By Dick Atlee
After four intense months of reading reports, studies and analytical articles about the COVID-19 situation, I’ve found hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) to be one of the more intriguing aspects. It’s both vitally important and extremely controversial.
It’s important because a safe and effective treatment for COVID-19 would remove the aura of fear surrounding the disease. This fear has driven public policies that have encroached on what not long ago would have been considered constitutionally-protected civil liberties.
It’s controversial because a safe and effective treatment would remove the need (or at least the rush) for a coronavirus vaccine. This vaccine is proposed for all seven billion people on the planet. It is worth trillions of dollars going forward. Yet all previous attempts at a coronavirus vaccine were abandoned after they resulted in an “immune enhancement” that caused injuries and deaths in humans and test animals.
On one side of the HCQ issue are Dr. Fauci’s National Institute of Allergies and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), the World Health Organization and most of the mainstream media that follows their lead, regardless of frequent changes in direction.
On the other side are influential international virologists and thousands of doctors around the world who have been doing studies and/or curing patients using HCQ. Their protocols generally combine it with the antibiotic azithromycin (that blocks the virus’s connection to the cell) and zinc, and their successful results show a very low reported level of mortality.
The basic facts concerning HCQ are that since 1952 it has been safely used by millions for treating malaria – and subsequently for lupus and rheumatoid arthritis – and that its side effects and drug interactions – and, importantly, the protocols for avoiding them – are well known.
HCQ opponents ignore the positive studies and dismiss as “anecdotal” the widespread international success of its use by doctors. Claiming that HCQ is dangerous and ineffective, they point instead to NIH’s study of VA hospital patients, multicenter trials such as Oxford’s Recovery and WHO’s Solidarity and Australia/NZ’s REMAP, and a Lancet-published huge multinational registry analysis.
However, the Lancet-reported analysis was retracted after serious questions of fraud arose. The Recovery and Solidarity trials abruptly stopped their HCQ studies after widespread observation that their dosage of HCQ was far enough in excess of time-honored protocols that it would kill significant numbers of test subjects. The Remap study, not yet stopped, is using the same overdose. No wonder that HCQ is reported as “dangerous.”
Regarding effectiveness, experience with HCQ’s successful use has shown that its effectiveness lies in an early, prehospitalization usage that prevents disease progression. Yet the aforementioned trials have only used seriously ill hospitalized patients.
Simply looking at the design of these trials, one might be forgiven for wondering if they were designed to fail.
Doctors and nations (e.g., Turkey, India and Indonesia) around the world are saving lives using inexpensive HCQ, azithromycin and zinc. They are being ignored. It would seem to be time to cease this willful blindness and adopt demonstrably successful protocols for HCQ treatment of COVID-19.
Dick Atlee is a resident of Southwest Harbor