- The Washington Times - Tuesday, October 6, 2020

A new study has found that the drug hydroxychloroquine reduces the rate of hospitalization and death for COVID-19 outpatients.

Dr. Harvey Risch of Yale University, a study author, told The Washington Times, “The President would be an ideal candidate for HCQ and if he has not been getting it I hope that he does so soon.”

Now infected with the coronavirus, President Trump announced on May 18 that he had begun taking the anti-malaria, anti-arthritis medication as a COVID-19 preventative. He ended the regiment a few days later and is not taking it now.

Dr. Risch and three other medical doctors gathered their data from five existing randomized HCQ drug trials in the U.S., Canada and Spain. They focused on outpatients with high COVID-19 risks, such as the elderly and obese.

“HCQ was associated with a 24 percent reduction in COVID-19 infection, hospitalization or death,” the study concluded. “Hydroxychloroquine use in outpatients reduces the incidence of the composite outcome of COVID-19 infection, hospitalization, and death. Serious adverse events were not reported and cardiac arrhythmia was rare.”

Cardiac problems have been reported by doctors prescribing HCQ to hospitalized patients along with an antibiotic.

The study’s authors are four medical doctors at Yale, the University of California, Baylor University, and the Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit. The results are found on the community site MedRxiv.org. It posts studies not yet subjected to peer review and is operated by Yale University and BMJ, a health care journal.

Dr. Risch, a professor of epidemiology at Yale School of Medicine, is a public advocate for administering HCQ to outpatients.

The new study adds to the mix messages on HCQ from American and international scientists and caregivers.

Foreign clinics, most recently in India, have reported success in treating COVID-19 patients with HCQ.

But the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in June revoked its March emergency authorization to treat hospitalized COVID patients. The FDA said ongoing clinical trials show HCQ is “unlikely to be effective.” It also cited “ongoing serious cardiac adverse events.”

In August, the FDA cracked down even harder. It denied an emergency request from the Henry Ford Health System to keep administering HCQ.

The previous month, Henry Ford publicly reported that HCQ treatment “cut death rate significantly.”

Ford researchers analyzed 2,541 hospitalized patients between March and May in the system’s six hospitals. It found that 13 percent of HCQ-treated patients died compared with 26 percent not given the drug.

Ford published the study in the peer-reviewed International Journal of Infectious Diseases.

In contrast, a Sept. 30 study published in JAMA Internal Medicine found “no significant difference in infection rates in participants” who were either given HCQ or a placebo. Seeing no benefit for 132 participants in April-July timeframe, the study’s 18 doctors cut the trial short.

The Dr. Risch study focused on drug trials for high-risk outpatients.

“Rigorous randomized trials of therapy for COVID-19 in outpatients are limited,” the study says.

“However, early treatment holds considerable value, considering the benefits of preventing disease progression and hospitalization, and the potential for accessible outpatient therapy to ameliorate the extraordinary social and economic burden associated with the pandemic.”

The Center for Disease Control and Infection says that of over 200,000 U.S. COVID deaths, nearly 8,000 have died as outpatients. Over 126,000 have died as inpatients.

Dr. Risch’s aim is to reduce the need for going to the hospital with early doses of HCQ.

He told Fox News’ Laura Ingraham that HCQ has become “a political drug not a medical drug” because of fierce opposition. Since Mr. Trump endorsed the drug, the liberal media and Left activists have attacked its proponents. Ford medical systems announced they would stop talking about the drug because of constant attacks.

Dr. Risch told The Washington Times the Sept. 30 JAMA-posted study is “useless.”

“The study was so small and insignificant that adding it to our meta-analysis didn’t change anything in the second decimal digit or so,” he said. “This was a useless study that has no business being published in a journal that is supposed to represent evidence for medical policy.”

Mr. Trump offered up the news at a May 18 roundtable that he was taking HCQ.

“I happen to be taking it,” he said “A lot of good things have come out. You’d be surprised at how many people are taking it, especially the front-line workers. Before you catch it. The front-line workers, many, many are taking it.”

“I’m taking it, hydroxychloroquine,” he added. “Right now, yeah. Couple of weeks ago, I started taking it. Cause I think it’s good, I’ve heard a lot of good stories.”

The FDA has for years approved HCQ to treat malaria, Lupus and rheumatoid arthritis. On the market for over 50 years, the drug is heavily used to prevent and treat malaria in Africa and has been administered to billions of people.

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