We will get through this. We are Americans. America, and in fact the entire world, will win this war against COVID-19. They said it will take time. They said a year before we develop a vaccine like the flu-shot and treatment. But yesterday there was news that seems very exciting. And either way, we will get through this health crisis. We always do.
We must remember this is a war, and every one of us is at risk. This coronavirus took us by surprise. Now we know what we are up against, and we are developing a plan for success. If we all do our part, we will win this war. But we all must play our role.
While the experts tell us it will be a year, don’t be surprised if preventative medicines and treatment come sooner than that. In fact, we already have an enormous list of medicines that are being studied, and some of what we already have could help us battle this virus.
Hydroxychloroquine is an old medicine that may have a new use
Thursday, President Trump announced that an existing drug called hydroxychloroquine was brought to his attention by a well-known doctor and researcher as a possibility. This drug has been around for 50 years. It’s a common malaria drug, also used for severe arthritis.
Since it has been in use for decades, it should be safe. And this researcher claims a one hundred percent success rate.
Sounds great so far, but it’s important to note that this is:
- Very preliminary data on only a very small sample size of patients. The total patient population in his study was only 36 patients, of whom 20 were given hydroxychloroquine. Of those 20, six patients were treated with a combination of hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin, an antibiotic, and those six patients are the ones who make up the one hundred percent success rate. Encouraging, yes. But this is an extremely small sample size.
- Neither randomized nor blinded. If you follow biotech companies, you know that their Phase 3 trials are randomized — where the patients are allocated to different treatment regimens using random methods — and blinded — meaning that the doctors, staff and patients don’t know who got what — in order to prevent any bias, conscious or otherwise, from affecting the trial results. This researcher’s study was not randomized and it was not blinded.
- Unpublished data. The researcher, Didier Raoult, is an infectious disease specialist from Aix-Marseille University in France. He released his results of his trial involving a total of 36 patients who had tested positive with COVID-19. The data has not yet been accepted for publication by a peer-reviewed journal, and until that happens — if it happens — we should take any claims with a big grain of salt.
Trump went on to claim that the FDA approved hydroxychloroquine for the treatment of coronavirus, but this is not true. In fact, FDA Chairman Stephen Hahn quickly pointed out that chloroquine and its derivatives had not been approved for the treatment of coronavirus and that significant testing still needs to be done in the setting of “a large, pragmatic clinical trial.”
Now we wait and see if it works. Let’s hope for the best.
Reduce COVID-19 growth curve so we don’t overwhelm hospitals
Until we find out whether or not hydroxychloroquine or any other potential medication works, we must continue to reduce exposure to each other to stop the spread. That’s why staying six feet apart when we are out and not getting together in groups will help starve this virus.
If we don’t play our role, this virus will spread from person to person and overwhelm our health care system.
This is what happened at ground zero where this coronavirus started in Wuhan, China. They had to build new hospitals, fast. Next they had a lock-down of citizens for weeks. Today they are seeing significantly reduced new cases. In fact, in the last 24 hours they had zero new cases.
This also sounds very promising.
What happens next with Covid-19?
The next question is what happens when everyone goes back to normal? Will it start up again when we get back together, or will it be under control? We don’t know yet. So, let us keep our eyes on Wuhan China and see what happens next.
One fear is, if our growth curve is high like officials fear, we simply do not have enough hospital beds and it could overwhelm our health care system.
That’s why the US Navy is preparing the two hospital ships, the Comfort and Mercy for the east and west coast. Plus, we are looking to expand hospital facilities to other places like empty office buildings. It still may not be enough. It’s just math. Exponential growth will outpace the addition of even multiple hospitals if we don’t all do our part to contain this.
That’s why we must do our part. We must decrease the number of cases and keep the infection curve as low as possible while we sort through all this. We must keep this disease manageable. There is no alternative.
Next few weeks are key to keeping the coronavirus growth curve lower
The next few weeks are key. We must stay apart. We must slow down and lower this growth curve. If we can do that and fewer people get sick, we may be able to dodge the worst of this bullet and not overwhelm our hospital and medical system.
That’s why we must control this virus as quickly as possible, so it does not spread out of control. After all, we would rather have a lower level of illness and control the effects.
Coronavirus will get worse before it gets better
There is an end in sight. However, before we get to the end here in the United States, things will get worse before they get better. That’s what the Coronavirus Task Force keeps telling us.
We can’t assume that hydroxychloroquine or any other potential medicine will be shown to work against the coronavirus in a true clinical setting. That’s why we must continue to prepare and protect ourselves.
That’s why it’s vital we do not co-mingle with family, friends and co-workers. Especially older folks who seem to be much more at risk.
You can help out. Shop for your parents or older friends and neighbors to keep them away from the germ filled supermarkets. We must pull together in order to win this war with the invisible enemy.
Scientists are working on the virus all over the globe
As the summer arrives, like with traditional flu, we are hoping COVID-19 will slow down. But like the flu, it should be expected to return next fall and winter. That’s why we must keep fighting this battle for years to come.
There are many potential treatments and preventative medications being tested, and the FDA has taken extraordinary steps to expedite this testing, all within the bounds of safe, clinical testing procedure.
Today we have no treatment or shot like the flu-shot as a preventative. So, let’s hope all this potential actually turns into a workable medical treatment.
Just remember, we will win this battle with coronavirus, the invisible enemy. You will play an important role in helping out society tone down the growth curve. Keep the hospitals from being over loaded.
So, stay strong, stay smart, do your part, stay healthy and stay alert. The world is depending on each and every one of us. We will get through this crisis. We always do.
Jeff Kagan is an Equities.com columnist. Kagan is an Industry Analyst, Key Opinion Leader and Influencer focused on Wireless, Telecom, Pay TV, Cloud, AI, IoT, Tele Health, Healthcare, Automotive and Self-Driving cars. Email him at [email protected] His web site is www.jeffKAGAN.com. Follow him on Twitter @jeffkagan and LinkedIn at linkedin.com/in/jeff-kagan.
Equities Columnist: Jeff Kagan
Source: Equities News