Elderly couple takes chloroquine phosphate to treat COVID-19; man dies, wife hospitalized
Last week, as President Donald Trump and the Coronavirus Task Force addressed the nation regarding the COVID-19 outbreak, Mr. Trump mentioned that the drug Chloroquine may eventually be used as a possible treatment for COVID-19.
Days after this announcement, a Phoneix-area man died and his wife remains in critical care after both took chloroquine phosphate in an attempt to self-medicate for the novel coronavirus.
Chloroquine phosphate, an additive commonly used at aquariums to clean fish tanks, is not the same as Chloroquine, which is the medication that has been used to treat malaria.
Chloroquine is the FDA-approved drug that is used to treat patients suffering from malaria, lupus, and rheumatoid arthritis. But it has not yet been approved for use in treating patients with a COVID-19 diagnosis.
According to a CNN report, experts say neither Chloroquine phosphate nor Chloroquine should not be ingested to treat or prevent novel coronavirus.
An Arizona-based wellness facility called Banner Health treated the deceased man and his wife following their ingestion of chloroquine phosphate. The facility did not provide any details on how the couple, both in their 60's, acquired the drug.
However, according to the statement, "within thirty minutes of ingestion, the couple experienced immediate effects requiring admittance to a nearby Banner Health hospital."
During a press conference and in a tweet, the President said that chloroquine, and the closely-related hydroxychloroquine, would be potential game-changers in the fight against Covid-19.
HYDROXYCHLOROQUINE & AZITHROMYCIN, taken together, have a real chance to be one of the biggest game changers in the history of medicine. The FDA has moved mountains - Thank You! Hopefully they will BOTH (H works better with A, International Journal of Antimicrobial Agents).....— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 21, 2020
But at this time, health officials are warning against taking any of these drugs until further studies are carried out to ensure that each drug is safe for consumption and effective in fighting the illness.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's top infectious disease expert and a key member of the White House Coronavirus Task Force, has said the two drugs President Trump mentioned may eventually be proven to be effective against the novel coronavirus. However, he told CBS' Margaret Brennan on Sunday that Trump had heard about the hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin combination's effectiveness from anecdotal reports.
"I...have said I'm not disagreeing with the fact anecdotally they might work, but my job is to prove definitively from a scientific standpoint that they do work," Fauci said.
In any case, patients suffering from COVID-19 and seeking treatment in the form of drug therapy should only take medications prescribed by a doctor.