The French government has officially sanctioned chloroquine, a drug often used to fight malaria, for certain patients infected with the novel coronavirus, or COVID-19.
“The French government has officially sanctioned prescriptions of chloroquine to treat certain coronavirus patients,” France 24 English reported Saturday.
“This ensures continued treatment of patients who have been treated for several years for a chronic condition with this drug, but also allows a temporary authorization to allow certain patients with coronavirus to benefit from this therapeutic route,” said France’s director general of health Jérôme Salomon.
The move comes after infectious diseases specialist Didier Raoult announced new clinical results, which can be accessed here, that show 78 out of 80 patients treated with chloroquine recovered within five days, reported Trustnodes.
The five-day recovery time is “considerably” faster “than the usual 14 days and for some it can go up to 28 days if they recover at all,” the outlet highlighted.
France’s Minister of Health Olivier Véran said Thursday: “Hydroxychloroquine and the combination of lopinavir / ritonavir may be prescribed, dispensed and administered under the responsibility of a doctor to patients affected by Covid-19, in the healthcare establishments which take charge of them, as well as for the continuation of their treatment if their condition allows it and with the authorization of the initial prescriber, at home.”
Dr. Raouly cheered the news via social media on Saturday: “Thanks to Philippe Douste-Blazy, former Minister of Health and member of the Board of Directors of the @IHU_Marseille, for his position,” he wrote.
— Didier Raoult (@raoult_didier) March 28, 2020
Due to President Donald Trump fast-tracking Food and Drug Administration approval, New York state is testing hydroxychloroquine, chloroquine and azithromycin.
“The Food and Drug Administration has moved with ‘uncommon speed’ to authorize New York’s distribution of the drugs through hospitals,” The Daily Wire noted Thursday, citing a Washington Post report. “While experts say such an effort would usually take up to nine months, the timeline ‘has been compressed into three days,’ the paper reports.”
As highlighted by The Daily Wire, positive results from the drugs have thus far been largely anecdotal:
The Times repeatedly underscores that the treatment has not yet been proven to be effective by officials and highlights “concerns” among health experts about the Trump and Cuomo-promoted medications, which sometimes have dangerous side effects, like “fatal heart arrhythmia and vision loss.” Like The Washington Post’s editorial board, which has accused Trump of causing “damage” by pointing to the treatment as a potential “cure,” the Times suggests Trump, and to a lesser extent Cuomo, may be guilty of “raising false hopes in the American public” and “contribut[ing] to runs on supply and hoarding” of the drugs.
Adding to the anecdotal evidence, “Lost” actor Daniel Dae Kim said hydroxychloroquine was the “secret weapon” that helped him recover from coronavirus.
“And here’s what I consider to be the secret weapon: hydroxychloroquine,” Kim said in a video posted to social media, last week. “This is a common anti-malarial drug that has been used with great success in Korea in their fight against the coronavirus. And yes, this is the drug that the president mentioned the other day.”
Kim similarly underscored that Dr. Anthony Fauci has “cautioned” against hydroxychloroquine,” noting that evidence of its effectiveness against COVID-19 is “anecdotal.”
“That is correct … it is only based on personal accounts,” he stressed. “Well, add my name to those personal accounts, because I am feeling better.”