Chloroquine has yet to be proven safe or effective as a treatment for coronavirus infection, noted Dr. Irwin Redlener, pediatrician and director of the National Center for Disaster Preparedness at Columbia University, during Friday’s edition of SiriusXM’s Breitbart News Tonight with host Rebecca Mansour and special guest host John Hayward.
Hayward asked about ongoing research into treatments for coronavirus infection.
“There are two categories [of treatment],” replied Redlener. “One is the category of the vaccine, which eventually is going to be what saves us. We’re going to have a vaccine at some point, unfortunately a year and a half from now, hopefully, and we’ll have a vaccine that’ll actually be effective in preventing people from getting this virus, and then whatever that piece is that deals with the coronavirus will added to our annual flu shots, and hopefully that will have a huge effect.”
Redlener continued, “In the meantime, we need to be fast-tracking the development of specific medications. you know, if somebody comes down with the regular seasonal flu and it’s caught early, the doctor may prescribe something called Tamiflu, which is an antiviral agent which does a pretty good job of treating that influenza. We don’t have the equivalent now for coronavirus, but there are well over a hundred labs in the United States working on every conceivable option here, and there are two categories of that.”
Redlener added, “One is new drugs that we need to develop and people are hard at work on that. The second is. do we have drugs around like Chloroquine that can be used safely to treat people, and right now, unfortunately, in spite of what the president said — the president said Chloroquine may be the answer, but about five seconds later Dr. Fauci got up and said not so fast, because we don’t know that it’s effective, and we don’t even know whether it’s safe. Any of evidence that we have is very anecdotal, and we can’t have doctors just prescribing it, because it may actually be very unsafe for these conditions.”
Redlener warned of widespread misinformation on the Internet regarding coronavirus treatments. “A lot of stuff is going to be on social media and on the Internet that we just can’t depend on,” he said, maintaining that government and industry are coordinating effectively towards identifying and developments coronavirus treatments. “There’s nobody holding back on any reasonable idea,” he added.
Verifiable studies must be be conducted on proposes treatments to ensure efficacy and safety, Redlener noted. “If we don’t have that, we’re completely flying in the dark and potentially exposing people to a lot of a lot of real dangers,” he said, recalling an illustrative anecdote of harm caused by negligent circumvention of due diligence in research.
“Right after 9/11, there were concerns that … if we went into Iraq, that Iraqi agents contaminated with smallpox were going to come into the U.S. and cause havoc with a smallpox epidemic that they would cause deliberately,” Redlener stated,” so the government came out with a plan. … The plan was to vaccinate — with the smallpox vaccine — 500,000 American healthcare workers, and then if it was safe, the rest of the population. So it made sense, and they started the inoculations, and a large number of people developed acute heart disease and there were several deaths.”
Redlener concluded, “We don’t want to do more harm than good, even though these feel like desperate times, and certainly we’re in a major crisis. I think we have to be very careful about leaping into the great unknown here with a drug that’s not proven safe and effective for the coronavirus. I don’t mean to be grim here.”
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