And yet, no one is talking about it.
I watched the Sunday talk shows. Nothing. All they wanted to talk about was how ridiculous they thought Trump's idea was to have partial re-openings by Easter (when all he said was that he hoped it could happen).
Go on Drudge right now - there's not a single story about any cure.
Politicians are silent.
And yet this cure is being administered widely right now and is working.
So what gives?
First, some background. In mid-March, a Frenchman named Didier Raoult announced results of a study involving a combined treatment of Hydroxychloroquine, a common anti-malarial drug, and Azithromycin, an antibiotic. I'll call them H&A.
Before we go further, note that Raoult is a renowned physician and microbiologist. You can read about him here. This is not Jude Law in Contagion, wandering around in a hazmat suit peddling forsythia.
The results of the study were extremely positive, with most patients having no symptoms in only five days, and they caused Trump to express optimism in a press conference. However, there were some issues with the test, not the least of which was the small sample size (24).
Okay, fine. But this is surely cause for hope, no?
Raoult's findings were widely ridiculed, especially when Trump expressed his own optimism.
Then, two days ago, a bombshell. Raoult conducted a second study, this time with 80 patients, and the findings were remarkable: of the 80, 78 fully recovered from all symptoms within five days. One 85 year-old patient died and one 74 year-old was still in the ICU.
A doctor friend of mine says these are insanely good numbers, the best you'll ever see in a medical study. If you want to nerd out, you can read the study here.
Moreover, it's working elsewhere. Another doctor I'm familiar with says they are prescribing it widely in Cincinnati and seeing similar results. Another doctor for an Orthodox Jewish community (where COVID is running rampant) in upstate New York has this to say:
"Since last Thursday, my team has treated approximately 450 patients with the (new) regimen. Of this group, we have had ZERO deaths, ZERO hospitalization, and ZERO intubations. In addition, I have not heard of any negative side effects other than approximately 10% of patients with temporary nausea and diarrhea."
(Note that there's a broad clinical trial going on in New York right now and results are expected to roll in this week.)
BUT, the medical establishment in the U.S. is reluctant to get on board, including the media's new Elvis, Dr. Fauci.
Why? Well, they have a certain way of doing things, you see, and it involves months of randomized, clinical trials, you see, and rushing things is just not prudent.
Here's someone named Joshua Sharfstein. He's a former FDA bigwig and current Vice Dean at Johns Hopkins:
"The best way to know whether medication for COVID-19 is effective is through a high-quality clinical trial. Efforts to widely distribute unproven treatments are misguided at best and dangerous at worst."
Here's the thing, Dr. Sharfstein. H&A have both been around for decades. They are cheap to produce and their side effects relatively benign, particularly when they are only needed for a few days. There's no downside to distributing them widely. Its effectiveness would be readily apparent. Or not. The downside is that COVID continues to run rampant.
If I had COVID right now, I'd tell Dr. Sharfstein to kiss my ass.
Other countries are wising up, why can't we? India will no longer export Hydroxychloroquine, wanting to keep all supplies for themselves. Significantly, they are giving it to their frontline health workers as a prophylactic. South Korea used it and they are one of the least-hit countries. Belgium just made it a part of their protocol.
Fortunately, drug companies are stepping up. Companies like Bayer, Novartis, and Teva have agreed to mass produce up to 250 million doses, and much of that they plan to give away for free.
All of which brings us to the question of media and government radio silence. You'd think news of this would be everywhere.
With the government, the kind explanation is that they know the facts and they don't want there to be a run on H&A. Indeed, there is anecdotal evidence that doctors and pharmacists are quietly hoarding H&A in case they need it personally (good for them - they're on the front lines). This should be a short-run concern, with drug companies stepping up.
As for the media, I find it difficult to conclude it's anything other than hatred for Trump. He's optimistic about H&A, and Orange Man Bad, so H&A must also be bad. It's a harsh thing to say, but they don't want these trials to succeed. What else can explain the coverage? Get Trump out of there and sort this out later.
Don't believe me? Do some googling. The only times they mention H&A are in the context of making Trump somehow look bad. For instance, when two Nigerian men died after ingesting Hydroxychloroquine, there was a rash of stories, many directly implicating Trump in the deaths, when in fact these men both self-medicated and overdosed. You can overdose on aspirin if you take too much. Then, after some genius in Arizona died after ingesting fish tank cleaner, thinking it was the same thing because the name was similar, the media also blamed Trump. CNN didn't even bother to mention it was fish tank cleaner! The viewer was meant to assume it was the Hydroxychloroquine.
This is the media's darkest hour. I never thought the corruption they displayed during Russiagate could be exceeded, but they have cleared that bar and are still going. At least their Russiagate coverage didn't cost lives, which is arguably what's happening now.
So, as I re-read this, I fully realize that I sound like one of those internet cranks peddling crazy stories for clicks. If you're hearing about H&A for the first time, I probably come off like that. Trust me, I'm rational. If you don't trust me, go out and do your own research. Everything's out there.
The good news is that unless there is some crazy hole in this, the truth of will become apparent soon, probably over the next week, two at the most. Look for markets to respond positively and lots of tweets to be deleted.