COVID-19: Medical consultant urges caution against dismissing Hydroxychloroquine claims
Dr Joseph Ugboaja, a Obstetrics and Gynecology Consultant at the Nnamdi Azikiwe University Teaching Hospital (nauth), Nnewi has warned against politicisation of issues around Covid-19 pandemic in the world and Nigeria in particular.
Ugboaja, who is the Chairman, Medical Advisory Committee (CMAC) who was reacting on the recent viral video which claimed that Hydroxychloroquine could cure COVID-19 said the pandemic had assumed political dimension in America and across the world.
The expert who is the Chairman of NAUTH COVID-19 taskforce said it was not enough to unilaterally discreet the claim but rather it should confronted and disproved by superior facts.
She said the efforts at finding genuine cure to the pandemic should be genuine and devoid of political considerations in the interest of humanity.
“The fact before us, even anecdotal, suggests that Hydroxychloroquine has shown efficacy against the SARS- COV virus family, established even before the current pandemic. Ordinarily, one would have expected a concerted effort from national and international governments and bodies to improve upon what is already known.
“But surprisingly, what you see is a lot of efforts in the opposite direction trying to discredit whatever evidence that exists to support OHCQ efficacy against Covid-19 infection, this is indeed worrisome.
“My take is that there is little to lose by using the combination of OHCQ, Azithromycin and Zinc for mild to moderate cases until a more definite treatment modality has been established, we should not be playing politics with people’s lives.
“The fact that America has recorded the highest number of deaths in this period, despite their level of development in healthcare suggests that they need to seriously review their approach,” he said.
Ugboaja said doctors were not reluctant to a acknowledging the efficacy of combination of Hydroxychloroquine, Azythromycin and Zinc but insisted that there was need to subject medication to clinical and efficacy proof.
He said it was unfortunate that efforts at containing the pandemic by governments were being watered by vested interests in the medical profession regretting that it was leading rising number of cases, more deaths and more pressure at the hospitals and healthcare workers.
“We are not afraid to acknowledge that, the truth is that definite statement about the efficacy of Hydroxychloroquine in covid-19 treatment or otherwise can only be made via a well designed and executed RCTs.
“Unfortunately, the studies that were meant to elucidate this which were published in front line journals was marred by ‘ errors in methodology’ leading to a suspicion of interference and manipulation by big drug companies that want to develop and market antivirals and vaccines against covid-19.
“You won’t blame people who feel it is a conspiracy when you look at the whole issues surrounding the emergence of the virus in China, the World Health Organisation inconsistent guidelines and then the politics surrounding the use of Hydroxychloroquine, it is actually unfortunate and shouldn’t be.
“I just hope that all countries involved in this should realise that human lives are being lost on daily basis as well as means of livelihood.
“Its time to put away all political considerations and take a sincere and scientific approach to this fight. That’s the only way we can defeat this virus,” he said.
The Chairman of NAUTH Clinical Service said the pandemic had presented researchers in the medical field with the opportunity of exploring the efficacy of alternative medicine which some people claim had some curative value.
He called on all to sustain the precautions as advised in the Covid-19 protocols as the pandemic was still much with us.
“Yes, its true that a lot of reports point to the efficacy of herbs in treating covid-19 infection. I’m referring to the boiling of some leaves and inhaling the steam.
“Some people have also attributed the low death rate in Africa to widespread use of this, that has to be proven scientifically.
“But what is clear is that the covid-19 pandemic has presented an opportunity for us to look deeply into, and develop our herbal and natural medicines to complement what the orthodox system is doing.
“The relevant departments at the universities should liaise with the practitioners to fine tune our system. This is what other countries have done.
“No body is sure, this is a novel virus and much is still not known about it, but in Nigeria, going by the NCDC reports, the pandemic is still very much here with us, even with our limited testing capabilities. Its still not the time to relax our guards.
“Its unfortunate that people have failed to grasp the magnitude of the problems associated with COVID-19 and are not complying with preventive measures, we are only lucky that the mortality rate is far lower than in western countries , for reasons yet to be unraveled, otherwise, it would have been catastrophic for Africa.