Is The Tide Shifting On Hydroxychloroquine?

‘It Sickened Me To My Stomach’

As millions of Americans continue to battle Covid-19, a chorus of voices in the medical community has emerged to challenge the mainstream view that hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) is ineffective as a Covid-19 treatment.

Experts across the country calling for the release of HCQ to treat the virus have been joined by elected officials and other personalities who have recovered from the disease, and want to share their personal experience with hydroxychloroquine.

Their testimonials run counter to the toxic narrative emanating from the FDA, Dr. Anthony Fauci, Democratic congressmen, media personalities and other pundits intent on trashing the drug as “dangerous” and “unproven.”

Michigan Democrat Rep. Karen Whitsett, who is African-American, told Fox News she was so ill with the Covid virus that she had “hit rock bottom.”

“At the same time,” she said, “the governor of the state of Michigan had put an executive order in place, restricting hydroxychloroquine and I was not able to get it. So, you can imagine the frustration, the scariness. I was afraid for my life. It sickened me to my stomach to have to use my title as a state representative in order to even get tested.”

Had the president not publicized and praised HCQ, Rep. Whitsett said, she doubts she would have made strenuous efforts to obtain the drug after running into obstacles trying to get her prescription filled.

“[My recovery] had a lot to do with the president… I believe he saved my life,” Whitsett said to the Detroit Press. “I do thank him for that.”

She called for an end to the partisan attacks on President Trump, saying she believes politics needs to be “set aside” in a pandemic. “Right now, everyone needs to get behind the president of the United States…We need to be working to save people. Whatever your party is, that is neither here nor there at this time. Right now we are human beings in the United States of America and we need to unite.”

Whitsett’s courage in placing humanity over politics and in voicing her gratitude to the president—an event that received national attention—landed her in hot water fellow Detroit Democrats. “They voted unanimously to censure her,” and to penalize her by withholding their endorsement for the next election, wrote the Detroit Press.

Overriding Partisan Politics

In another instance of an elected official allowing his humanitarian instincts to override partisan politics, Democratic NY City Councilman Paul Vallone told the NY Post that hydroxychloroquine saved his life, after a near-fatal bout with Covid-19 in March.

“I couldn’t breathe, very weak, couldn’t get out of bed. We were in panic mode because I didn’t have a lot of immune response,” Vallone said. “I needed something to stay alive. At that time, there was only fear and panic. President Trump offered hope in a possible treatment when there was nothing else.

“My doctor prescribed HCQ along with a standard Z-pack. The pharmacy had the drug.  I began taking it and within two to three days I was able to breathe,” Vallone told The Post. “Within a week I was back on my feet.”

Vallone had gone public with his diagnosis back in March but downplayed the severity of his symptoms. In actuality, his initial prognosis was particularly grim, as he also suffers from an auto-immune disease that attacks his lungs.

“With my sarcoidosis and then my COVID symptoms, HCQ basically saved me. For that my family will always be thankful,” he said.

Vallone’s brother Peter, a former City Councilman and a current civil court judge in Queens, says he became convinced of the drug’s efficacy after witnessing his brother’s recovery.

“I guess all those doctors who are prescribing it have it right, Judge Vallone said. “This drug is already on the market and the patent is up so it’s cheap. A new drug won’t be. So big money does not want this drug to be used. Always follow the money.”

Minnesota Lifts Restrictions on HCQ

This past week Minnesota became the second state to void regulations that ban hydroxychloroquine for use by Covid-19 patients, clearing the way for doctors to prescribe the drug as they deem fit.

Coming two weeks after the Ohio Board of Pharmacy enacted a similar reversal of its ban of the drug, the decision was hailed by local health care advocates.

“We are pleased that Governor [Tim] Walz lifted his March 27 Executive Order restricting the use of chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine,” said Twila Brase, president of Citizens’ Council for Health Freedom.

Walz retracted his March regulation which ordered the Board of Pharmacists to instruct pharmacists to refuse to honor hydroxychloroquine prescriptions unless the diagnosis was “appropriate.” This meant that the prescription had to specify the drug was intended for malaria, arthritis, lupus or other FDA-approved purpose. If it was for use in Covid-19, pharmacists were instructed not to fill it.

Who knows how many patients suffering from Covid-19 were left to die while this regulation remained in place?

While Governor Walz did not reveal his motive for voiding the earlier regulations, observers note the mounting anger at the grassroots level that patients are being abandoned to illness and death, while millions of doses of HCQ rot in the heat in federal warehouses.

Walz’s decision suggests that some leaders are starting to feel morally uncomfortable as the government stands between suffering patients and a drug that more and more experts say has the potential to save them.

Survivors Thank the President

Former NFL star player Mark Campbell told Fox News the highly infectious disease had knocked him out. A trip to the hospital as his fever shot up resulted in him being sent home to quarantine for 14 days. “They told me my temperature was normal. I was like, “Really? It’s normal?

He went home and quarantined. After two weeks of worsening symptoms, he was desperately sick.

“For me, it was a gradual decrease of lung capacity with pneumonia-like symptoms. Soon I couldn’t take a deep breath without a coughing spasm. On the way to the hospital, I kept glancing at my wife’s face and the fear I saw there scared me more than anything else.

“At that time I had a hard time pronouncing [hydroxychloroquine].  I just knew it as the malaria drug President Trump was praising.” After a couple of days in isolation with no improvement, Campbell mustered up the strength to ask his doctor if he could take it. “Ok,” she said. “We’ll administer that today.’

“That was the turning point for me,” Campbell recalled in the interview.

Campbell with a group of survivors including Rep. Whitsett and her husband were invited to the White House to meet with President Trump and Vice President Pence. In the televised meeting, they described their respective bouts with Covid-19. Several recalling how a fear of impending death gripped them as their illness worsened, until HCQ was administered and they began to respond positively.

“Mr. President, I think I can speak for all the people here in saying we applaud and thank you for all your efforts. We really appreciate all you’ve done,” said Campbell.

Rep. Humphrey Slams Government Response to Covid-19

Oklahoma Republican Rep. Justin Humphrey, who recently recovered from Covid-19, released a letter early this month regarding the nation’s response to the pandemic, and the use of hydroxychloroquine.

“Our nation’s response to Covid-19 should produce fear in every person who stands for freedom, liberty and the United States,” Humphrey said in the letter, adding that he personally encountered tremendous difficulty in obtaining medication when he was stricken with Covid symptoms.

“I was having extreme trouble breathing. My chest hurt, and I struggled for every breath,” the congressman shared. “I called doctors who all reported they would not test or treat me but referred me instead to the state Health Department, I [finally] found a very courageous doctor who is willing to risk her medical career to save lives. After days of suffering, I took hydroxychloroquine along with a regiment of other medications. Within two and a half hours, I was unbelievably better.”

Humphrey’s letter goes on to encourage Oklahomans “to take courage and begin treating Covid-19 with hydroxychloroquine,” despite the FDA’s opposition.

“It is critical that we address China for their war-like aggression,” writes Humphrey, “but we also must address equally the illogical domestic response to this virus.”

“A rational response would require that we compare Covid numbers and statistics to other similar viruses that have occurred in the U.S. for instance, like tuberculosis and the H1N1 flu. These viruses reveal much higher infections rates and higher fatalities, but we had no shutdowns, no masks or no massive quarantine.

“It seems irrational to destroy our economy, increase civil unrest, increase suicides, increase drug abuse including drug overdoses, increase domestic abuse and destroy our nation’s food chains for a virus with a 98% survival rate,” Humphrey noted.

“It is even more unreasonable to close churches and close schools but to allow riots, and allow one business to remain open serving thousands while demanding that small businesses close.”

Stripping Doctors of Dignity

The letter singled out as the most alarming response to the pandemic the practice of “denying doctors and patients the right to treat Covid with hydroxychloroquine.”

“Why are most of the media and Facebook shutting down reports and trying to shame doctors and patients for speaking verified truth? This is called censorship, and it is a deliberate violation of our First Amendment rights. How insane is that?” the letter demanded.

Rep. Humphrey was referencing a Washington DC summit held a couple of weeks by a group of doctors who shared educational information about Covid-19, including their endorsement of HCQ with zinc and azithromycin as a cure for the pandemic.

A video of the presentation, posted by the conservative website Breitbart News, quickly went viral, drawing close to 20 million views before the video was yanked off of Facebook, Twitter, You Tube and Google for “spreading misinformation.”

That censorship by social media giants (Big Tech) sparked outcries from many voices, who said the silencing of dissenting opinions sparked echoes of totalitarianism.

Speakers had also called for the reopening of schools, saying that data indicates that “children are not the drivers of this pandemic. We can send children back to school without fear” if proper precautions are taken,” said Dr. Robert Hamilton, a prominent pediatrician in Santa Monica, Ca.

Hamilton drew attention to the fact that in some states, the main obstacle to opening schools is posed by special interest groups. “The barrier is not going to be the science, it’s going to be the unions, the teachers groups that are going to demand money and a left-wing agenda,” he said.

Those groups, Hamilton said, “at least in my state of California, want to defund the police and shut privately funded charter schools.”

Wondrous Properties

A recent opinion piece published in Newsweek magazine by Dr. Harvey Risch, a professor of epidemiology at Yale School of Public Health, cites seven recent studies that bolster the claims of the Frontline Doctors in the video about the dramatic impact of HCQ when administered early. These include studies targeting high-risk outpatients in Brazil and France.

The Yale expert also cites the clinical findings of physicians such as Dr. Vladimir (Zev) Zelenko, a New York physician who early on has demonstrated striking success in treating high-risk outpatients with HCQ, zinc and companion medications.

The microbiology behind this “cocktail” is wondrous, experts say. In simplified terms, HCQ makes a small opening through the cell membrane so the zinc can slip inside and block the virus from replication. Zinc binds to the viral enzyme and shuts it down.

Zelenko has said that upon stumbling upon this information early in the pandemic, he immediately understood that it could save lives. He added a third drug, Z-Pack (or doxycycline) to prevent any secondary bacterial lung infection. This has come to be known as The Zelenko Protocol.

In an opinion piece in the Washington Examiner, Risch draws a distinction between two stages of Covid illness, noting that while the HCQ treatment will likely work quickly during the first stage (until day six or seven after the onset of symptoms), it is not effective in helping people who have advanced to the more serious second stage.

“At the first stage, it is a flu-like illness,” explained the epidemiologist. “That illness will not kill you. If you are a high-risk patient and begin treatment immediately, you will almost certainly be done with it in a few days.

“High risk,” he elaborated, “means you are over 60 or you have one or more chronic conditions such as diabetes, obesity, hypertension, past treatment for cancer, or are immune-compromised. High-risk patients need immediate treatment when they first show symptoms,” the expert advised.

When not treated in high-risk patients, the virus progresses, may cause severe pneumonia and attack many organs, including the heart. Many patients develop blood clots in their lungs and need mechanical ventilation. Some need kidney dialysis.

In light of this pathological onslaught, no antiviral drug including HCQ could be expected to show much of an effect during this severe second stage of Covid.  Once the cytokine storm (massive over-reaction by the immune system) has erupted, chances for recovery tragically begin to decline.

One-Size-Fits-All?

Risch explained that critics who cite multiple studies that show HCQ to be ineffective or dangerous are misleading the American public by “blurring critical distinctions.”

In a doomed “one-size-fits-all” approach, these studies conflate hospitalized patients in dire medical condition with outpatients still in the early stage of the disease.

“It is a serious and unconscionable mistake,” Risch said, “that the FDA has used inpatient data,” meaning patients hospitalized in severe condition (for whom HCQ is contra-indicated), “to block emergency use petitions for outpatient use,” for whom HCQ can be life-saving.

“With a thousand Americans dying every day from the virus, any doctor who can’t tell the difference between these two groups should not be treating Covid-19,” Risch said.

Risch has been maligned as “incompetent” and irresponsible” by public health officials such as Dr. Anthony Fauci for advocating for HCQ as a safe, effective treatment for Covid-19. He has also been harshly rebuked by a team of Yale colleagues for opposing mainstream medical opinion.

In response, Risch asks for scientific evidence that he is wrong, when the evidence about HCQ from a wealth of observational studies and frontline experience is overwhelmingly positive.

“To be clear, we’re talking about outpatient, high-risk treatment,” he stressed in an interview with the Washington Examiner. “To date, there are no [randomized, controlled] studies, none whatever, that deal with this group.”

“Show me negative evidence, in high-risk outpatients where [HCQ] was given early, show me evidence that it doesn’t work and I’ll shut up,” Risch said.

He also decried the manner in which doctors are being intimidated by their state’s Medical Licensing Board into maintaining silence about HCQ with the media, and worse, with their own patients.

“How can Americans not object to this meddling by the government into the private doctor-patient relationship?” he wondered. “How can doctors across the country not speak out about this grotesque infringement of their freedom?”

 

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Fatal Missteps

Dr. Stephen Hatfill of George Washington University Medical Center penned an eye-opening analysis in Real Clear Politics, of how early mistakes in the handling of corona virus in this country proved fatal to tens of thousands of Americans.

The article raises awareness of the critical need for federal agencies running the nation’s response to the pandemic to switch gears before untold thousands more die of Covid-19.

“When the Covid-19 pandemic began,” Hatfill writes in An Effective Covid Treatment the Media Continues to Besmirch, a search was made worldwide for suitable antiviral therapies to use as treatment until a vaccine could be produced. One drug, hydroxychloroquine, was found to be the most effective and safe for use against the virus.”

Inspired by reports out of France about the successful use of HCQ, some U.S. physicians began prescribing hydroxychloroquine to patients still in the early phase of Covid infection. The drug’s impact was reported to be dramatic. Patients still became sick, but for the most part they avoided hospitalization.

In what would prove to be a tragic misstep, the NIH-funded studies somehow became focused on giving hydroxychloroquine to late-presenting hospitalized patients. As could be expected, the studies showed HCQ was ineffective and at times hastened death.

As the pandemic began to play out, countries such as China, Turkey, South Korea, India, Morocco, Algeria, and others began to use hydroxychloroquine widely in their national pandemic response, Hatfill writes. “Doctors in these countries were safely prescribing the drug based on clinical signs and symptoms because widespread testing was not available.”

However, the NIH under Dr. Fauci chose a different path. Their strategy was to keep newly infected patients quarantined at home without treatment until they developed breathing problems and were forced to seek admission to a hospital. Only then they would they be given hydroxychloroquine.

FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn agreed to this flawed and dangerous doctrine. “This was a tragic mistake, and it was a mistake that would cost the lives of thousands of Americans in the days to come,” writes Hatfill.

The Crucial 7-Day Window

Observational studies at this time showed remarkable results if hydroxychloroquine were given to patients early, during a seven-day window from the time of first symptom onset. If administered during this timeframe, most infections did not escalate into the lethal second stage of the disease.

Several countries who had implemented early, aggressive, outpatient treatment with HCQ were able within weeks to lower the mortality rate. In striking contrast, “in Great Britain and the United States where the ‘Fauci-Hahn Strategy’ was followed, there was a much higher death rate,” notes Dr. Hatfill.

With Fauci continuing to ignore early-use data on hydroxychloroquine, Covid patients in the United States would continue to be quarantined at home and left untreated until they developed shortness of breath. Then they would be admitted to the hospital and given hydroxychloroquine often when it was too late for the drug to be effective.

Failing to understand that Covid-19 could be a two-stage disease process, the FDA withdrew its EUA for hydroxychloroquine based on flawed studies and trials that had studied only late-stage Covid patients who had received HCQ.

Out of Step, Out of Touch

In the meantime, Fauci began to promote a new antiviral compound named remdesivir, an experimental drug that can only be administered intravenously, every day for five days, and is not suitable for at-home use. We now know now that remdesivir has no effect on overall Covid patient mortality, while costing thousands of dollars per treatment.

Hydroxychloroquine, by contrast, is cheap, can be taken at home, and if the government would stop controlling supply, would be widely available. A course of therapy requires swallowing three tablets in the first 24 hours followed by one tablet every 12 hours for five days.

Evidence of HCQ’s remarkable anti-Covid properties are on display in two recent, large, early-use clinical trials, attests Hatfill; one by the Henry Ford Health System, the other by Mount Sinai. Both show an approximate 50 percent lower mortality rate in hospitalized patients given hydroxychloroquine.

In addition, a recent study from Spain published on July 29, shows a 66 percent reduction in COVID mortality in patients taking HCQ. No serious adverse effects were reported in these studies and no epidemic of heartbeat arrhythmia.

One cannot help but wonder why this groundbreaking news is not being celebrated in this country. On the contrary, it is being either hushed up or dismissed as fallacious or flawed.

How can people in positions of leadership during a pandemic be so grossly out of step?

And why the censorship? Why the relentless campaign of misinformation?