Breaking News: Major Contraindication to Hydroxychloroquine for COVID-19 Treatment!

A new major and potentially deadly contraindication to the hydroxychloroquine-based treatment to the COVID-19 has just been revealed.

The counter-indication has a novel and totally unprecedented modus operandi. It works as follows. The patient is totally aware of the availability of the treatment, but delays taking the treatment, or even refuses to take it altogether.

It’s now established that hydroxychloroquine-based treatment, to be effective, must be started early, typically shortly after testing positive, before the condition of the patient becomes severe.

When the treatment is taken too late, the odds for a full recovery from the disease are lower.

Why are number of patients delaying or en refusing treatment? The answer lies in a syndrome discovered by the late psychiatrist and TV commentator Charles Krauthammer. 

If you are not familiar with him, please watch:

The syndrome is known as TDS, or Trump Derangement Syndrome.

According to Wikipedia, TDS is a term for criticism or negative reactions to United States President Donald Trump that are perceived to be irrational, and have little regard towards Trump’s actual policy positions, or actions undertaken by his administration.

The well known CNN journalist Fareed Zakaria further defined the syndrome as “hatred of President Trump so intense that it impairs people’s judgment.” 

TDS is also known for provoking an “acute onset of paranoia in otherwise normal people.” 

This TDS counter-indication to hydroxychloroquine-based treatment appears to be rampant in some media organization. TV personnel, especially at CNN and MSNBC, seem to be at particularly high risk.

Constantly repeating the terms “unproven” or “controversial” regarding hydroxychloroquine, as for example @JoeNBC and @MikaBrezinski do, appears to be an aggravating factor. 

CNN’s @wolfblitzer shared the same views, along with @danabashcnn: unproven, adding that side effects could even be worse than the symptoms.

Just yesterday April 11, MSNBC’s @rachelmadow retweeted a CNN article claiming to present “the facts” about hydroxychloroquine, but failing to even mention the results of the major study released in France, by the world’s number one expert in infectious diseases, Professor Didier Raoult. This new research is so important that French President Emmanuel Macron travelled to Marseille on April 9 to be briefed about it and to get an advanced copy.

What you will not read on CNN are the facts about this research. 1061 sick patients treated; only 10 out of the 1061 patients, i.e. just 1%, needed emergency room treatment; 5 patients, aged between 74 and 95, unfortunately died, yet this represents a very small case fatality rate of just 0.47% among treated patients, which is considerably lower than the 3.8% that is currently observed in the US, or the 12% case fatality rate in the UK. 

The study, which was conducted on hospitalized patients with close medical supervision, including two electrocardiograms, did not observe a single cardiac issue, despite abundant claims that such treatment would be dangerous or even could lead to death – something mentioned by the head of the American medical association on CNN, responding to @wolfblitzer.

While ignored by the media, the research is also facing pushback from the science community for the so called retrospective methodologies used in the trials, and it’s worth briefly explaining why here. 

The Marseille researchers, since they learned over a month ago from research made in China that hydroxychloroquine was useful to treat COVID-19 patients, rapidly concluded they could not ethically, and medically, use “placebo patients.” Such patients are needed for control groups in randomized controlled trials. But giving placebos sends to a likely death many very sick patients, facing a mortal disease, by failing to give them a real treatment.

Many COVID-19 therapy researchers worldwide are much less responsible, and proceed with randomized controlled trials with placebo-fed control groups. It is this type of researchers who typically insist there is no effective cure, in part because they don’t want to be liable and potentially be sued for having misled the patients or their families when obtaining their written consent prior to the participation in the randomized trial.

Actually, it looks like the word is spreading that these randomized trials may not be that safe to join. There are numerous calls by universities, governments and even the World Health Organization, for more volunteers for COVID-19 clinical trials, as they face problems in recruiting volunteers.

See our article about the most recent Marseille research: 

There are numerous media reports that hydroxychloroquine-based treatment works, including in the US. For example, Dr. Anthony Cardillo, a Los Angeles doctor, explained on the ABC network how he was successful in treating patients with hydroxychloroquine, especially with the addition of Zinc.

Even CNN reported very favorably about hydroxychloroquine treatment, but this was on … CNN Brazil. The interviewed medical doctor, an internationally renown and widely respected specialist, Dr Nice Yamaguchi, PhD, who has numerous publications and has previously acted as deputy to the Minister of Health in Brazil, strongly argues in favor of hydroxychloroquine. The medication is increasingly seen in Brazil as a game changer.

OK. This is all serious and real, but this article is part informative, but also part satire, as you may have found out by now, so let’s get back to our high risk individuals. 

We talked about TV. But what about the print media. For that, Tucker Carlson has already done is homework on March 25.

What did he find? Bloomberg informed that “malaria drug chloroquine no better than regular coronavirus care.” Washington Post, USA Today and others referred to the drug as “Snake Oil.” CNN’s web edition referred to the drug as “unsubstantiated hope in dark times.” 

For sure, the US president has not much credibility when he talks about hydroxychloroquine, even if lately, he got it pretty much right, mentioning the three key molecules that seem to work: hydroxychloroquine, azithromycin and zinc. 

Maybe the president’s task is near impossible, because his principal health advisor, Dr Anthony Fauci, while he already admitted he would prescribe hydroxychloroquine if he had to, is much more in favour of vaccination, an area where he does not seem devoid of conflict of interest, and there are wild stories about this online.

With the raging pandemic, most doctors in the US are not really listening to all of this and are prescribing the drug, when available. 

Many first line health workers are reported to be using hydroxychloroquine for prophylactic purposes, a bit like it’s used to prevent contracting malaria. The basis for doing this is that lupus patients who take the drug on a year long basis don’t seem to get COVID-19.

The good news here is that the US administration has not waited for a consensus to emerge. According to Forbes, it has already stockpiled some 29 million doses of the drug.

Now, it’s clear that, with hydroxychloroquine as with anything else, first impressions count. There are numerous people in the general public who now have an extremely negative view about the medication.

Yes, TDS is a very special and unprecedented counter-indication: it spreads even more than COVID-19. It spreads through the airwaves.

Who may be the main casualties? Other than these media personalities and journalists seemingly gravely suffering from TDS, it may be you, the citizens, who are watching the news. 

And the people in America are not the only victims. It seems for example that the Prime Minister of Canada, Justin Trudeau, who actually got COVID-19 and, good for him, overcame it, has already decided to rule out hydroxychloroquine, as he declared days ago that Canadians would need to wait for a vaccine. 

In Canada, many medical professional associations have taken positions against hydroxychloroquine, emphasizing it was not only unproven but also not approved. No drug is obviously approved for COVID-19, as the virus was unknown just 6 months ago!

Canadian medical associations, except for New Brunswick, typically cite dangerous and potentially deadly side-effects. Ironically, they also typically stress the need to reserve the drug for rheumatoid arthritis and lupus patients, who are taking the drug on a long term basis, while the typical prescription for COVID-19 is for between 5 and 10 days.

But not all Canadian medical doctors seem to agree. How can one know that for sure? Very simply, because many doctors were caught stockpiling the drug! They were not caught stockpiling antacid, nicorette or viagra. They were caught hoarding hydroxychloroquine, apparently mostly for their private use, to the point that sanctions were introduced against such stockpiling.

Unlike in the USA, most Canadian citizens cannot access hydroxychloroquine for early treatment of COVID-19. All the provinces and the federal government have decided it was ineffective, that it was unproven, and they deny treatment to the people. The only exception is the Province of New Brunswick, where a remarkable provincial-wide program combining early hydroxychloroquine-based treatment with research started a week ago.

Another jurisdiction where TDS seems to have spread is the United Kingdom, which also denies hydroxychloroquine treatment to its population and consistently insists that further home-made research is needed. A brief survey of major newspapers, both left-leaning and conservative, demonstrates that there is a wide, yet unsubstantiated, consensus there against the medication.

In the UK, the reported case fatality rate is currently 12% – against 0.47% at the IHU in Marseille. The case fatality rate is 25 times lower at the Marseille University Hospital than on the UK territory, and this does not even attract an ounce of interest by the UK media.

It was just announced that the UK Prime Minister was released from hospital. Good for him. Just a day ago, he was still in intensive care, where the odds of surviving are typically around 50%. Maybe Boris Johnson should have a serious look at the French research right away and offer hydroxychloroquine as a treatment to the population.

Remember, in the French study, only 1% of those treated needed emergency room treatment, which not only is great for the patient, but would also be amazing for the medical personnel and the whole NHS. Actually, with hydroxychloroquine, Boris Johnson, would probably not have needed to go to the emergency room and would have recovered faster.

Now, under these circumstances of widespread TDS prevalence vehiculated by the airwaves, will those suffering from COVID-19 and having been a spectator to this media frenzy take the pills prescribed by their doctors early enough so that the medication is effective? 

Clearly, there is a risk that they may refuse the drug, or take it too late. And their life could then possibly be at even higher risk.

What would be the solution to resolve this unfortunate yet dangerous counter-indication?

It’s pretty simple. Do your homework. Read the key scientific research. Listen to the testimonials of those medical doctors and patients who concluded that, from their experience, the medication works. Be extremely suspicious of those media using terms such as unproven, controversial and of course … snake oil. Obviously I am biased here, but my blog may be a good starting point:

Regarding side-effects, remember that they are very limited as long as the medication is taken at the right dosage under medical supervision. Don’t self-medicate!

Remember, there were no significant side-effects in the recent study in Marseille, covering 1061 patients. 

As a matter of fact, almost any type of medication has risks. Did you know for example that Tylenol is way more dangerous than usually thought?

According to a 2004 study, acetaminophen (Tylenol) overdose is the leading cause for calls to Poison Control Centers (>100,000/year) and accounts for more than 56,000 emergency room visits, 2,600 hospitalizations, and an estimated 458 deaths due to acute liver failure each year.

Yes, COVID-19 is a very serious disease. It requires professional medical early treatment. 

It’s also much better to have a rationale, TDS-free,  patient to face this very serious disease. 

If treated early with the right treatment and professional medical care, the odds of a prompt healthy recovery, according to the French research, seem pretty good, as indicated above.

Charles Krauthammer, who coined the TDS concept, left us in 2018. While a conservative, he was widely praised, and not just by the conservatives. For sure, he would have been a wise voice to comment about the current crisis and about how the media is covering it.

This may be wishful thinking, but let’s hope that the media will start dealing with this crisis and hydroxychloroquine-based treatment more responsibly.

Because we don’t want TDS to actually be an additional cause of mortality in this pandemic.

The author, Jean-Pierre Kiekens is an independent policy analyst, a former Lecturer at the Université Libre de Bruxelles, and a Graduate from the Universities of Brussels and Oxford.

PS: Please don’t put me in a political box. First, I am not American. Second, I like media people left and right, as long as they are independent in their coverage, do their homework, are bright and witty. Two of my favorites: @KyleKulinski and @TuckerCarlson.

© 2020 Jean-Pierre Kiekens. All Rights Reserved.

Want to go one step further? Here is a discussion about how a mass treatment strategy would work, and would probably lead us to an earlier “covexit” than anticipated.