Breaking down the controversial use of hydroxychloroquine to combat COVID-19.

COVID-19 has permeated our lives in virtually every way. It’s the hot topic everybody obsesses over and rightly so. We continuously hear from governmental bodies and public health officials that there is no going back to normal until there are viable solutions such as vaccines and antivirals. At least so we are told.

The race for a COVID-19 vaccine is merciless and highly controversial. The race is also leaving many people skeptical about the jab’s effectiveness and safety. The unusually speedy process of developing a vaccine for the novel coronavirus warrants public concern reflected in projected low vaccine intake.

Previous trials aimed at developing a SARS vaccine against SARS-CoV have been unsuccessful. Researchers discovered the potential for serious pulmonary immunopathology in vaccinated subjects upon post-vaccine exposure to the virus.The study concluded that, “Caution in proceeding to application of a SARS-CoV vaccine in humans is indicated.”

With close to 200 coronavirus vaccines currently in the works, many are wary about the possibility of suggested vaccine mandates or regulatory measures. Opinions stemming from the legal community also raised the question of possible employment restrictions for those who refuse to take the jab. 

Hopes have been harbored for the development of successful antiviral therapeutics, or for the possibility of re-purposing existing drugs for the treatment of those with COVID-19 symptoms. Some argue would automatically negate the need for a vaccine.

A Game Of Numbers

It is no secret that the COVID-19 death stats have been drastically inflated by padding the data as per the CDC’s death certificate directives. The directives allow for any and all death causes to be added as long as there is either a positive test or a strong indicator that would justify presumption.

In plain words, whether you die of COVID-19 or with the virus causing COVID-19 is equally acceptable to call it a count. One of the major factors contributing to the false “case” count is the problematic nature of the COVID-19 tests. The definition of a “case” still remains unclear and appears to be subject to wide discretion. The tests give a shockingly high rate of false positives, close to 50 percent, and produce results that are virtually meaningless as the tests are not pathogen-specific. 

The Problem With Testing

According to one of the PCR test monographs, which can be found on the Food and Drug Administration (FDA)’s website, “positive results do not rule out bacterial infection or co-infection with other viruses.” There is no specific test for the SARS-CoV-2 virus to date. Not having a specific test makes the testing practice not only futile, but dangerously misleading.

The test is being used as a sole diagnostic tool and in the case of asymptomatic individuals. There is no regard for the significance of the lack of clinical picture and symptom presentation. Testing may detect non-specific viral debris and fragments of any type of pathogen. Viral fragments may be present in the body as artifacts of a disease process. Unfortunately, that alone does not prove the presence of COVID-19 illness.

One of the major PCR test limitations is their inability to measure active viral replication. Measuring active viral replication is key to the onset of disease symptoms. The PCR tests cannot determine the infectious status of a person. Yet testing has been used as the sole driver of decision-making and COVID-19 restriction measures.

The Hydroxychloroquine “Cure”: Yet Another Smokescreen

In the past few months, all eyes have been set on an old anti-malarial drug, heavily touted as a COVID-19 cure. A recent video featuring a panel of doctors promoting hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) for COVID-19 was released. It was then quickly removed from social media platforms. The video went viral creating a focal point of discourse on the use of the drug as a coronavirus cure. HCQ became highly controversial, and remained a hot topic for debate by doctors and policy-makers. 

Some argue that pediatric doctor Stella Immanuel’s claim of curing over 300 COVID-19 patients with hydroxychloroquine is untruthful. Research demonstrates that children are virtually unaffected by COVID-19, and do not represent the typical patient base. The illness rather tends to strike the elderly and those with co-morbidities.

This begs several questions:

  • What is the age of the patient cohort Dr. Immanuel treats with hydroxychloroquine?
  • What methods and criteria were used in the differential diagnosis of true COVID-19 cases versus other possible respiratory illnesses with similar symptom presentation?
  • If hydroxychloroquine was used at the initial onset of COVID-19-like illness, what approach was employed to confirm successful case outcomes that can be attributable to the effect of the drug, and not due to the mild nature of the illness?
  • Is it possible that complete recovery would have occurred if those mild cases were left untreated? 

HCQ: More Research Needed

Claiming a cure for any type of illness is a strong statement that necessitates compelling evidence and proof. Hydroxychloroquine is a powerful and potentially toxic drug with an exhaustive list of contraindications and adverse effect warnings. There is a growing rise of people who are raising concerns about the premature hype of this drug as a COVID-19 therapeutic. 

Several angles to be carefully considered and studied in the course of the treatment:

  • What we know about the actions of a drug.
  • What we know about the disease we seek to use it for.
  • Our understanding of each and every individual case: medical history, co-morbidities, medications, and possible contraindications.
  • The possible effects as a result of employing the drug in the necessary dose and frequency of dose repetition. Both positive and negative effects need to be known.

An honest scientific inquiry need to be conducted if we’re going to find the potential and/or possible dangers of adopting HCQ as a COVID-19 therapeutic.

Is Zinc The Missing Link?

A recent observational study claims the use of HCQ, Z-pack (azithromycin), and Zinc as being successful therapeutic protocol in the treatment of COVID19 patients. The study compared hospital outcomes among patients who received HCQ, azithromycin, and zinc, versus HCQ and azithromycin alone.

The results of the study showed that zinc sulfate increased the frequency of patients being discharged from hospitals. A significant decrease in the need for ventilation was also noted. There were lower numbers for ICU admissions and mortality or transfer-to-hospice for patients who were never admitted to the ICU.

This study provides the first in vivo evidence that zinc sulfate in combination with HCQ may be a potential therapeutic protocol for COVID-19. The key point of this study that made a difference in outcomes was the addition of Zinc sulfate. It could be argued that the Zinc compound, and not HCQ or Z-pack, was the key therapeutic ingredient.

Zinc has known anti-viral properties and has been tested in vitro with positive results for mitigating SARS-CoV-2 viral replication. Previous studies suggest that adding Zinc to one’s treatment plan may reduce the duration of the common cold symptoms. It is plausible that Zinc is the one doing all the work and HCQ only serves as an enhancer allowing for more effective absorption of Zinc into the cells.

Increasing intracellular concentrations of Zinc with zinc-ionophores, such as hydroxychloroquine, has been demonstrated effective in inhibiting viral replication of a variety of RNA viruses, including SARS-coronavirus.

One-Size Does Not Fit All

The few HCQ studies done so far have numerous limitations. One limitation that will have significance in a clinical setting, is the exclusion of participants with cardiovascular conditions due to obvious contraindications. 

HCQ is known to cause QT prolongation, which can be dangerous and even fatal for heart patients. This creates a practical limitation to using HCQ as a ubiquitous COVID-19 treatment. A significant group of the population may not be eligible for receiving the drug due to underlying heart diseases. Ironically, these are also the patients who fall into the high-risk group of contracting the disease and possibly developing serious to severe symptoms in the first place.

Hydroxychloroquine appears to be an efficient ionophore facilitating the transportation of Zinc through lipid cellular membranes. This is particularly important when delivering Zinc to lung cells. Unfortunately, there’s a cost of potential severe side effects caused by the toxic drug.

[Editor’s Notes: In Part II we’ll discuss HCQ contraindications and natural alternatives.]

Zara is a Certified Homeopath with special interest in women’s health, organ therapuetics and natual approach to cancer. Zara holds B.Sc. in Geology and received formal training in Chemistry and Biology. In her free time, she is a singer and writer.

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