BOSTON (WBZ NewsRadio) — Hundreds of coronavirus patients at Boston Medical Center have been given the anti-malarial drug hydroxychloroquine, despite the fact that its effect on COVID-19 are still being studied.
According to Dr. Tamar Barlam, Chief of Infectious Diseases at BMC, one thing is for sure; the drug was not helping those already having trouble taking oxygen into their lungs. It still remains to be seen whether the medication could be useful if given to patients earlier on in the viral infection.
"Now we're giving it to patients while they're being admitted to the hospital and still in the Emergency Room," Dr. Barlam told WBZ NewsRadio. "We have to now analyze the second phase, to see whether giving it earlier actually is making a difference."
Dr. Barlam said while most people have not had any negative side effects, some patients have been taken off the medication due to concerns. She also said the rosy view of hydroxychloroquine is not appropriate.
On Wednesday, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention also removed its online guidance for doctors on how to prescribe the anti-malarial drug, which has been touted by President Trump as a possible treatment for coronavirus.
The change from the CDC comes three days after Reuters reported that the CDC had based its hydroxychloroquine guidance "on unattributed anecdotes rather than peer-reviewed science."
The CDC's guidance now says "there are no US Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved drugs specifically for the treatment of patients with COVID-19."
WBZ NewsRadio's James Rojas (@JamesRojasWBZ) reports: