Hope for the coronavirus is here. We don’t have to wait for it. We don’t have to wait for a year and a half to get a vaccine developed and tested. There is an inexpensive, readily available drug which has already cured its first coronavirus patient. It is cheap, effective, and available today.
The drug, chloroquine (or hydroxychloroquine), has been used to treat malaria since 1944. It can safely be used with patients of all ages, including children. Scientists in China and South Korea began testing it on patients diagnosed with coronavirus, and discovered that it is something of a wonder drug in dealing with this disease.
China’s daily rate of new infections has dropped virtually to zero, and the entire world looks at South Korea as a model of how to respond to this virus. Perhaps the use of chloroquine has something to do with that.
South Korea has never resorted to the “incarceration in place” edicts that are keeping the American people imprisoned in their own homes while criminals are released from jail so they won’t catch the virus from other inmates.
Unlike panic-stricken America, restaurants and gyms are still open in South Korea and people are off to work every day just like we used to do. And yet South Korea’s rate of new infections has stopped virtually dead in its tracks. The fatality rate due to the coronavirus in South Korea is 0.6%, the lowest in the world.
South Korea has also relied heavily on testing to identify victims of the virus as quickly as possible. Rather than quarantining entire cities, states, and countries like hysteria-driven America and the rest of the world is doing, South Korea quarantines only those who have been infected. The rest of the country proceeds as normal.
We can do something similar here in the U.S. by urging people to get tested at the first sign of symptoms - fever, dry cough, shortness of breath, and maybe even the loss of the sense of taste and smell. By reserving testing for those who actually display symptoms, we can extend limited testing kits and laboratory resources as far as possible. At the first sign of symptoms, folks need to self-quarantine to protect friends, neighbors, and co-workers and then they need to get tested as soon as possible.
As I mentioned at the top, we have already seen our first cure of a coronavirus patient using chloroquine. Floridian Ray Giardinieri is a 52-year-old vice-president of a company that manufactures cooking equipment for high-end restaurants. He most likely contracted the virus at a conference in New York.
He experienced five days of excruciating back pain, headaches, cough and fatigue. When his own doctors wouldn’t see him, he drove himself to the Joe DiMaggio hospital in South Florida, near his home. Doctors there diagnosed him with COVID-19 and put him on oxygen in the ICU.
After more than a week, doctors told him they had done everything they could do. So, on Friday night, a night Gardinieri believed was his last night on earth, he said goodbye to his wife and three children. He said, “I was at the point where I was barely able to speak and breathing was very challenging. I really thought my end was there.”
But then a friend sent him an article about hydroxychloroquine, a drug which has been used to treat malaria since 1944. (I wrote my first column about this drug about a week ago.) While President Trump has been touting this drug and directing the FDA to evaluate it and approve it as soon as possible, the medical talking heads like Dr. Anthony Fauci have been pooh-poohing it, and pushing for a new vaccine which is at least 18 months away. By then everyone who’s going to get killed by COVID-19 will already be dead.
Gardinieri, the patient, had to talk his infectious disease doctor into prescribing the drug for him. “He gave me all the reasons why I would probably not want to try it because there are no trials, there’s no testing, it was not something that was approved.”
When Gardinieri replied, “Look, I don’t know if I’m going to make it until the morning,” the doctor relented, authorized its use, and 30 minutes later Gardinieri got his first dose.
He had a rough night, but with Benadryl and some other drugs, he made it through. When he woke up at 4:45 in the morning, it was “like nothing ever happened.” He’s since had no fever or pain and can breathe again. He hopes to be discharged from the hospital by the end of this week. “To me, there was no doubt in mind that I wouldn’t make it until morning,” said Giardinieri. “So to me, the drug saved my life.”
God has always used unorthodox means to bring plagues to an end. Elisha once purified a poisoned spring with salt (2 Kings 2:21) and a poisoned pot of stew by tossing flour into it (2 Kings 4:41).
If a malaria medication that’s so old school it’s been around for 76 years turns out to be the cure for the worldwide coronavirus pandemic, that would be just like God.
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