Boston Medical Center Testing Drug That Could Slow COVID-19

BOSTON (WBZ NewsRadio) — President Donald Trump spoke Thursday about a drug used to treat malaria that could also have some hope of treating COVID-19.

Dr. Tamar Barlam, Chief of Infectious Disease at Boston Medical Center, told WBZ NewsRadio that drug, chloroquine, is actually a bit difficult to get ahold of—but that a similar drug shows some promise and is easier to find.

"There is a related drug, hydroxychloroquine, that we actually have been able to get in stock to a certain degree, not as much as of course we would want," Dr. Barlam said. "It is a fairly safe drug. It is a drug that has been suggested might be able to slow the virus, and also decrease some of the inflammation that can actually be a bad inflammation that could worsen the patient's course."

She said BMC has been using the drug in patients who are highly suspected of having coronavirus. So far, it's just for people who are showing symptoms at a certain level.

"We had to do that at this stage because of two issues," Dr. Barlam said. "Number one, the testing is still very very slow and hard to access, so we didn't want to slow clinical care while we waited for the test. The other issue is just supply. Even though we have pills, the number of rule-outs for COVID is so markedly increasing that if we just used it on everybody, we would have probably run out already."

Parker and Dr. Barlam also spoke about shortages of protective gear and equipment, and how the hospital is dealing with the pandemic.

Listen to the full interview below.

WBZ NewsRadio's Ben Parker (@radiobenparker) reports

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(Photo: Getty Images)

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