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Fox 11 LA reported that Rio Giardinieri, 52, from Florida thinks he got the coronavirus after a conference in New York.
He had “a fever for five days, horrendous back pain, headache, cough, and tiredness.”
Soon after arriving at a hospital, he collapsed and had to be put in a ventilator. Despite this, he could barely breathe and the doctors said nothing could be done.
“I was at the point where I was barely able to speak and breathing was very challenging,” he said. “I really thought my end was there. I had been through nine days of solid pain and for me, the end was there. So I made some calls to say in my own way goodbye to my friends and family.”
However, a friend sent him information about hydroxychloroquine, a drug touted by President Trump as having lots of potential, though experts have warned to be cautious.
Giardinieri talked to his doctor about taking the drug, and after some discussion, his doctor agreed to prescribe it.
Then, the next morning, he “woke up at exactly 4:45 in the morning, [and] woke up like nothing ever happened.”
He currently has no symptoms of the disease, though it’s uncertain if he’s been tested again.
Would he have recovered without the drug?
Doctors don’t know, as there’s ancedotal evidence that hydroxychloroquine actually works, but Giardinieri credits the drug with saving his life.
“To me, there was no doubt in mind that I wouldn’t make it until morning,” said Giardinieri. “So to me, the drug saved my life.”
After Trump announced that hydroxychloroquine could be a potential treatment, people around the world raced to buy the drug, with some pharmacies reporting to be “overwhelmed.”
Previously, a couple was hospitalized, and the husband died after hearing about chloroquine on TV being touted by Trump as a cure and taking chloroquine phosphate, from tablets meant for aquarium cleaning. They had attempted to take it to try to prevent themselves from getting sick.
Hydroxychloroquine is form of the drug chloroquine, which are not FDA approved for treating coronavirus though there are clinical trials in progress, including in New York.
Doctors do not recommend taking hydroxychloroquine without consulting medical advice and there are potentially fatal side effects.
Chloroquine is however, approved for various other diseases and is generally considered safe when taken correctly, so doctors can prescribe it for patients. However, most doctors don’t recommend taking it preventively because it has potentially deadly side effects and it’s effectiveness, both as a treatment and preventive medicine, has not been fully studied.
The drug was first discovered by Chinese researchers as a potential cure, and a French study of a few patients who recovered after taking it brought lots of hype, though it had a very small sample size of 20 patients.
However, many top disease experts, including Dr. Anthony Fauci–who has served as a top adviser to Trump about the virus–have stated that the efficacy of chloroquine and its forms on the COVID-19 illness “is anecdotal, it was not done in a controlled clinical trial. So you really can’t make any definitive statement about it.”
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