By Thomas Mitchell
Two doctors writing in The Wall Street Journal say a combination of two currently available drugs is helping cure coronavirus in a matter of days instead of requiring 14-day quarantines.
A recent French study used hydroxychloroquine — a malaria treatment that has been used since 1944 with little side effect — in combination with azithromycin, brand name Zithromax Z-Pak, to treat a small number of COVID-19 patients. Of those treated with the combo 100 percent were cured by the sixth day of treatment. Of those treated with hydroxychloroquine alone 57.1 percent were cured, write Dr. Jeff Colyer, a practicing physician and chairman of the National Advisory Commission on Rural Health, and Dr. Daniel Hinthorn, director of the Division of Infectious Disease at the University of Kansas Medical Center.
“A couple of careful studies of hydroxychloroquine are in progress, but the results may take weeks or longer,” the doctors report. “Infectious-disease experts are already using hydroxychloroquine clinically with some success. With our colleague Dr. Joe Brewer in Kansas City, Mo., we are using hydroxychloroquine in two ways: to treat patients and as prophylaxis to protect health-care workers from infection.”
They say their experience suggests the drug cocktail be a first-line treatment, but there is a shortage of hydroxychloroquine, which prompts the doctors to call on the federal government to immediately contract with generic manufacturers to ramp up production and release any stockpiles. A successful treatment could get laid off workers back to work and open shuttered businesses and schools.
Colyer and Hinthorn conclude: We have decades of experience in treating infectious diseases and dealing with epidemics, and we believe in safety and efficacy. We don’t want to peddle false hope; we have seen promising drugs turn out to be duds.
But the public expects an answer, and we don’t have the luxury of time. We have a drug with an excellent safety profile but limited clinical outcomes — and no better alternatives until long after this disaster peaks. We can use this treatment to help save lives and prevent others from becoming infected. Or we can wait several weeks and risk discovering we didn’t do everything we could to end this pandemic as quickly as possible.
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Is Sisolak practicing medicine without a license and violating state law? Gov. Steve Sisolak recently issued a press release announcing his order that doctors may not prescribe “two certain drugs” — chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine — to treat coronavirus patients.
In 2015 the state Legislature passed without a single nay vote a Right to Try law that states, “An officer, employee or agent of this State shall not prevent or attempt to prevent a patient from accessing an investigational drug, biological product or device that is authorized to be provided or made available to a patient pursuant to this section.” Violation of the law is a misdemeanor.
Sisolak’s stated reason for issuing the order was to prevent hoarding, but that is being done by doctors wanting to protect themselves and their families.
Two doctors wrote in The Wall Street Journal recently that the drug in question in combination with another drug has been successful in curing 100 percent of COVID-19 patients in a small number of cases. Is Sisoalk not only practicing medicine without a license, but also violating state law?
P.S.: The governor’s press release failed to include the verbiage in the actual regulation, which says, “The provisions of this emergency regulation do not apply to a chart order for an inpatient in an institutional setting …”
Pay no heed to the possibility that use of the aforementioned drugs just might keep a coronavirus patient from having to be admitted to a hospital. Isn’t one of the big fears the potential for hospitals to be overwhelmed?
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Thomas Mitchell is a former newspaper editor who now writes conservative/libertarian columns for weekly papers in Nevada. You may
email Mitchell at email@example.com. He blogs at http://4thst8.wordpress.com/.