FORT LAUDERDALE, FLA. (WSVN) - A coronavirus patient is battling back against the disease, and a doctor for Broward Health said a controversial drug has been key to his continued recovery, which has showed promise.
On Tuesday, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis called on Dr. Sunil Kumar from Broward Health to discuss the possible benefits of hydroxychloroquine, a treatment some in the medical community have said can help treat COVID-19.
“When these patients are admitted, some of them get really, really sick, and we didn’t have too many options, so in the initial stage, we started using a combination of hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin,” Kumar said. “The medication worked on that particular patient.”
Hydroxychloroquine is often used to treat rheumatoid arthritis, lupus and malaria. The drug has not been clinically proven to work against the coronavirus, and its side effects, especially when mixed with other drugs and depending on the dosage, have been known to be dangerous.
“As physicians, we always like to see itemized controlled trials before we can definitely say, ‘This drug is the magic bullet,'” Kumar said.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the country’s top infectious disease expert, said regarding hydroxychloroquine, “The data are really just at best suggestive. There have been cases to show that there may be an effect and others to show there’s no effect, so I think, in terms of science, I don’t think we can definitively say.”
Kumar described his use of the drug before playing a video testimonial from one of his patients.
“This drug seems to be working in a group of patients that we have treated,” Kumar said. “We are trying out all the different options at this point.”
The unidentified patient, struggling to breathe, expressed his thanks.
“Everybody here has treated me openly, fairly and in good faith, worked really, really hard to help me,” he said.
While initial results are showing promise, Kumar stressed the importance of further research into the treatment, and he also discussed some other promising treatments.
“We don’t want to assume that’s going to help everybody,” Kumar said. “I think we need to continue with aggressive efforts with randomized control trials, which is being done. There is something that we are trying on these very sick patients that’s called nitric oxide treatment. We are learning, like you said. Every day, we are learning something new.”
DeSantis then gave his thanks to Kumar for his fight during the coronavirus pandemic.
“Please know you have a lot of appreciation throughout the state of Florida,” DeSantis said.
His patient also thanked his doctor.
“You guys saved my life, and you know you did, and I’m lucky that you took the time to try because other places wouldn’t have,” he said.
Hydroxychloroquine has not been proven to work with all patients, and it is the subject of clinical trials around the world.
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