When quinine was first touted as a possible treatment (most notoriously by Trump), the idea was immediately denounced as bad science, false hope etc etc.
Some states in the US even banned it, like Nevada and Michigan. (The Nevada governor was later revealed to be secretly stockpiling it, whilst denying it to his citizens.)
The Guardian described Trump as Nero for even suggesting it. Yes, the guy who burned down Rome and used Christians as human torches for his garden. Many major newspapers called him a snake oil salesman. Remember that as you read below.
And all this anger toward the drug was expressed despite the fact that it is on the WHO’s list of essential medicines, and millions of people take it every year for lupus and arthritis and malaria - with minimal side effects. In Africa, the drug is very common.
But then countries and cities decided to give it a go.
In March, researchers from the Stanford University Medical School, the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Medicine, and the National Academy of Sciences of the US, released a report titled ‘An Effective Treatment for Coronavirus (COVID-19)’:
Recent guidelines from South Korea and China report that chloroquine is an effective antiviral therapeutic treatment against Coronavirus Disease 2019. Use of chloroquine (tablets) is showing favorable outcomes in humans infected with Coronavirus including faster time to recovery and shorter hospital stay. US CDC research shows that chloroquine also has strong potential as a prophylactic (preventative) measure against coronavirus in the lab, while we wait for a vaccine to be developed. Chloroquine is an inexpensive, globally available drug that has been in widespread human use since 1945 against malaria, autoimmune and various other conditions.
More recently a global survey of doctors found that most of them believe quinine is the most effective treatment. Yes, major media outlets lied about an effective drug. Please remember that.
Then there is this French pilot study detailed below.
This Twitter thread provides a useful summary of the recent evidence for and against the drug.
There’s also the fact that malarial countries where quinine is already being used widely have low rates of coronavirus - namely India and sub-Saharan Africa.
New York’s curve is going down now, after the Governor allowed mass prescription of hydroxychloroquine. Yes, that’s correlation at this point, but given the other data, the drugs seems far more likely to be the cause than social distancing - especially when you consider the shops are all open etc.
Governor Cuomo initially blocked the drug from being used specifically for the virus, but is now admitting that it seems to be an effective treatment.
We obviously wait for full studies, but considering the drug is low-risk, cheap, and generic, it becomes harder and harder to ignore its current, real-time effects.
Here’s a Democratic politician from the US specifically crediting Trump (!) for encouraging the use of the drug which she believes saved her life. Many such cases.
So the question is, why on earth was this innocuous drug denounced by ‘experts’ before? Is dumping on Trump that urgent? Is it not in the interests of experts to have a cheap, generic drug be effective?
Coronavirus is indeed a massive crisis - but I don’t think we are getting a full picture of what is going on. The scientific-media complex has clearly lost all credibility.
At some point, we also need to acknowledge the fact that the heavily quarantined countries have not come out the best. Could it be that forcing people into confined spaces, and then putting medical facilities into panic mode are net negatives?
Look at this data from Google, which shows that the worst-hit countries had the MOST and EARLIEST social distancing:
And now there is talk of extended lockdowns.
Lockdowns of entire countries have never taken place in history. Only quarantines of select groups or villages. We are in uncharted territory - yet it is not clear we need to be here. How many people are in ICU currently from the virus in South Africa? Ten? Fifteen? (Apparently our TB vaccines are already something of a shield for us too.)
In South Africa, 50 people are generally murdered every day. Around another 50 die on the roads. Aids kills around 200 daily. Where are the troops stopping this stuff?
More pressingly, how many jobs will be lost because of the government response? Unemployment destroys lives and families. What effect will all this have on suicide rates, domestic violence, child abuse, drug use? Losing a job has long been considered one of the most intense causes of stress - and stress kills.
I think Oppenheimer/Rupert/Motsepe money could be better spent than on micro-loans.
Let’s get the best treatment possible, masks, sanitisation, whatever else.
Cancel our Chinese debt unilaterally, and then let’s steal a march on the rest of the world by getting back to work.