Coronavirus: Italy Begins Mass Treatment With Chloroquine

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Italy has joined the League of countries that have turned to Chloroquine to stem the tide of Coronavirus in their respective countries.

According to reports from an Italian newspaper, Corriere della Sera, doctors in Rome and the wider regions of Lazio have began to prescribe combinations of Chloroquine to patients suffering Coronavirus Infection.

See Also: Lagos discharges 5 more coronavirus patients

The Region of Rome and Lazio have a combined population of 6 million people and a high rate of the Coronavirus Infection.

Dr. Pier Luigi Bartoletti, Deputy National Secretary of the Italian Federation of General Practitioners told the newspaper that everyone in both regions with early symptoms of the virus, including cough and fever is being treated with the anti-malaria drug.

Dr. Bartoletti said further that Chloroquine usage was steadily giving good results.

“The drug must be used with all the necessary precautions, it must be evaluated patient by patient. It can have side effects. But those that take it are responding really well.

“We have just understood that the virus has an evolution in two phases and that it is during the second phase, after a few days (about a week), that the situation can suddenly, in 24 or 48 hours, worsen and leads to respiratory failure requiring intensive care.

“The results that we are starting to accumulate suggest that hydroxychloroquine administered early, gives the possibility of avoiding this evolution in a majority of patients and is also helping us to prevent hospitals from filling up.” He said.

Speaking on the efficacy of Chloroquine as an effective treatment of the Coronavirus, a French Professor of Infectious Diseases, Christian Perronne told a French weekly magazine that time was being wasted in the application of Chloroquine to patients suffering from the virus.

He said the clinical trials being undertaken by the UK for example was not ethical and the results take too long to observe compared with the raging and galloping viral infection rates across the globe.

“I refused to participate because this study provides for a group of severely ill patients who will only be treated symptomatically and will serve as control witnesses against four other groups who will receive antivirals. It is not ethically acceptable to me.

We could perfectly well, in the situation we are in, evaluate these treatments by applying a different protocol. In addition, the hydroxychloroquine group (which was added to this study at the last minute), should be replaced by a hydroxychloroquine group plus azithromycin, the current reference treatment according to the most recent data.

Finally, the protocol model chosen will not provide results for several weeks. Meanwhile, the epidemic is galloping. We are in a hurry, we are at war, we need quick assessments.”

He noted that while the United States is looking to start another round of clinical trials to study the effects of the anti-malaria drug on Coronavirus, the Italians have charted their own course in the usage of the drug for thousands of infected people.

The Prof. Continues:

“Even though the overwhelming evidence from large randomized studies is still lacking, I am in favor of a broad prescription for the following reasons:

1. We have a large body of evidence showing that in vitro hydroxychloroquine blocks the virus. We also have several clinical results indicating that this product is beneficial if administered early and we have no mention that it harms or is dangerous in this infection (only one study, poorly detailed, Chinese, on 30 patients with control group, did not observe any benefits but also no harmful effects). What is the risk of administering chloroquine straight away: nothing!

2. This drug is very inexpensive

3. It is well tolerated in long-term treatment. Personally, I have successfully used it clinically in the chronic form of Lyme disease for 30 years at a dose of 200 mg or even 400 mg/day.

4. I and hundreds of other doctors are able to judge its excellent tolerance in humans. The main contraindications are severe retinal and unbalanced heart disease.

5.Cardiovascular events remain exceptional if care is taken: to proscribe self-medication – to check with the elderly taking a lot of drugs that there are no drug interactions (with long-term diuretics in particular) and that the rate of blood potassium is within the norm.

6. Apart from these precautions, the undesirable effects are minor. They are even more so as the treatment is short, which is the case against Covid-19.

It would therefore be wise to produce hydroxychloroquine in very large quantities without further delay, to make it easily accessible to infected people…

I note that Italy has just authorized the wide distribution of hydroxychloroquine on medical prescription from the start of the infection and that other countries are preparing to do the same. What are we waiting for? To have more dead?”

He concluded.

The Italian newspaper reported a decline in Coronavirus infections in Lombardy since the use of Chloroquine as treatment for the deadly virus.

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