Los Angeles doctor says ‘very ill’ patients ‘basically symptom-free’ after taking Trump-touted drug
by Dominick Mastrangelo
A doctor in Los Angeles said he is seeing viability in a drug President Trump has floated as a possible treatment for the coronavirus, despite doubts from some U.S. health experts.
Dr. Anthony Cardillo has been prescribing the malaria drug hydroxychloroquine, in combination with zinc, to patients who are experiencing severe symptoms of COVID-19.
“Every patient I’ve prescribed it to has been very, very ill, and within eight to 12 hours they were basically symptom-free,” Cardillo told ABC7 in Los Angeles. “So clinically, I am seeing a resolution.”
Cardillo noted that the treatment has only been effective if combined with zinc.
“We have to be cautious and mindful that we don’t prescribe it for patients who have COVID who are well,” he said. “It should be reserved for people who are really sick, in the hospital or at home very sick, who need that medication. Otherwise, we’re going to blow through our supply for patients that take it regularly for other disease processes.”
Trump has said the drugs could be an effective way of treating the virus.
“It’s a powerful drug on malaria, and there are scientific works on this. Some strong signs,” Trump said this weekend. “What do you have to lose? If it does work, it would be a shame if we didn’t do it early.”
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s leading infectious disease doctor, has warned, however, there is no evidence the drug works against the coronavirus.
“In terms of science, I don’t think we can definitively say it works,” Fauci said Sunday. “The data are really just at best suggestive. There have been cases that show there may be an effect, and there are others to show there’s no effect.”
Gov. Andrew Cuomo of New York recently issued an executive order limiting doctors in New York state from prescribing antimalarial drugs chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine to COVID-19 patients in state-approved clinical trials and for FDA-approved uses as an antimalarial or autoimmune treatment, and then only for a 14-day supply with no refills.
Trump took heat from critics after a man in Arizona died after drinking a form of chloroquine used to clean fish tanks. The man’s wife said he heard of the drug after watching one of the president’s daily press briefings on the virus.
More than 300,000 cases of the coronavirus have been confirmed in the United States, and nearly 10,000 people in the U.S. have died as a result of the disease’s spread across the country.