Kevin Baldeosingh

An Express report two Sundays ago featured the head of a private hospital calling for mandatory vaccines and revealing that his hospital uses Remdesivir and Tocilizumab to treat patients.

The former costs about $6,000 per dose and generally requires a three-dose course of treatment; the latter ranges from $3,000 to $4,000 per dose depending on where it is sourced and must be administered every week or fortnight until the patient recovers.

I had expected some medical health professional to point out that the World Health Organisation (WHO) does not recommend Remdesivir in the treatment of Covid-19 patients.

“The evidence suggested no important effect on mortality, need for mechanical ventilation, time to clinical improvement, and other patient-important outcomes,” WHO’s expert team noted in its report.

(https://www.who.int/news-room/feature-stories/detail/who-recommends-against-the-use-of-remdesivir-in-Covid-19-patients)

More importantly, I was also waiting for local doctors to point out that cheap treatments for Covid-19 patients are available and have been shown to be very effective in the early stages of the disease and quite useful in the advanced stage.

These protocols were, necessarily, being used before the Covid-19 shots were rolled out and have continued being used by front-line clinical doctors in poorer countries.

Covid-19 illness (not infections, which are mostly too mild to be called illness) occurs in three stages: two weeks for replication, followed by inflammation, then blood clotting.

Frontline clinical doctors have adopted a three-step protocol to help patients survive: medications that slow viral replication, reduce inflammation, and fight clotting.

These medications include hydroxychloroquine and ivermectin. It is interesting that the former was so demonised that two leading medical journals, The Lancet and the New England Journal of Medicine, both published studies debunking hydroxychloroquine, which then had to be retracted when it was discovered that the authors had made up their data.

As for the latter, states in India such as Uttar Pradesh have used early combination therapy (at US$5 per patient) such as budesonide, ivermectin, doxycycline, and zinc and found that most patients recovered within three to five days. Their vaccine rate to date is just 26 per cent (and was under eight percent when these protocols were initiated).

(https://www.hindustantimes.com/cities/lucknow-news/48-districts-of-uttar-pradesh-declared-covid-free-agra-ayodhya-included-101636896436280.html)

By contrast Tamil Nadu, which used remdesivir and banned ivermectin, has one of the highest infection and fatality rates in India, despite a vaccination rate of over 40 per cent (69 per cent for first dose).

(https://indianexpress.com/article/india/tamil-nadu-covid-19-deaths-ngo-7360663/)

Apart from hydroxychloroquine and ivermectin, an international team of doctors who developed early-stage protocols found that adding other medications significantly increased survival rates. Nealy all these medications are cheap and readily available: azithromycin, doxycycline, Celebrex, bromhexine, quercetin, zinc, Vitamin D and (IV) Vitamin C.

“In the absence of clinical trials and guidelines, with hospitalisations and mortality mounting, it is prudent to deploy treatment for Covid-19 based on pathophysiological principles,” this team writes. “We have proposed an algorithm based on age and comorbidities that allows for a large proportion to be monitored and treated at home during self-isolation with the aim of reducing the risks of hospitalisation and death.”

(https://www.amjmed.com/article/S0002-9343(20)30673-2/fulltext)

These treatments are particularly useful for high-risk cohorts. Another study notes, “Multi-drug therapy including hydroxychloroquine with one or more anti-infectives, corticosteroids, and antithrombotic anti-blood clotting agents can be extended to seniors in the nursing home setting without hospitalisation. Data from nine studies found hydroxychloroquine-based multidrug regimens were associated with a statistically significant > 60 per cent reduction in mortality.”

(https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/34130113/)

I suspect private doctors in T&T are administering similar protocols to their Covid-19 patients. But, after the Minister of Health badtalked all doctors who aren’t promoting vaccines as the only possible treatment for Covid-19, they understandably won’t be publicising their services.

Nonetheless, given the gigantic increase in hospitalisation and deaths, surely responsible medical policy should now include these cheap and apparently effective protocols.

Kevin Baldeosingh

Freeport

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