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Pennacchio: Time to Early-Treat High-Risk Groups with Hydroxychloroquine

FDA Agrees with Senator Pennacchio on the Use of HCQ to Treat Virus

Coming off the FDA’s emergency authorization of the use of hydroxychloroquine as a therapeutic agent against the COVID-19 virus, Senator Pennacchio is calling for the preventative use of the drug to break the pandemic and release people from their isolation.

Sen. Pennachio cited a growing collection of scientific data supporting the use of hydroxychloroquine as a preventive treatment for the coronavirus. (CDC)

Pennacchio recently released a statement – endorsed by almost 70 doctors, health care providers and scientists – advocating for the use of hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) as an “early treatment” to minimize the effects of the COVID-19 virus and reduce its communicability by decreasing viral shedding.

In the week since, nations have announced bans on exporting the medication and recommended health care workers pre-treat with HCQ to avoid contracting the virus while treating victims, Florida arranged shipments of the drug to hospitals to treat seriously ill patients, New York launched a study of experimental drug therapies to treat COVID-19, and more doctors have reached out to Pennacchio with support for hydroxychloroquine.

“Our nation, and the entire world, is in the grasp of an unprecedented health crisis,” said Pennacchio. “While New Jersey waits on the federal government for ‘proof’ HCQ is effective, police officers, doctors and nurses are being infected. People are getting sicker and dying. HCQ has been proven safe in 70 years of use. We cannot afford to sit on our hands while this virus takes such a devastating toll on us all.”

Pennacchio received an email from Professor Tibor Hlavaty, MD, PhD, supporting his position that that HCQ can and should be used as a “prophylactic measure in large high-risk groups.”

“I have read with great interest your statement on HCQ use for COVID-19. I fully agree and hope that a voice of reason will prevail in your great country,” said Hlavaty, of the University Hospital Bratislava in Slovakia.

The doctor also wrote to Dr. Alex Azar, the U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services, encouraging the use of hydroxychloroquine as a preventative treatment for coronavirus.

Dr. Hlavaty is the author of a medical research paper titled “Novel Unorthodox Strategies to Reduce the Case Fatality Rate (CFR) of COVID-19 in High Risk Groups including patients using ACE Inhibitors,” which has been submitted to the Bratislava Medical Journal. Dr. Hlavaty has also submitted his review paper to the New England Medical Journal.

“If people who are at risk get medical protection and the coronavirus becomes no more dangerous than the flu, they will stop panicking, resume activity and life comes back to normal,” the doctor said in his email. “A simple five-day course of a well-known malaria drug (HCQ) might provide a reasonable protection from either getting the COVID-19 virus or developing a complicated course of COVID for a period of up to two months, similar to malaria prophylaxis for which hydroxychloroquine is widely used.”

The review paper is very thorough in its analysis, citing 26 scientific sources of who and what groups are at greater risk based on pre-conditions and medications such as ACE Inhibitors and ARB Blockers taken for high blood pressure which patients may be taking.

“Current strategies to control the outbreak of COVID-19 have been non-discriminatory and have implied draconian epidemiological measures such as lockdowns of entire countries for a long period of time,” Dr. Hlavaty said in his research. “Their long-term effectiveness remains to be proven. We propose another unorthodox approach.”

The doctor analyzed virus blood levels of COVID-19 patients and virus blood levels reduced by administration of HCQ, and he proposes various safe and effective prophylactic dosage levels of HCQ to treat at-risk patients.

His conclusion mirrored the opinion of the 70 doctors in Pennacchio’s statement of March 23 who saw a correlation in treatment and reduction of the spread of COVID-19 through the use of HCQ.

“We speculate that such measures could dramatically reduce case fatality rate in high risk groups and thus reduce the total CFR to levels close to influenza,” the doctor wrote.

Dr. Hlavaty’s research paper concludes: “Given the rapid spread of the pandemic, high mortality and resulting paralysis of societal functioning, we believe the proposed measures have a favourable risk/benefit ratio and should be considered in scientifically controlled setting.”



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