A professor of epidemiology at Yale is touting hydroxychloroquine as "the key to defeating COVID-19" and says the data "fully support" its wide use.
Harvey Risch, the director of Yale's Molecular Cancer Epidemiology Laboratory, said in an op-ed published in Newsweek that the data support the use of hydroxychloroquine. The drug, which was touted by President Trump, has been the center of a medical debate for the last several months.
"When this inexpensive oral medication is given very early in the course of illness, before the virus has had time to multiply beyond control, it has shown to be highly effective," Risch said in the piece.
Risch said multiple studies have shown that the drug is safe, including "an additional 400 high-risk patients treated by Dr. Vladimir Zelenko, with zero deaths; four studies totaling almost 500 high-risk patients treated in nursing homes and clinics across the U.S., with no deaths; a controlled trial of more than 700 high-risk patients in Brazil, with significantly reduced risk of hospitalization and two deaths among 334 patients treated with hydroxychloroquine; and another study of 398 matched patients in France, also with significantly reduced hospitalization risk."
He said that although the use of the drug has become "highly politicized," that "this is not how medicine should proceed."
"I believe this misbegotten episode regarding hydroxychloroquine will be studied by sociologists of medicine as a classic example of how extra-scientific factors overrode clear-cut medical evidence," Risch said. "But for now, reality demands a clear, scientific eye on the evidence and where it points."