5 THINGS YOU SHOULD KNOW
On Thursday President Trump made an announcement stating that malaria drugs chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine will be made available ASAP to treat coronavirus patients. He also stated the FDA is looking at remdesivir, an intravenous drug created to treat Ebola, but would make it available for "compassionate use," which is a way for doctors to use unapproved drugs to treat patients who are critically ill.
Hydroxychloroquine is "hope personified" for those with COVID-19
Hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine were approved by the FDA over 50 years ago and are widely available to the public. Dr. Agus told the public that if a patient has tested positive for COVID-19, he would strongly recommend them to talk to their doctor today about its potential effect: "This drug is hope personified to every person with disease, especially the people who are higher risk or elderly."
Dr. Agus stated there are two ways the drug works: "one is it blocks virus. And the second is it tempers down inflammation, both of which play a role probably in how it's benefiting patients with COVID-19."
People need to be treated "as early as possible"
Even for patients who have already tested positive, Dr. Agus strongly advises that the drug be prescribed to people "as they have symptoms, even before the test results are back," or to people who have been exposed to virus. "If we can intervene early, hopefully we can prevent the spread of this virus," he said.
There is "remarkable data" from other countries about the two drugs
While the effects of chloroquine and remdesivir on coronavirus have not been studied all the way in the U.S., Dr. Agus said countries in Asia "routinely" use them, "and there is also remarkable data there about slowing the progress of the disease! "
Sacrifices made to stop the spread of COVID-19 "are going to pay off"
Three days ago the White House issued new guidelines to "Stop the Spread" of the virus using. "These sacrifices are going to pay off," Dr. Agus said. "I'm thinking positive and, I'm hopeful with the behavior changes our country has made, as well as with these medications announced today that we're really at a new point and a point where I could see, light at the end of the tunnel.
On the urgent need for blood donations: "other diseases aren't stopping"
CBS News has been informed that more than 4,500 Red Cross blood donations have been canceled since the coronavirus outbreak began, causing 150,000 fewer blood donations. Dr. Agus told us that while the coronavirus outbreak is at the top of mind for most of us, "other diseases aren't stopping. There are still people getting cancer and have low blood counts and need transfusions, people still are having the flu and other things and we need to keep the medical system going. Having an adequate supply of blood is critical for that, so please everyone step up to the plate. We are one community, and we have to work together to help each other."
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