08 Apr 2020

Hospitals across the country are testing the use of Hydroxychloroquine, an Anti-Malaria drug that could be used to treat coronavirus.

President Trump has recently praised the drug in a recent press briefing saying, “We’ve had some unbelievable results, unbelievable results and it gives the people hope.”

Dr. Mark Rupp, director of infection control at Nebraska Medicine says the drug could prove to be beneficial but right now there are still a number of unanswered questions surrounding it.

Right now Rupp says UNMC is not using hydroxychloroquine to treat patients diagnosed with COVID-19.

“The responsible way to go forward with this is to as quickly as we possibility can do rigorous trials to answer the question whether this is beneficial to people,” said Rupp. “If so, then absolutely we will be using it.”

Hydroxychloroquine is prescribed to those diagnosed with arthritis and lupus. As hospitals offer the drug to patients diagnosed with COVID-19, Rupp says it’s taking the drug away for the people who need the drug for its approved use.

“The supply of drug in those approved indications is very hard to get and we’re having patients that actually can’t get lifesaving medication,” said Rupp.

The doctor also says hydroxycholorquine could pose a major risk for some patients.

“It can cause some what we call QT prolongation, which is slowing of the electrical conduction within the heart,” said Rupp.

UNMC officials say they’re waiting for more results before deciding if they’ll offer the drug to patients diagnosed or exposed to COVID-19.

“We’re trying to participate in some of these studies. We’re trying to gain additional information,” said Rupp. “We’re waiting for those studies to be done before we make an informed decision.”

Rupp also says enrollment in UNMC’s current clinical trial of remdesivir has drastically increased.

According to the doctor, enrollment has jumped to nearly 700 people and doctors expect to have results soon.

SOURCE: KTNV 7 – Omaha, NE

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