Clinical drug trials began in New York, Tuesday
With at least 15,597 confirmed cases of novel coronavirus as of Tuesday, New York State has become the epicenter of the virus pandemic in the United States.
During this critical time, clinical trials for drug treatments began in New York, Tuesday.
ABC News reports that a news release from New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo's office said the state acquired 70,000 doses of hydroxychloroquine, 10,000 doses of zithromax and 750,000 doses of chloroquine within the last few days.
"We hope for optimistic results," Cuomo said during a press conference Tuesday, talking about the clinical trials. "The president and the FDA accelerated that drug coming to New York so the hospitals will start using that drug today."
More than 51,000 U.S. residents have been infected by COVID-19 and almost half of those cases are in New York State.
"About 56% of all the cases in the United States are coming out of that metro area, and 60% of all the new cases are coming out of the metro New York area, and 31% of the people succumbing to this disease," said Dr. Deborah Birx, the White House coronavirus response coordinator, at Tuesday’s task force press briefing.
"New York is definitely a hot spot, there’s no question about it," President Donald Trump said Tuesday evening. "And you know what we are doing in New York to try and help, and I think we are doing an incredible job."
But even as the clinical trials begin, confusion about the drugs that are being tested have become a problem.
While the President has said the trial "is looking very, very good" and that chloroquine, a drug used to treat and prevent malaria, could be a "game changer,"
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the government’s top expert on infectious diseases, urged caution in viewing the drug as a safe option for treatment.
During a Tuesday evening press conference, Dr. Fauci said, "You heard yesterday about drugs being out there, hasn't been definitively proven to work."
A man in his 60s from Arizona died this week after ingesting a form of chloroquine. While the additive he ingested had the same active ingredient as the prescription drug, it is formulated differently. His wife was also in critical condition, according to Banner Health.
“Given the uncertainty around COVID-19, we understand that people are trying to find new ways to prevent or treat this virus, but self-medicating is not the way to do so,” said Dr. Daniel Brooks, the medical director of the Banner Poison and Drug Information Center.
Meanwhile, experts are working to create a vaccine that will treat COVID-19, and results are estimated to be at least a year away.
For now, as no drug has been approved to treat the virus, doctors recommend self-quarantining as the most effective way to prevent to spread of COVID-19.
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