Fake or fact: Chloroquine, a panacea?
Is chloroquine (hydroxychloroquine – trade name Resochin), the panacea humanity has been waiting for? After Donald Trump and Emmanuel Macron reported positively about it, the demand has increased worldwide. Does it live up to its promise or should we remain prudent and watch developments with a wary eye?
According to the US president, it is “quite possible” that the malaria drug acts as a protection against Covid-19. Plus, many military personnel would have been taking it daily for years. Is it a miracle cure after all?
We were made aware that chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine are chemically similar, but not the same. Nevertheless, in Wikipedia it goes about the application areas and side effects in a motley manner. Who can clear this up?
Dr. Wolfgang Wodarg says hydroxychloroquine when SARS-CoV-2 tests positive is life-threatening for people with G6PD deficiency.
Hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) is an old antimalarial drug. Severe cardiac and ophthalmological side effects have been reported. HCQ is not approved for Covid-19. However, it has been used in Italy and continues to be used in many countries under compassionate use. Since not only the virus alarm but also the message about a possible benefit of HCQ in combating it was spread from Wuhan, there have been many bad studies on this. Another 140 or so studies using HCQ are said to be registered by now.
HCQ has even been used in completely healthy people “to prevent severe courses” and prophylactically for medical personnel. The recommended dose is about 20 times that for malaria prophylaxis (400-800mg per day). More intensive use and even new production facilities (e.g. in Cameroon and India) for HCQ are currently being ramped up. All of this is done without sufficient evidence of a beneficial clinical effect of HCQ in SARS-CoV-2 positives, let alone test negatives.
However, HCQ was long ago identified as one of the drugs that cause severe damage, e.g. to erythrocytes, in people with hereditary glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G6PD) deficiency. As an effect of HCQ application in G6DP deficiency, severe hemolysis is seen after 1-2 days. The erythrocyte debris causes microemboli and damages delicate organs such as the kidneys and brain. In addition, erythrocytes are then missing as oxygen carriers. 1-2 days after the start of such treatment develops very severe clinical picture with weakness, dizziness, shortness of breath and signs of organ damage. This can end in death if the toxic medication is not stopped immediately.
When the drug is discontinued, the shortness of breath improves spontaneously thanks to a rapid normalization of the blood count. Above all, it remains important to monitor kidney function.
HCQ medication could be a reason for the cases in which – as in the USA – severe shortness of breath without typical signs of pneumonia has been observed in many cases. Had patients recently received HCQ? African Americans represent 6 percent of the population in the United States, but nearly 40 percent of Covid 19 deaths (5). Has anyone looked into whether the patients might have a G6PD deficiency? There’s no debate about that. This possibility is not even considered in the studies. The Italian and Australian health services have now finally warned against HCQ use in G6PD deficiency.
Hardly anyone seems to be aware that in sub-Saharan Africa, for example, hereditary G6PD deficiency is widespread (20-30% of the population). However, there is also a high prevalence of G6PD deficiency in other countries where malaria was or still is endemic. G6PD deficiency must also be considered in immigrant families, such as those in Chicago, New York and elsewhere. In these populations, triggered by already questionable SARS-CoV-2 test results, treatment or prevention with dangerous drugs like HCQ alone can kill many people. I remind you of these connections because many of the new HCQ studies do not specifically exclude subjects with this enzyme deficiency.
No conflicts of interest
April 23, 2020
Dr. Wolfgang Wodarg
Internal medicine-pneumology, hygiene and environmental medicine
on Thursday, 23 April 2020, 14:37