Can Drugs Cure COVID-19?

The medical community and media have been praising the possibility that drugs, used for other diseases, can now be helpful with COVID-19 (AKA the coronavirus). Of course, the first question one should ask of any source promoting this is: Have any of these drugs been proven effective with respect to the elimination of the coronavirus? Fair enough question to as along with a few others.

Some additional questions one should ask would be:

  • Are these drugs safe? That is, do they have any known toxicities or adverse effects?
  • How safe are they? Safe enough for children or senior citizens?

Let’s explore this a bit. First, let’s take a look at what the recognized “experts” have to say.

People seem to be putting a lot of stock in the World Health Organization (WHO) these days, so what is their position on these issues?

COVID-19 Advice for the Public: Myth Busters

In short, as the WHO puts it:

To date, there is no specific medicine recommended to prevent or treat the new coronavirus (2019-nCoV).

WHO Coronavirus Myth Busters

OK, what about vaccines, according to the WHO?

In short:

No. Vaccines against pneumonia, such as pneumococcal vaccine and Haemophilus influenza type B (Hib) vaccine, do not provide protection against the new coronavirus.

The virus is so new and different that it needs its own vaccine.

WHO Coronavirus Myth Busters

I think you’ll find that to be the case pretty much across the board when it comes to vaccines and the coronavirus which is why they are scrambling to develop a specific COVID-19 vaccine.

So. What About This Hydroxychlorquine-Azithrommycin Combination Some doctors and the media are talking about?

The video below with Laura Ingraham and Dr. Mehmet Oz discusses a new drug combination that some doctors and patients have reported has helped them after they have been diagnosed with the COVID-19 coronavirus:

What then are we to make of this newly suggested combination of drugs?

Why don’t we take a look at what a consumer trusted source like drugs.com has to say about hydroxychloroquine (Hide roxy KLOR oh kwin) and chloroquine?

First of all, both hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine are anti-malarial medicines. They work by interfering with the growth of parasites in the red blood cells.

COVID-19 is a virus, not a member of the same family that the malarial parasite, Plasmodium is.

According to the website, MedBroadcast:

The Plasmodium parasite that causes malaria is neither a virus nor a bacterium – it is a single-celled parasite that multiplies in red blood cells of humans as well as in the mosquito intestine.

Medbroadcast – Malaria (Tropical Diseases, Parasitic Infection)

Clearly, both hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine are not designed to treat viral diseases.

That’s what the vaccines are being developed to do.

This is because of the nature of viruses themselves. They are tiny compared to even a bacteria which can be 100X larger than a virus and harder to target with a drug meant to treat a single-celled parasite.

Obviously, however, some doctors are claiming it could be a viable treatment. Could there be any harm in trying it anyway?

That would depend on the current state of health of the infected individual and their overall patient profile such as:

  • Pre-existing conditions?
  • Current Health?
  • Age – child or senior?
  • Current medications and interactions with the newly considered ones?

As with any medication you need to take these factors and others into account. For many of these considerations and to determine known adverse effects you can go to the links above at drugs.com or simply put in the name of any drug you are considering or using and find out for yourself.

Let’s look at at the adverse or side effects of one of the medications mentioned in the video above.

Adverse Effects of Hydroxychloroquine

Below is a partial list of the adverse effects of hydroxychloroquine:

  • Blistering, peeling, loosening of the skin
  • blurred vision or other vision changes
  • chest discomfort, pain, or tightness
  • cough or hoarseness
  • dark urine
  • decreased urination
  • defective color vision
  • diarrhea
  • difficulty breathing
  • difficulty seeing at night
  • dizziness or fainting
  • fast, pounding, uneven heartbeat
  • feeling that others are watching you or controlling your behavior
  • feeling that others can hear your thoughts
  • feeling, seeing, or hearing things that are not there
  • fever with or without chills
  • a general feeling of tiredness or weakness
  • headache
  • inability to move the eyes
  • increased blinking or spasms of the eyelid
  • joint or muscle pain
  • large, hive-like swelling on the face, eyelids, lips, tongue, throat, hands, legs, feet, and sex organs
  • loss of hearing
  • lower back or side pain
  • noisy breathing
  • painful or difficult urination
  • red irritated eyes
  • red skin lesions, often with a purple center
  • severe mood or mental changes
  • sore throat sores, ulcers, or white spots on the lips or in the mouth
  • sticking out of the tongue
  • stomach pain
  • swelling of the feet or lower legs
  • swollen or painful glands
  • trouble with breathing, speaking or swallowing
  • uncontrolled twisting movements of the neck, trunk, arms, or legs
  • unusual behavior
  • unusual bleeding or bruising
  • unusual facial expressions
  • unusual tiredness or weakness
  • yellow eyes or skin

Symptoms of overdose

  • Drowsiness
  • dry mouth
  • increased thirst
  • loss of appetite
  • mood changes
  • no pulse or blood pressure
  • numbness or tingling in the hands, feet, or lips
  • unconsciousness

For a full list of side effects and other suggestions on possible other complications associated with a pre-existing condition click here.

The truth is all synthetic drugs are unnatural chemicals that do not blend with our natural biological systems very well. As a consequence of their foreign nature and the fact that our blood distributes any drug that enters our body to our entire body, there are side effects.

What about Azithromycin?

As previously noted, Azithromycin is an antibiotic. The coronavirus is well…a virus. Viruses and bacteria are two different animals as they say.

Antibiotics work by targeting the growth-machinery in bacteria (not viruses) to kill or inhibit those particular bacteria. That’s because viruses and bacteria are structurally different.

Bacteria have more machinery. They can, therefore, divide outside of the body’s cell.

Viruses are more simple in structure. They need to borrow the machinery of a living cell in order to replicate by penetrating the cell and getting inside of it.

Thus, antibiotics cannot kill viruses because bacteria and viruses have different mechanisms and machinery to survive and replicate. The antibiotic has no “target” to attack in a virus. So, antibiotics do not work on viruses and vice versa. Anti-virals do not work on bacteria.

There are anti-viral drugs to do that, but there is a biological price to pay. That biological price is what is known as a side effect. Let me go on a brief detour to explain as concisely as possible.

Why Drugs Have Adverse or Side Effects?

Apart from the fact that it is a synthetic foreign substance with unknown potentials inside the natural biological system, the problem with all drugs is that the entire volume of our blood is pumped around our body once a minute or so. That is because your body needs a steady supply of blood to keep your organs functioning properly.

This means that once any drug reaches the bloodstream. It is fairly evenly distributed throughout the entire body. Truly, because of this, there is no such thing as a “magic bullet” as the old headache commercials used to depict.

Since, drugs reach all cells at some point, depending upon their amount and concentration, that is why there are side effects with any drug. And because they are foreign substances some of those side effects are adverse or unintended results.

Azithromycin mentioned above, as with any synthetic drug, also has side effects which you can see listed at this link to see what I mean. For your own safety, before you put a foreign substance like a synthetic drug in your body, check out its side effects.

What About Anti-Viral Drugs?

According to the list of influenza drugs on drugs.com, there are 33 drugs used to treat influenza alone. Tamiflu is the most popular. A drug called Amantadine is the third most popular.

Since 3rd out of 33 ain’t bad, let’s look at Amantadine a bit more carefully.

As noted before with an anti-viral influenza drug such as Amantadine, there will be side effects.

Let’s take a gander at a partial list of the first few listed for this anti-viral medication:

General
The more commonly reported adverse reactions have included nausea, dizziness/lightheadedness, and insomnia.

Nervous system

Common (1% to 10%): Dizziness/lightheadedness, ataxia, headache, somnolence, dystonia

Uncommon (0.1% to 1%): Weakness, slurred speech, hyperkinesia

Rare (less than 0.1%): Convulsion

Frequency not reported: Falling asleep during activities of daily living, withdrawal-emergent hyperpyrexia (a syndrome resembling neuroleptic malignant syndrome)

Postmarketing reports: Coma, delirium, hypokinesia, involuntary muscle contractions, gait abnormalities, paresthesia, EEG changes, tremor[Ref]

Psychiatric

Very common (10% or more): Hallucinations (up to 21%)

Common (1% to 10%): Insomnia, depression, anxiety, irritability, hallucinations, confusion, nervousness, abnormal dreams, agitation

Uncommon (0.1% to 1%): Psychosis, euphoria, abnormal thinking, amnesia

Rare (less than 0.1%): Suicide attempt, suicide, suicidal ideation

However, it does not stop there, the list goes on. Amantadine has side effects on the gastrointestinal tract, eyes, respiratory system, skin, kidneys, bladder, liver and muscular system. You can view the full list at this link.

This is only one anti-viral. If you want to research others, surf to drugs.com. Put the generic or brand name of the drug into the search engine and pull up the results. You may be surprised at what you find.

Before taking a drug let me once again mention that it’s your body and unless there is a threat of imminent death, it would be prudent to research any drug you are considering putting into your body.

Treating Viruses

Viruses are very simple organisms. They are not even considered to be living organisms because they cannot reproduce on their own as mentioned above.

They must hijack DNA to produce RNA from the cells they enter. Viruses carry their RNA or DNA payload inside a capsid which is a hard protein shell that cannot be easily penetrated, if at all.

The capsid permits the virus to remain dormant and avoid attacks from our natural antibodies by temporarily deactivating themselves and therefore avoiding detection as a foreign invader because they are a non-active threat. It is kind of like the mother ship, Nebedchanezzar, lying low in the Matrix movie to avoid detection.

However, if or when the correct conditions arise again, viruses reactivate themselves to replicate and increase which will produce the disease symptoms all over again.

This is why viral conditions like Lymes disease is so difficult to treat.

Antivirals do not always eliminate the symptom causing viruses because the virus goes into a state of dormancy keeping their DNA/RNA payload intact in their capsid until the attacking antibodies or medications are no longer present. Once the threat has ended, they reactivate and begin to attack cells to replicate themselves once again, recreating the disease symptoms.

Note: This is a good reason to keep your immune system strong and healthy.

Can the Drug Combo for COVID-19 Being Suggested Help?

The first thing to understand is that these two drugs, whether used in combination or alone, are not anti-viral drugs. The fact that they are producing relief then is quite likely not related to COVID-19.

Why would a drug designed and used since 1944 like chloroquine to treat malarial parasites, work on a tiny virus – a microbial class completely unlike the malaria parasite? It isn’t.

It is quite likely eliminating parasites, not coronaviruses? And in doing its intended job frees up the immune system to knock out the coronavirus.

The antibiotics that are eliminating symptoms of people who have tested positive for COVID-19 may be the product of the patient’s immune system which has been compromised.

A weakened immune system can more easily permit the growth of negative bacteria. Since bacteria can self-replicate, this can happen quickly if the immune system is not strong and active.

Note: This is a good reason to keep the gut microbiome healthy which includes the use of probiotics, not antibiotics.

Another possibility is that the patient was misdiagnosed and never really had the coronavirus or if they did, COVID-19 was not the cause of their symptoms? We don’t really know enough at this point in time to conclude what exactly is happening.

What we can conclude, as I hope you understand by now, the two combination drugs above are not directly impacting the COVID-19 coronavirus. Any impact they are having is indirect at best. This would point to other questions which are raised below.

Side Effect Considerations

After reading the above, I hope you understand that side effects are a consideration that must be taken into account with any synthetic drug. Your risk needs to be weighed against your reward.

That is, in fact, the patient’s profile fits the potential use of these medications. This will require more studies because we are, after all, not dealing with a healthy person, to begin with, or the doctor would not have considered a drug combination to treat them. Nor do we know enough about the COVID-19 yet to make clear decisions about that.

Nevertheless, the fact that these two drugs, which are not anti-virals raises some other implications that need to be answered:

  • Why is it that some people are reporting benefits from these drugs “off label” usage? What is different in their patient profile from others that make treatments with non-viral drugs work?
  • Could it be that patients labeled as coronavirus cases are not actually experiencing issues caused by the virus, but have other causes?
  • Could it be that these cases have symptoms not actually caused by the virus which is why they are responding to drugs intended to treat parasites and bacteria, rather than viruses?

These are questions that need to be answered as soon as possible in light of the massive interruption that this coronavirus panic is having on our daily lives and economy.

If perhaps this virus is not as powerful and impactful as we have been led to believe, and patients are responding not because of the virus but because other underlying issues are being impacted, then we need to change course quickly.

Unfortunately, the assumed country of its origin, China, has not cooperated with the international community by sharing its data nor allowing other experts to examine the claimed impacts. That has not helped in determining the cause and effect factors as they apply to this pandemic for sure.

Keeping these considerations and questions in mind whether you choose to use the combination suggested above is your call. I trust you have a better understanding of what your choice. I hope you make the correct one for your circumstances.

That being said there is another important question that needs to be answered.

Are there other ways to treat a virus? Ways that are safer and possibly even more effective?

From the point of view of one who is familiar with natural solutions, the answer to that is affirmative. We’ll take a closer look at those possibilities in an upcoming post.

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