POSTSCRIPT / April 9, 2020 / Thursday


Philippine STAR Columnist

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What drugs cured 84 coronavirus patients?

WHAT medicines, herbs or concoctions were given the 84 Filipinos who were infected with the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) to cure them in the absence of a government-approved drug for it?

In New York, Dr. Vladimir Zelenko who serves a three-drug cocktail to his patients showing Covid-like symptoms touts a 100-percent recovery record. His treatment consists of an antimalarial medication called hydroxychloroquine, the antibiotic azithromycin, and zinc sulfate.

The “simple country doctor” appears to have caught the eye of President Trump and others desperate for a Covid-19 cure, but his formula is still regarded with caution by a number of his peers and experts in the drug industry. See also:

Over here, we just want to know how our doctors and health workers, serving beyond the call of duty, saved those 84 patients, and what medicines they used.

The government seems to be engrossed in physically stopping the virus from spreading. The bigger worry is actually in its having to feed and pacify the locked-down millions who had lost not only their jobs or livelihood but also some of their basic rights.

As expected, President Duterte has extended the Luzon-wide lockdown until April 30 while he searches for ways to stop the contagion that has forced his administration to cough up the billions it has hidden in the national budget and other reserves.

The P270-billion emergency package given to Duterte to cover social amelioration costs for two months is all but gone. He will have to raise more billions as it is almost certain that the lockdown will overshoot the April 30 cutoff and foment unrest.

Aside from being obsessed with stopping the spread of the coronavirus, Duterte should act quickly on two other vital concerns: a CURE (for those already infected) and a VACCINE (to protect those who still do not have the virus).

As of yesterday, 84 of the 3,764 local Covid-19 patients have been reported cured. That is a bad sign considering that that 2.23-percent recovery rate is only a tenth of the global recovery average of 21.16 percent (301,828 cured out of the 1,425,932 total cases).

For a wider view, compare our 2.23-percent recovery with those of the Top Three worst-hit countries: United States, 5.47 percent recovery; Spain, 30.44%; and Italy, 17.99%. Also look at Germany, 33.51%; Russia, 6.58%; South Korea, 64.79%; Japan, 15.15%; and Singapore, 25.45%.

China claims an awesome recovery of 94.4 percent! This record was set when 77,167 of its 81,740 total Covid-19 patients were declared cured. Is that one of the reasons why Duterte invited China’s miracle workers – carrying gifts — to come over and share their secret?

(Filipinos should get used to the growing Chinese shadow. At the rate Duterte has been bearing left toward Beijing, the Philippines could eventually find itself deep in communist China’s sphere of influence, if not as a de facto administrative region.)

 Has NY doctor found a Covid cure?

REGARDING Vladimir Zelenko, the 46-year-old family doctor who gained attention after he reported a 100-percent Covid-19 recovery score, here is a part of his March 23 open letter “to all medical professionals around the world” (copy sent to President Trump):

“My name is Dr. Zev Zelenko and I practice medicine in Monroe, NY. For the last 16 years, I have cared for approximately 75 percent of the adult population of Kiryas Joel, which is a very close-knit community of approximately 35,000 people in which the infection spreads rapidly and unchecked prior to the imposition of social distancing.

“As of today my team has tested approximately 200 people from this community for Covid-19, and 65 percent of the results have been positive. If extrapolated to the entire community, that means more than 20,000 people are infected at the present time. Of this group, I estimate that there are 1500 patients who are in the high-risk category (i.e. >60, immunocompromised, comorbidities, etc).

“Given the urgency of the situation, I developed the following treatment protocol in the pre-hospital setting and have seen only positive results:

1. Any patient with shortness of breath regardless of age is treated.

2. Any patient in the high-risk category even with just mild symptoms is treated.

3. Young, healthy and low-risk patients even with symptoms are not treated (unless their circumstances change and they fall into category 1 or 2).

“My out-patient treatment regimen is as follows:

1. Hydroxychloroquine 200mg twice a day for 5 days.

2. Azithromycin 500mg once a day for 5 days.

3. Zinc sulfate 220mg once a day for 5 days.

“The rationale for my treatment plan is as follows. I combined the data available from China and South Korea with a recent study published from France (sites available on request). We know that hydroxychloroquine helps Zinc enter the cell. We know that Zinc slows viral replication within the cell. Regarding the use of azithromycin, I postulate it prevents secondary bacterial infections. These three drugs are well known and usually well-tolerated, hence the risk to the patient is low.

“Since last Thursday, my team has treated approximately 350 patients in Kiryas Joel and another 150 patients in other areas of New York with the above regimen.

“Of this group and the information provided to me by affiliated medical teams, we have had ZERO deaths, ZERO hospitalizations, and ZERO intubations. In addition, I have not heard of any negative side effects other than approximately 10 percent of patients with temporary nausea and diarrhea.

“In sum, my urgent recommendation is to initiate treatment in the outpatient setting as soon as possible in accordance with the above. Based on my direct experience, it prevents acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), prevents the need for hospitalization and saves lives.”

(First published in the Philippine STAR of April 9, 2020)

Dear Sir Pascual, 1st, I like your old format better. It was simpler and to the point. Now, when I download your article, I have to do more deleting as I am only interested in the article...nothing else. 2nd, I am a little apprehensive regarding the use of antibiotics in the case of Vladimir Zelenko (btw, how did Vladimir become Zev?) but seeing the urgency of the situation and short exposure duration (i.e., 5 days), I can live with that. My take is the zinc. I have always known zinc is a good immune system booster. 3rd, I am not and will never be an advocate of vaccines. They are outright dangerous and goes against nature, bypassing all of nature's barriers and defenses (from the skin to the digestive system to the immune system). The high mortality rates, having the same results, have different causes. The USA is a very sick society (with millions of people with chronic lifestyle diseases ranging from hypertension to diabetes to obesity to cancer and to many more) so I was not surprised. For Italy, many of the villages have narrow alley-like streets and Italians have a propensity to be touchy-feely people, so it is again no surprise. As with Spain, also touchy-feely people. The other countries cited are all temperate zone countries. In the case of China, they are known to propensity to eating exotic animals which is where most new disease appear to be originating from. For the Philippines, we have a relatively high mortality rate because many of us adopted the unhealthy Western diet and "inherited" many of the consequent chronic lifestyle diseases, so it is no wonder we are experiencing similar rates. Finally, the latest news from the USA says that many states, barely 2 weeks into the pandemic, are already experiencing a flattening of the curve. I wonder which states. What we need is a careful and thorough study of the demographics of the pandemic fatalities (primary of which is their pre-existing and underlying health conditions). P.S.: Have you seen the chart released in the news this AM regarding how long can the CoViD-19 survive on different surfaces, The longest (7 days) is on the face mask.


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