OPINION: COVID cure silencing spells death of debate
Letter to the Editor:
Good on you Craig Kelly for speaking out about hydroxychloroquine (HCQ). It is a medicine that is worthy of debate, without our mis-advised cancel culture parliamentarians and know-alls getting a twist in their nickers.
After the Democrats failed in all their attempts to make some mud stick on Trump, they decided to discredit his handling of COVID-19 in every way possible. What they did was unbelievable, and I could discuss many of them, but for this tale it will only be about HCQ and why Mr Kelly was correct in wanting it to be discussed.
When the COVID-19 pandemic began, a search was made for suitable antiviral therapies to use as treatment until a vaccine could be produced. One drug, HCQ, was found to be the most effective and safe for use against the virus.
Following a careful regimen developed by doctors in France and the US, physicians began prescribing HCQ to patients still in the 'early phase' of COVID-19 infection.
Its effects seemed dramatic. Patients still became sick, but for the most part they avoided hospitalization. They also found that in light of the "pathological carnage", no antiviral drug could be expected to show much of an effect during this severe second stage of COVID-19.
In April 2020, an international team of medical experts published an extensive study of HCQ from more than 130,000 patients with connective tissue disorders. They reaffirmed that HCQ was a safe drug with no serious side effects. The drug could safely be given to pregnant women and breast-feeding mothers. Consequently, countries such as China, Turkey, South Korea, India, Morocco, Algeria, and others began to use it widely and early in their national pandemic response.
Trump on his doctors' advice, took HCQ (with azithromycin and zinc?), because it acted as a prophylactic if taken in the early stages of infection and possibly reduced the chances of becoming infected. It was cheap, plentiful and readily available. This would not help the Democrats' cause, nor big pharmaceuticals' lucrative vaccine profits.
Although the surgeon generals are the top of the US medical profession, Trump in 2019 appointed Dr Anthony Fauci (heaven knows why because he is a high-ranking Democrat) as the new position of US chief medical officer (CMO) to provide him with updates on "health".
The strategy promoted by Fauci was to keep early infected patients quarantined at home without treatment until they developed a shortness of breath and had to be admitted to a hospital. Then they would be given HCQ. This meant patients weren't given it until they were in the second stage. By that time, as outlined above, it was too late for HCQ to work and they died.
Facui then said that HCQ didn't work, was a dangerous drug and it killed patients. Based on his advice it was banned around the world. This resulted in an untold number of unnecessary deaths.
Was it an honest mistake on Fauci's part? Unlikely.
Fauci has known since 2005 that chloroquine, the earlier version of HCQ, was an effective inhibitor of coronaviruses. How did he know this? Because of research done by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), of which he is the director.
NIH's research on SARS - a coronavirus dubbed SARS- CoV-1 - concluded that it was effective at stopping the SARS coronavirus in its tracks. The COVID-19 bug is likewise a coronavirus, labelled SARS-CoV-2, due to its similarity to SARS. While not exactly the same virus as SARS-CoV-1, they are genetically related and both use the same host cell receptor, which is what viruses use to gain entry to the cell and infect the victim.
On August 22, 2005 the NIH published a paper with the heading "Chloroquine is a potent inhibitor of SARS coronavirus infection and spread". The researchers wrote: "We report...that chloroquine has strong antiviral effects on SARS-CoV-1 infection of primate cells. These inhibitory effects are observed when the cells are treated with the drug either before or after exposure to the virus, suggesting both prophylactic and therapeutic advantage."
But is it dangerous?
Let's look at the history of HCQ, a quinine-based drug. Quinine was "first" used in the 1790's during the England-India war. It was being fought on mosquito infested battlefields and the Brits were getting malaria. The commander tried to get his troops to take the quinine, but it was bitter… To overcome this, sugar-water and alcohol were added and it became a roaring success (today's version of it is called a gin and tonic).
The battlefield version became chloroquine, and was improved about 50 years ago to become HCQ which was safer. (Note: HCQ is a synthetically manufactured drug, developed based on the chemical structure of quinine, but does not use native quinine)
It has been used safely since then to treat malaria and a number of other ailments. In Australia it is (was?) recommended to take it if travelling to a malarial country. It requires a prescription in some countries but is an over the counter drug in others and is available on the internet.
So why did Fauci ignore his own 2005 findings that chloroquine/HCQ was safe and could be effective both as a prophylactic and therapeutic medicine?
Back to the Democrats using a runaway COVID-19 to discredit Trump. Having Trump personally take a medicine, which he correctly understood to be useful in controlling COVID-19 would not help. Draw your own conclusions.
But what is difficult to explain is why did the medical professions around the world accept what Fauci said, and ban HCQ. A few countries realised they'd been had and went back to using it. Australia didn't, and still doesn't allow it to be used, although it is unlikely they don't know about the NIH (National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, US Department of Health and Human Services) results. Maybe they will explain why to the government and all Australians.
One interesting item to finish up with, for which I have only found one source: After Slo Jo (Biden) was sworn in as president, Fauci, who now holds a senior position in his government, announced he would recommend to the new president to start using HCQ.
To sum up the above in three words: We've been screwed.
ED'S NOTE: The views above are opinions of the author and do not represent the views of The Daily Examiner.
Upon his first briefing with new president Joe Biden at the White on January 21, Dr Anthony Fauci reflected on his experience in the Trump administration, and was quoted as saying "it was very clear that there were things that were said, be it regarding things like hydroxychloroquine, that were uncomfortable because they weren't based on scientific fact.
"It wasn't just hydroxychloroquine, it was a variety of alternative-medicine-type approaches," said Fauci, who explained he didn't know who exactly was feeding Trump this information but, "It was always, 'A guy called me up, a friend of mine from blah, blah, blah'," reported Forbes.
The World Health Organisation does not support the use of hydrochloroquine as a suitable treatment for COVID-19. It announced on July 4, 2020 it had discontinued hydroxychloroquine trials, upon advice results had produced "little or no reduction in mortality of hospitalised COVID-19 patients when compared to standard of care".
"Current data shows that this drug does not reduce deaths among hospitalised COVID-19 patients, nor help people with moderate disease," a factsheet states on the WHO website.
However, it concedes "more decisive research is needed to assess its value in patients with mild disease or as pre- or post-exposure prophylaxis in patients exposed to COVID-19.
In response to MP Craig Kelly pushing his views contrary to the accepted medical advice in Australia, Prime Minister Scott Morrison stressed the national importance of ensuring public confidence in the government's vaccine strategy.
"The spread of misinformation can damage the success of the public health response during the pandemic," Mr Morrison said.
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