In what feels like day 2078 of this pandemic, all anybody really wants to know is “When will this end?” When will we be able to walk outside freely? When will we be able to kiss our grandmothers? When will the homeschooling be over? WHEN?
There is a little bit of hopeful news. According to the New York Times, Chinese doctors in Wuhan have reported some movement on the coronavirus treatment front. Hydroxychloroquine – a drug used to treat malaria – reportedly helped to speed up the recovery of a small number of patients who were mildly to moderately ill with the virus, says one new study.
Conducted at the Renmin Hospital of Wuhan University in China – the same city in which coronavirus is believed to have originated – doctors administered the drug to 62 patients with an average age of 45. These excluded those with preexisting medical conditions. Half the subjects received the usual coronavirus care (oxygen, antiviral drugs and antibiotics) and half the hydroxychloroquine.
Of the group who were administered the drug, coronavirus symptoms such as a dry cough, fever and pneumonia went away faster. Doctors also said the medication lessened the severity of the disease.
Coughing and fever eased a day or so earlier in the patients who received hydroxychloroquine, and pneumonia improved in 25 of 31, as opposed to 17 of 31 in the controls, the study said.
While there is no cure or vaccine for coronavirus, hospitals have been administering hydroxychloroquine on an “it might help and probably won’t hurt” basis.
There has been some buzz around the drug for some weeks which has resulted in hoarding and shortages of the drug. According to the New York Times, patients who rely heavily on the medication for chronic illnesses have been left wondering whether they will be able to fill their prescriptions.
More to come.