COVID-19 in Quebec: the Government Continues to Ignore the Effective Treatment that Already Exists

Since the article published 2 days ago on Canada and Hydroxychloroquine, I have been asked the following question: was Quebec aware?

(note: the French version is available here)

The answer is in the affirmative: yes Quebec knew about it, and this as of April 1. On that date, I sent a detailed strategic document I personally wrote to the Québec Premier’s office, a communication which I made sure it reached his immediate entourage.

My message was very clear: there was already an urgent need to act on the basis of major therapeutic advances in the early treatment of COVID-19. But to date, nothing has been done to this end. Even worse, this treatment is denied to the population.

Yes, the provincial government was aware of this at the start of April, and it is important to put this in the context of the evolving epidemic and mortality.

As of April 1, there were officially 36 deaths in Quebec attributed to COVID-19. As of May 6, there were 2,631 deaths, with 121 reported in the past 24 hours, which shows that the pandemic is raging and out of control in the province. 

Official stats for the Province of Québec as of May 6 2020: see source.

Back in early April, it would have taken at most a week to set up an early treatment system for people who tested positive in Quebec, by associating it with the province wide COVID-19 screening network already in development at the time.

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Note that the recommendations I made are very similar to what was announced the next day by the Province of New-Brunswick, which rely on early detection, early treatment and follow-up of patients, including with tele-medicine.

The system in New Brunswick was set up in a few days, and the same could also have been done in Quebec.

As discussed in the article on Canada and Hydroxychloroquine, mortality rates among people treated for COVID-19 are more than 10 times higher in Canada than when using the treatment protocol, based on hydroxychloroquine , developed at IHU Marseille by the team of Professor Didier Raoult.

In Montreal, which is the epicenter of the pandemic in the Province of Québec, things are even worse, as the case fatality rate, on the basis of the latest figures, is 9.3%, i.e. higher than the 6.9% in Canada.

The detailed analysis referred to in my communications with the Québec Premier’s cabinet is condensed in the executive summary below, entitled “People should have immediate access to hydroxychloroquine-based treatment for COVID-19,” dated April 3.

Since then, scientific evidence relating to the treatment protocol developed by Professor Raoult and his team has strengthened. The full study, involving 1061 patients, was published yesterday on sciencedirect.com

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Below is a copy of the email sent to Premier Legault’s office on April 1, at the beginning of the epidemic in Québec, through an executive assistant, with the detailed analysis attached. The email has been received by the Prime Minister’s Office, yet no response or even acknowledgement has been received by the undersigned.

TRANSLATION OF EMAIL FROM APRIL 1 TO THE OFFICE OF THE QUÉBEC PREMIER FRANÇOIS LEGAULT

The document focuses on a concrete way to resolve the COVID-19 crisis through the generalization of a therapeutic approach, which is recent yet shows remarkable success, and which could be immediately applied here in Quebec, and elsewhere.

Since I completed the last version of the document, new French data have been published. I bring them to your attention here, as they show the considerable gap between situations with and without proper treatment.

At the IHU in Marseille, headed by Professor Didier Raoult, there have so far been 1,524 people treated, for a single death, an octogenarian man.

Contrast this for example with the Loire Region. The figures just published indicate 82 deaths in hospital, for 1021 confirmed cases.

I therefore invite you to read the document I wrote in English, which shows that a strategy aimed at mass screening and treatment, to gradually generalize the Marseille treatment protocol, would considerably reduce mortality and  considerably reduce the pressure on the health system and hospitals, especially intensive care units.

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Obviously, as you can see, this strategy contrasts sharply with the position taken by INESSS, which takes no account of the Marseille results and recommends exactly the opposite of what should be done. We must act early insists Professor Didier Raoult, who should be listened to, because he is the world’s greatest expert on infectious diseases, according to Expertscape.

I emphasize this, because if you are convinced by the strategy, you will obviously have to deal with many reservations. But as you probably know, there is already a use of hydroxychloroquine treatments in Quebec, this at the Jewish General Hospital, and probably in others – I did not follow the details too much in the province, and much of the information is not public.

How to get it all done, quickly, and in an organized manner? Everything is outlined in the document, including the strategy to end the crisis, which would be greatly helped, and accelerated, by the implementation of this system.

I am at your disposal for any questions, by telephone or video conference.

Please accept the assurance of my highest consideration.

Jean-Pierre Kiekens

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