Senator Joe Pennacchio Questions Whether We Should Not Be Doing the Same
As COVID-19 numbers continue to escalate in New Jersey and around the globe, India has banned the export of hydroxychloroquine and the government is recommending healthcare workers take the drug as a preventive measure to avoid infection while treating Covid-19 patients.
Sen. Pennacchio called for more to be done to protect residents from COVID-19 as India recommends HCQ to prevent spread of virus to health care workers and bans export of the drug. (SenateNJ.com)
Senator Joe Pennacchio cited the development as evidence of growing support for use of the anti-malarial medication to stop the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
“Time is not on our side,” said Pennacchio (R-26). “Nations are stock piling this drug. Doctors treating coronavirus victims are loading up on it to keep themselves healthy. This is a new disease that is spreading rapidly and killing people. The key to stopping it may well be found in this drug that has been on the market for more than 70 years.”
India’s ban follows the lead of the United Kingdom, which last week prohibited the export of hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) and other critical medications.
“There is growing realization that HCQ may be effective as both a treatment for the virus and as a preventive measure to control the spread,” said Pennacchio. “Britain and India see the potential and have taken steps to protect their people. We should be doing the same here, to protect New Jersey residents and Americans.”
Earlier this week, Pennacchio announced that almost 70 doctors from around the nation had endorsed his call to approve hydroxychloroquine to contain COVID-19.
“The doctors and healthcare workers on the front line in the battle with this virus are ahead of curve. They are aware of the potential of HCQ and they know it has been used safely for seven decades,” Pennacchio added.
HCQ has the ability to prevent the virus from entering the cell, as well as to prevent the virus from replicating. HCQ has the unique factor of being able to accumulate high concentrations in the lungs (specifically where it is needed). What is also appealing is the long duration (22-day half-life) of HCQ in the body. These factors make it promising for early treatment if ingested days before the virus is introduced.
HCQ has a long track record as a safe and effective treatment for malaria, lupus and rheumatoid arthritis. A major study of the effectiveness of HCQ against the coronavirus is underway in New York State.
A recent French peer review study by renowned infectious disease specialist Dr. Didier Raoult, published in the International Journal of Antimicrobial Agents, showed promising results in the treatment of COVID-19 with hydroxychloroquine.
The French study also indicated a significant decrease in “viral shedding” from patients treated with HCQ. The lower the shedding, the less likelihood that the virus can be communicated to other individuals.
A recent medical paper written by Dr. Raymond Chang concluded that with no vaccine or antiviral in place, HCQ is the lead candidate for early treatment against the COVID-19 virus. Chang’s affiliations include the Institute of East-West Medicine in New York and the National Taiwan University Hospital in Taiwan.