Top Doctor: 'Game-Changer' Malaria Drug is 'Beginning of the End of the Pandemic'
Infectious disease expert praises Trump-touted hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin
A leading infectious disease expert has praised the malaria drugs previously touted by President Donald Trump, describing their effectiveness against COVID-19 as "the beginning of the end of the pandemic."
Dr. Stephen Smith told Fox News on Wednesday night that the use of hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin to treat coronavirus patients is an “absolute game-changer.”
Speaking to Fox News host Laura Ingraham on “The Ingraham Angle,” Dr. Smith explained why he believes that the regimen is so effective for treating his own patients.
Smith started by explaining what being “intubated” means, describing it as “putting a tube down your trachea and then placed on the ventilator for support, respiratory support.”
“We’ve had, I mentioned 20 intubations, most all of them occurred in the first two days,” Smith continued.
“More importantly, no person who has received five days or more of the hydroxychloroquine-azithromycin combination has been intubated."
"The chance of that occurring by chance, according to my sons who did some stats for me, are .000 something," Dr. Smith explained.
“It’s a ridiculous low no matter how you look at it,” Smith continued.
“We worry about selection bias in the situation, but I cannot think of a reason why, if all else is equal, why people that have received five days or more — even four days or more of this hydroxychloroquine-azithromycin regimen wouldn’t get intubated.”
When asked by Ingraham if it was a game-changer, Smith responded, “It’s a game-changer. It’s an absolute game-changer.
"I think this data will go to really support the French data.
"Now you actually have an intra[inaudible] comparison saying that this regimen works and I will get some real statisticians besides my sons to look at that.”
“I think this is the beginning of the end of the pandemic,” Smith said. “I’m very serious.”
Dr. Stephen Smith, an infectious disease specialist, on using hydroxychloroquine/azithromycin combo to treat #COVID19 patients:— Nicole Saphier, MD (@NBSaphierMD) April 2, 2020
“It’s a game changer. It’s an absolute game changer. … I think this is the beginning of the end of the #pandemic. I’m very serious.” pic.twitter.com/F716IhtEvA
The New York Times reported on Wednesday that “the malaria drug hydroxychloroquine helped to speed the recovery of a small number of patients who were mildly ill from the coronavirus, doctors in China reported this week.”
“Cough, fever, and pneumonia went away faster, and the disease seemed less likely to turn severe in people who received hydroxychloroquine than in a comparison group not given the drug,” the Times added.
“Previous reports from China and France that the drug seemed to help patients, along with enthusiastic comments from President Trump, have created a buzz around hydroxychloroquine and the closely related chloroquine, which are decades-old drugs used to treat malaria and autoimmune diseases like lupus and rheumatoid arthritis.”
The Times noted that experts had said that more testing and research were needed on using the treatment to treat the coronavirus but that initial results were promising.
“It’s going to send a ripple of excitement out through the treating community,” said Dr. William Schaffner, an infectious disease expert at Vanderbilt University.
“I think it will reinforce the inclination of many people across the country who are not in a position to enter their patients into clinical trials but have already begun using hydroxychloroquine.”
The Times notes that Dr. Schaffner “cautioned that the results applied only to patients with relatively mild illness, like the ones in the study, and could not be generalized to advanced cases.”
The treatment has been touted by President Trump, and members of the administration’s Coronavirus Task Force have remained positive about its potential use to treat coronavirus patients.