March 21, 2020 – President Trump has shown true leadership in his approach to allow an “off label” approach in the use of drugs for the treatment of COVID-19.  In particular, Hydroxychloriquine (HCQ) which has a seventy-year record of being safe and effective in the treatment of malaria.  It has evolved also into a therapeutic agent for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis and lupus.  Likewise, aspirin evolved from being an analgesic to being used in the treatment of heart disease by thinning a patient’s blood and preventing clots.  The point is drugs and their uses evolve.  A peer review study done in France by world famous infectious disease specialist, Dr. Didier Raoult, and published in the International Journal of Antimicrobial agents showed very promising results in treating and reducing the duration of COVID-19 with HCQ.  https://www.connexionfrance.com/French-news/French-researcher-in-Marseille-posts-successful-Covid-19-coronavirus-drug-trial-results

Dr. William Grace a top oncologist at Lenox Hill Hospital concurs with the findings, saying the positive therapeutic results of these findings would be 1 in 10,000 of it happening by chance. https://www.foxnews.com/media/malaria-drugs-touted-by-trump-can-work-against-coronavirus-top-doc-tells-laura-ingraham.amp  Patients worldwide are being treated with HCQ and combinations of HCQ and other drugs such as Azithromycin and zinc.  Countries such as Great Britain are recognizing the importance of HCQ and have banned its export. https://www.pharmaceutical-technology.com/comment/parallel-export-covid-19/

Damping President Trump’s comments was Dr. Anthony Fauci the head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID).  He alluded to Dr. Raoult’s work calling in “anecdotal.”  I understand and respect Dr. Fauci’s work in the public health field but also remind the public that most of science as we know it today begins with anecdotal and theoretical ideas.  What is important here is that HCQ has a long and safe history.  Dr. Fauci’s call for a large double-blind placebo study to evaluate the efficacy of HCQ in the treatment of COVID-19 is correct but not at the expense of dismissing HCQ efficacy as anecdotal.  Concurrent with Dr. Fauci’s “study” should be a gathering and sharing of all patient information worldwide when they have been treated with HCQ as a therapeutic agent.  

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Federal and State agencies should prepare themselves for real time evaluation of HCQ and have in place a protocol for its manufacturing and distribution.  President Trump has taken advice from a host of doctors, epidemiologists, scientists and public health officials.  Dr. Fauci and others may choose to dampen and disagree with the President’s approach while other advisors seemingly have not.

Finally, the President’s comments and leadership have to be judged in the totality of this country’s experience with this pestilence.  As such he should be applauded for his guidance, leadership and for above all offering the American people “hope.”