In a televised interview on Fox News, Yale epidemiology professor Dr. Harvey Risch said that he believes the hydroxychloroquine, the President Trump-touted drug, could save up to 100,000 lives if used properly to treat COVID-19
Risch insisted that the controversial drug is proven to be effective against coronavirus and safe for people to use, but lamented that it has become a political victim of a “propaganda war.”
“It’s a political drug now, not a medical drug,” Risch said. “I think we are basically fighting a propaganda war against the medical facts, and that colors not just population people, how they think about it, but doctors, as well. There are many doctors that I’ve gotten hostile remarks [from], saying that all the evidence is bad for it and, in fact, that is not true at all,” Risch said.
“All the evidence is actually good for it when it’s used in outpatient uses,” Risch added. “Nevertheless, the only people who actually see that are a whole pile of doctors who are actually on the front lines treating those patients across the country — and they are the ones who are at risk of being forced not to do it.”
Risch contended that all in all, “…75,000 to 100,000 lives would be saved,” if the drug was used widely and perhaps as a prophylactic, preventative manner.
A researcher at the Yale School of Public Health, Risch published a study into the efficacy of hydroxychloroquine in early June, and concluded that the drug should be made widely available. At the time, he said that the drug, in combination with, “…Azithromycin or Doxycycline, and probably with zinc,” could serve as a “game changer” in the fight against the pandemic.
Hydroxychloroquine was touted by President Trump early on in the pandemic, despite warnings from some public health officials that the drug’s effectiveness against COVID-19 was anecdotal. Ever since, it has become a hot-button political issue.
After fast-tracking approval in March, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration pulled its emergency use authorization in June after studies showed it was ineffective and potentially dangerous. One of the major studies causing concern though, was retracted after inaccuracies were found in the data the study was based upon.
Since then, a new study conducted by the Henry Ford Health System found that “…treatment with hydroxychloroquine cut the death rate significantly in sick patients hospitalized with COVID-19, and without heart-related side-effects.”
Published July 2, the Henry Ford study reported that, “In a large-scale retrospective analysis of 2,541 patients hospitalized between March 10 and May 2, 2020 across the system’s six hospitals, the study found 13% of those treated with hydroxychloroquine alone died compared to 26.4% not treated with hydroxychloroquine.
None of the patients had documented serious heart abnormalities; however, patients were monitored for a heart condition routinely pointed to as a reason to avoid the drug as a treatment for COVID-19. Patients treated with hydroxychloroquine at Henry Ford met specific protocol criteria as outlined by the hospital system’s Division of Infectious Diseases.
The vast majority received the drug soon after admission – 82% within 24 hours and 91% within 48 hours of admission. All patients in the study were 18 or over with a median age of 64 years; 51% were men and 56% African American.”