Dr. Vladimir Zelenko from New York announced that over 400 of his high-risk patients with COVID-19 have recovered.
All were treated with his 3-drug regimen of hydroxychloroquine, azithromycin, and zinc. The doctor said two patients died, but the other 403 recuperated completely from COVID-19, the disease caused by the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus.
But critics are skeptical of the efficacy of hydroxychloroquine. The U.S. government is still testing the drug on patients with the virus, and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not approved it as treatment for COVID-19, according to agency.
Dr. Zelenko said that’s beside the point.
“If it was peacetime, we could spend months doing studies, let’s say for four months doing a clinical study, figuring out which bullet is the shiniest and works the best, which medication has the least side effects.” he said in an interview with NTD News. “And then we can use it. Unfortunately, we don’t have time.”
Promising But Unapproved
The FDA has allowed the use of hydroxychloroquine based on successful anecdotal evidence.
And that evidence is mounting. But several studies have also concluded that the drug is ineffective or dangerous, like one published this month by NYU Langone Health.
In its study, 84 adult patients were treated with a combination of hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin. It was reported that 41 percent of them had longer QT intervals, which could lead to irregular heartbeats.
Eleven percent were at risk of arrhythmia. And based on that test and others, the National Institutes of Health has not recommended this combination to treat COVID-19.
But there are differences between this study and Zelenko’s treatments.
For one, they don’t use the same drugs. Langone’s study did not use zinc, which the doctor said stops the virus from growing.
“And by the way, it’s not magic, I mean there’s a reason behind it,” said Zelenko. “The virus is inside the cell, the zinc cannot get inside the cell for biochemical reasons, so the hydroxychloroquine opens the door and lets the zinc in. That’s all it does, in this context.”
Meanwhile, the antibiotic, azithromycin, protects the patient from secondary infections.
Losing the Window of Opportunity
The doctor emphasized how crucial it is to treat patients immediately.
He said clinical studies take time to do and test results take time to get. His reasoning for allowing widespread use of his drug regimen echoes what President Donald Trump said on April 6: “I’d love to do that. But we have people dying today.”
Despite his burning desire to treat people immediately, options are limited in New York. The governor has prohibited pharmacies from dispensing hydroxychloroquine to patients who haven’t tested positive for the virus.
This means patients that are CCP virus positive have to go out-of-state to get the drug. From the group of infected high risk patients he treated, two thirds were diagnosed, and the rest tested positive.
The doctor said the pandemic will be studied in the future, like other monumental historical events. “There were people advocating common sense intervention with medication to alleviate death and human suffering, and there are those that got in the way of doing that.”
New York hospitals are testing hydroxychloroquine on patients, and results were to be submitted to the FDA on Monday.