyzed five studies that show clear and significant benefits for patients treated with the drug in question.
According to Risch, since his article was published, seven more studies have shown similar benefit.
These seven studies include: 400 additional high-risk patients treated by Dr. Vladimir Zelenko, with zero deaths; four studies with a total of nearly 500 high-risk patients treated in nursing homes and clinics in the United States, with no deaths; a controlled trial of more than 700 high-risk patients in Brazil, with a significantly lower risk of hospitalization and two deaths among 334 patients treated with hydroxychloroquine; and another study of 398 paired patients in France, also with a significantly reduced risk of hospitalization.
A reverse natural experiment occurred in Switzerland. On May 27, the Swiss national government banned the outpatient use of hydroxychloroquine for the CCP Virus. By June 10, deaths from the CCP Virus increased fourfold and remained high. On June 11, the Swiss government lifted the ban, and on June 23 the death rate returned to what it had been before.
The inevitable question is why, in the face of so much evidence, isn’t it being used?
Risch answers with confidence and determination that there are two reasons:
First, he argues, the drug has become highly politicized. For many, it is seen as a marker of political identity, on both sides of the political spectrum. This is a real mistake. For medicine we must judge this drug strictly according to science and politics should not intervene.
Secondly, the drug has not been used correctly in many studies. Hydroxychloroquine has shown great success when used early in high-risk people, but, as you would expect from an antiviral, much less success when used late in the course of the disease.
Hydroxychloroquine in politics
These new results on the drug bring good news for President Trumpwho has been heavily criticized for encouraging the use of hydroxychloroquine in the treatment of the CCP Virus.
Already in March of this year at the White House the president announced, “Now, a drug called chloroquine, and some people would add, hydroxychloroquine, therefore chloroquine or hydroxychloroquine … (has shown) very encouraging initial results, very encouraging.
The wave of criticism in the media and social networks was immediate, accusing President Trump of spreading “false hope,” among other statements. “Most dangerous flim-flam: false hope and funny advice,” reported Salon., “Coronavirus treatment: Dr. Donald Trump sells snake oil and false hope,” said USA Today. “Trump is spreading false hope for a virus cure, and that’s not the only harm,”said The Washington Post.
While there are still disagreements over the use of hydroxychloroquine in treating the virus, these new findings open up the game and may put this drug at the center of new research.