Published: 2020-03-23 10:43
Last Updated: 2020-03-23 11:23
In reaction to claims that a combo of hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin will cure the COVID-19, a Jordanian expert warned that news of treatment should not bring the public’s guard down and said that “social distancing” remains the only way to combat the spread of the pandemic.
“Current data from small numbers of treated patients do not allow for regular use of the combo. More data on efficacy and safety are yet to be generated from the different clinical studies being conducted worldwide, these results will take months to come out,” said Dr. Hazem Zeitoun, a trainer and professional in the pharmaceuticals industry with 25 years of experience.
“Until there is proof that hydroxychloroquine with or without azithromycin is effective in pre-exposure, the only solution we have now and until a vaccine is ready, is to stop/delay the spread of the infection by social distancing, and better by lockdown and staying in,” Zeitoun stressed.
Zeitoun also warned that people should not attempt to use these drugs at home as a precautionary method or for self-treatment.
“Both hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin are associated with cardiotoxicity and as such caution is exercised by doctors to whom it can be given and when.”
US scientists and officials downplayed on Sunday US President Donald Trump’s repeated statements touting the effectiveness of hydroxychloroquine & azithromycin to combat the COVID-19 pandemic.
When asked on Friday if hydroxychloroquine could be used to prevent COVID-19, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the US government’s top infectious disease expert, replied "no."
“The information that you’re referring to specifically is anecdotal,” Fauci added. “It was not done in a controlled clinical trial, so you really can’t make any definitive statement about it.”
FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn has also downplayed the potency of the drug on COVID-19, saying this week he does not want to “provide false hope.”
“We may have the right drug, but it might not be in the appropriate dosage form right now, and it might do more harm than good,” he said.
Hahn added during the White House press conference that a vaccine for the coronavirus is currently in the first phase of a clinical trial and wouldn’t be ready for 12 months.
Jordan has already made a decision to use hydroxychloroquine as a treatment for COVID-19 patients. "The results of the drug use have proven its effectiveness, as studies have shown that there is a positive effect of the vaccine on corona patients injected with it," spokesman for the National Committee for Epidemics Nathir Obaidat told Roya.
Both drugs are readily available in Jordan and Hydroxychloroquine is already manufactured by Al-Hikmah Pharmaceutical Company under its brand name Advaquenil which is used by Lupus and other patients. The company made a statement yesterday declaring that it will provide the Ministry of Health with the product.