Coronavirus ‘testing czar’ inexplicably contradicts Trump on hydroxychloroquine: ‘no medical evidence suggesting that it’s effective’

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The public health official in charge of implementing nationwide coronavirus testing protocols has publicly dismissed the use of hydroxychloroquine to treat the virus, in direct contradiction of President Donald Trump.

In a Sunday interview with NBC News’ Chuck Todd, Adm. Brett Giroir, a four-star officer with the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps and pediatrician, said flatly he could not “recommend” use of the antimalarial drug to treat COVID-19 patients.

He also said it was time to “move on” from discussing it because there is no medical evidence suggesting that it’s effective.

In an obvious attempt at baiting Giroir, Todd asked if he thought the president’s continued promotion of the drug as a treatment for coronavirus was “a danger to public health,” the public health officer initially demurred.

Noting that the drug appeared promising “at first,” additional studies have not provided substantial evidence that it works.

“At this point in time, we don’t recommend that as a treatment,” he told Todd, adding that steroids and Remdesivir appear to be better choices.

As for “hydroxychloroquine, I can’t recommend that,” he added.

“The evidence just doesn’t show hydroxychloroquine is effective right now,” Giroir continued, further discussing public health and safety guidelines.

“I think we need to move on from that and talk about what is effective,” he said.

Watch:


(Source: NBC News)

His contradictory comments come as President Trump continues to tout HCQ as a potential treatment. It also comes after researchers and experts have touted the drug’s benefits in treating COVID-19.

Late last month, Dr. Harvey Risch, a Yale epidemiologist at the university’s Molecular Cancer Epidemiology Laboratory who has studied the effects of HCQ in treating COVID-19, accused White House coronavirus task force member Dr. Anthony Fauci of running a “misinformation campaign” against the drug.

After writing in a Newsweek op-ed that hydroxychloroquine is “the key to defeating COVID-19,” he told Just The News that Fauci “has been maintaining a studious position that only randomized controlled trial evidence has any value and everything else he calls anecdotal.”

“The crucial issues are (a) early treatment of (b) high-risk (c) outpatients with (d) HCQ plus zinc, [azithromycin], doxycycline etc. for (e) hospitalization or mortality outcomes,” Risch said. “Dr. Fauci, in citing all of the studies without qualification, smeared all over points (a)-(e).

Last week, several physicians met in Washington, D.C., for a “White Coat Summit” last week in which they also championed the effectiveness of the low-cost antimalarial after having successfully treated patients with it.

“Any study that says hydroxychloroquine doesn’t work is fake science!” said Dr. Stella Immanuel of Rehoboth Medical Center in Houston, Texas. “I want them to show me how it doesn’t work. How is it going to work for my 350 patients? They are all alive! Then somebody says it doesn’t work? Guys, all them studies: fake science.”

As for Giroir’s assertion that the drug has not shown promise, research published just last month says otherwise.

Scientists at the Henry Ford Health System in Michigan said that some patients treated with HCQ before acute symptoms started were far less likely to die from COVID-19.

“Overall crude mortality rates were 18.1% in the entire cohort, 13.5% in the hydroxychloroquine alone group, 20.1% among those receiving hydroxychloroquine plus azithromycin, 22.4% among the azithromycin alone group, and 26.4% for neither drug,” they wrote.

“For hydroxychloroquine to have a benefit, it needs to begin before the patients begin to suffer some of the severe immune reactions that patients can have with Covid,” said Dr. Marcus Zervos, division head of infection disease for Henry Ford Health System.

In April, Chinese researchers also found that the drug helped treat patients with mild symptoms of the disease. They found that patients treated with the antimalarial saw their coughs, fever, and pneumonia all improve.

In all, some 62 studies have confirmed the effectiveness of HCQ, especially when the drug is administered early on.

Interestingly, in 2005 Dr. Anthony Fauci, the country’s leading immunologist, published a paper touting the benefits of the drug in the early stages of treating a coronavirus disease.

https://twitter.com/heathertappel/status/1287999153386266629

He also expressed encouragement when a combination of drugs was used to treat the MERS outbreak in 2013, which originated in the Middle East.

“The next time someone comes into an emergency room in Qatar or Saudi Arabia, you would have drugs that are readily available. And at least you would have some data,” he said. He added that “if I were a physician in a hospital and someone were dying, rather than do nothing, you can see if these work.”

However, in early April he pushed back on suggestions that HCQ could at least be tried in willing patients.

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Jon Dougherty

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