In his daily COVID-19 briefing, President Trump has made several references to a promising treatment involving hydroxychloroquine in combination with the antibiotic azithromycin. These two drugs have been in use for many years for malaria and other diseases, so any toxicity or side effects are well known.
Trump’s optimism, which some in the media have labeled a false hope, likely stems from a French study in which a sample of COVID-19 patients were divided into three groups.
Group 1, the control group, received no medication. Group 2 received hydroxychloroquine only. Group 3 received both the hydroxychloroquine and the azithromycin.
Results were as follows: After six days, about 90% of the control group still tested positive for the virus; after six days about 40% of group 2 tested positive; but after five days and beyond, group 3 tested negative.
This seems a remarkable outcome and at least one researcher characterized the chances of the results being false as 1 in 20,000.
The National Institute of Health, however, wants to see a study with a much larger sample size and is in the process of sending quantities of the drugs to various hospitals so results should be available in about a week or two. If results are as positive as the first indications, the national and world COVID-19 nightmare should be over soon.
That may be too optimistic for some, but in Trump’s words, what do we have to lose by being hopeful?