Be careful with drugs for curing virus, says panel - GulfToday

Be careful with drugs for curing virus, says panel


Photo has been used for illustrative purposes.

Mariecar Jara-Puyod, Senior Reporter

A four-member team of medical specialists-researchers in Mayo Clinic (US) has raised the need for awareness regarding the use of two oral anti-malarial drugs for the treatment and cure of the Coronavirus19 (COVID19).

Mayo Clinic has over 40 affiliates and joint ventures worldwide. Two of these are the Greenfield Hospital Development in Abu Dhabi and the American Hospital Dubai.

The anti-malarial drugs are the chloroquine and hydrochloroquine which, aside from azithromycin, have been classified by the US Food and Drug Administration as “off label prescriptions or in accordance with the “Emergency Use Authorisation” of the institution.

The US Mayo Clinic team is led by its Long QT Syndrome/Genetic Heart Rhythm/Windland Smith Rice Sudden Death Genomics Laboratory director Dr. Michael Ackerman.

In an email interview, Ackerman defined SARS-CoV2 which causes COVID19 as a “highly contagious virus which gains entry into the lungs, heart, vascular endothelial cells and other cells by binding to the Type 2 angiotensin converting enzyme receptor” that leads to inflammation and cellular destruction.

What prompted the team to come up with a “special article” on the use of the anti-malarial drugs “with or without the use of the antibiotic azithromycin” is that there have been “anecdotal reports and small case series benefits (of these drugs) against COVID19.”

The paediatrician cardiologist said there has been no scientific clear evidence on the efficacy of these drugs and the novel anti-viral remdisivir as cure to the dreaded disease.

Ackerman said the anti-malarial drugs “with or without the use of azithromycin can result in sudden cardiac death (so the medical COVID19 team) must know very well the (the state of the patient’s heart muscles electrical  recharging system.”

“These medications are safe 90 per cent, but up to 10 per cent of us may be at increased risk for this (sudden cardiac death) side effect, and at one per cent, these have an increased chance of being dangerous or deadly,” Ackerman also said.

The team cautioned those tempted to home cure not to do so but have the wisdom to consult with “your healthcare provider and team, never take these medications on your own, and to be very careful.”

“We assembled the special article because we knew there was a need for urgent guidance on how to safely use these unproven therapies so that the drugs’ rare side effect would not tear its ugly head and end up causing more harm than the well-intended good,” stated Ackerman.

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