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Hydroxychloroquine (HCQ)

Hydroxychloroquine (HCQ)


[The following is a chapter of Lori Weintz’s book, Mechanisms of Harm: Medicine in the Time of Covid-19.]

There’s a lot of buzz on the internet about…hydroxychloroquine [a drug that] has been approved for decades, very cheap, used in malaria and certain autoimmune diseases.

Anthony Fauci, NIAID Director
White House Covid Task Force
March 19, 2020

Fauci, back in April of 2020 couldn’t just ignore HCQ, despite his preference for the profitable remdesivir – not with all that “buzz on the internet.” “The buzz” most likely had to do with doctors who were having success treating Covid patients with hydroxychloroquine. Plus on March 28, 2020 the FDA had given HCQ Emergency Use Authorization to treat Covid. It was important to appear that HCQ was given a serious chance, but the study the NIH put together was a half-hearted attempt at best, and designed to fail at worst.

NIH “study” says HCQ not effective in Covid-19, increases mortality:

In April 2020 the NIH did a short retrospective study on HCQ, meaning they analyzed the records of a couple hundred men over age 65 in VA hospitals, and found “no evidence that use of hydroxychloroquine, either with or without azithromycin, reduced the risk of mechanical ventilation in patients hospitalized with Covid-19.” The analysis also concluded that overall mortality increased in patients treated with HCQ.

What the NIH Veterans Administration study failed to point out is that HCQ is most effective at onset of symptoms during the viral replication stage, not when a Covid patient is ill enough to be hospitalized and in the inflammation stage of the disease.
An Associated Press article published when the VA report was released on April 21, 2020 stated, “The drug (HCQ) has long been known to have potentially serious side effects, including altering the heartbeat in a way that could lead to sudden death.”

Someone was feeding the media misleading information about HCQ. It was well known that HCQ would only impact the heart in an adverse manner if given in too high doses, based on its decades’ long safety profile. Also, there were multiple real-world examples that countered the NIH “study.”

I became suspicious when the health authorities started an overt campaign against hydroxychloroquine, which I knew was a safe drug because I’m from the industry, and I had familiarity with it. I looked specifically into the issue that they were falsely assigning to it, which is QT prolongation (a heart-signaling disorder) and arrhythmias associated with drug-induced QT prolongation. It happened to be the area of focus of the last company that I had and worked with in pharma. I knew what they were saying about this drug was absolutely not true. 

More importantly, the regulators knew perfectly well that they were saying things that were not true. That immediately gave me pause. I started thinking, “They’re professionals, they know this issue, they know this data, yet they’re saying things that are not true.” That led me to start questioning the whole thing. If you catch an official or a professional lying about something straight to the public, what else are they lying about? (emphasis added)

Sasha Latypova
Former Pharmaceutical Executive
June 17, 2023

Dr. Vladimir Zelenko uses HCQ to successfully treat over 2,000 Covid patients:

Early in the pandemic, family physician Dr. Vladimir “Zev” Zelenko developed a successful protocol for treating Covid-19. In the early months, Dr. Zelenko treated over 2,000 Covid patients. For those in need of medication, he used a combination of HCQ, zinc, and azithromycin (AZ) or doxycycline, depending on the patient.

His goal was to treat at-risk patients during Stage 1 of Covid, the viral infection stage, which kept it from developing to severe disease. Of the 2,000 patients, many of them elderly, all recovered without long-term effects, except for two patients who had other severe health problems and passed away. Dr. Zelenko’s treatment kept 84% of his Covid patients out of the hospital. He observed long-term lung damage only in those who had been hospitalized and put on a ventilator.

Dr. Didier Raoult successfully treats over 1,000 patients with HCQ/AZ combo:

In Marseilles, France, Dr. Didier Raoult’s team conducted a study of 1,061 patients treated for Covid with a combination of HCQ and azithromycin from March 3-April 9, 2020. The study reported, “A good clinical outcome and virological cure was obtained in 973 patients within 10 days (91.7%).”

The HCQ-AZ combination, when started immediately after diagnosis, is a safe and efficient treatment for COVID-19, with a mortality rate of 0.5%, in elderly patients. It avoids worsening and clears virus persistence and contagiosity in most cases.

Interpretation of Marseilles, France study
Conducted March 3- April 9, 2020

A microbiological and clinical scientist, Raoult is the most highly-published infectious diseases expert in Europe, and was founder and head of the IHN Mediterranee research hospital, the premier infectious disease facility in France. Raoult was familiar with earlier studies of HCQ as an infective inhibitor of coronavirus disease progression. His report was likely influential in the FDA’s initial approval of HCQ for the treatment of Covid.

HCQ suddenly classified as a “poisonous substance” in France:

HCQ was over-the-counter in France for decades before some behind-the-scenes political maneuvering led to its reclassification as a “poisonous substance” in January 2020.

When Raoult released his findings in May 2020, prescriptions for HCQ went from an average of 50 per day to several hundred, and then even thousands. The French government quickly acted to recommend it not be prescribed for Covid except in clinical trials, in part based on the falsified Surgisphere study. (See Corruption of the medical journals: )

Raoult continued to have success using HCQ, combined with other drugs, as a treatment for Covid-19. From March 2020 through December 2021 Raoult conducted a retrospective cohort study of 30,423 Covid-19 patients. A pre-print version of the study concluded that, “HCQ prescribed early or late protects in part from COVID-19-related death.” 

It would appear that Raoult poked a hornet’s nest in conducting a routine study using routine drugs with decades-long safety profiles. After the pre-print of the study was published in March 2023, a group of French research bodies called for Raoult to be disciplined for the “systematic prescription of medications as varied as hydroxychloroquine, zinc, ivermectin and azithromycin to patients suffering from Covid-19 without a solid pharmacological basis and lacking any proof of their effectiveness.” 

Just to review: Hydroxychloroquine and ivermectin are on the World Health Organization’s list of essential meds and have almost no side effects or interactions with other medications. Zinc is an essential nutrient found in a variety of plant and animal foods and is available in pill form in any drug store. Azithromycin is an antibiotic that has been widely prescribed for decades and is also a WHO essential medicine. Multiple doctors and hundreds of studies have found ample evidence that these and other off-label meds were effective in treating Covid patients. Just what are these French research bodies so worried about?

Doctors who question the official narrative are persecuted:

Before proceeding further, it’s necessary to point out that every doctor mentioned in this paper, who has questioned the official Covid-19 narrative, has experienced public and professional persecution. Enter any of their names in a search engine and a list will appear of negative articles smearing their character and credentials. They have lost jobs, been censured, suffered financial losses, and been subjected to threats and actions against their medical licenses and certifications.

It’s important to ask ourselves why these professionals, who prior to the Covid-19 pandemic were well-respected and had successful careers, would subject themselves to the kind of ridicule and harm – both professional and financial, that they’ve experienced for questioning the official pandemic narrative. It would be much easier to go along and stay quiet.

This turning against freedom of speech and thought in medicine, and in other areas of our lives, should be of concern to all of us. 

Dr. Meryl Nass reviews toxic use of HCQ in Recovery and Solidarity trials:

In June 2020 Dr. Meryl Nass was a practicing physician in Maine. In previous years Dr. Nass had testified before Congress multiple times with regard to the Anthrax scare and biomedical terrorism, among other issues. Having been contacted by the Indian Health Ministry with some concerns, Dr. Nass was led to analyze two large HCQ studies – the Recovery Trial and the Solidarity Trial. 

The Recovery Trial, a joint effort with the UK government, the Wellcome Trust, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, had ended in early June, concluding that HCQ did not mitigate Covid, and led to higher death rates in patients. 

The WHO’s multi-nation Solidarity Trial had recently resumed the HCQ arm of the study which they had paused in May 2020 due to the reports from the Surgisphere study published in the Lancet, a premiere medical journal. The Surgisphere study, which claimed patients who received chloroquine or HCQ had 35% higher death rates, was retracted 13 days after publication, as its data was determined to be fabricated. 

Corruption of the medical journals:

The high-impact medical journals played a massive role in the human toll of Covid by censoring positive studies of repurposed drugs like hydroxychloroquine and ivermectin. They published clearly fraudulent trials that were designed to fail; to show that ivermectin didn’t work, and to show that hydroxychloroquine didn’t work. They also manipulated trials showing the safety and efficacy of the vaccines.

Dr. Pierre Kory
Pulmonary & Critical Care Specialist
Co-founder FLCCC

The Surgisphere piece was a scandal in the medical journal industry as to how such a shoddy and falsified study made it through peer review and into print. Rather than being an anomaly, the Surgisphere study became emblematic of the corruption in the vetting and the peer review of articles in prestigious medical journals during Covid. 

One of the problems with retracted studies such as Surgisphere is they continue to be cited as if they were legitimate. Taros and colleagues found in an analysis that “retracted articles were cited an average of 44.8 times” which was higher than average. They also found that the presence of the words “withdrawn” or “retracted” before an article title did not affect citation rates. 

In the case of a falsified study, retraction is necessary. But many journals no longer provide clear explanations as to why articles are retracted. For example, Jessica Rose and Dr. Peter McCullough submitted a study on vaccine-related myocarditis to the journal Current Problems in Cardiology. The peer-reviewed study was accepted for publication, but then without explanation, it was withdrawn. McCullough is certain the study was withdrawn because it did not support the official narrative that Covid vaccinations are safe and effective. Rose and McCullough found that 3,569/3,594 (99.3%) cases of myocarditis requiring hospitalization were not co-associated with Covid-19 respiratory illness, but were temporally associated with Covid-19 vaccination. The study was eventually listed on Zenodo, a general-purpose open repository.

After the Surgisphere study was determined to be falsified, the Solidarity trial resumed. Dr. Nass noted that in Solidarity, Recovery, and REMAP (another trial looking at possible Covid treatments), hydroxychloroquine was only being administered to hospitalized patients. HCQ is most effective during the early, viral replication, stage of Covid-19 disease, and is not very effective for someone who is already ill enough to be hospitalized. 

Toxic doses of HCQ were administered to trial participants:

But aside from the fact that they were giving HCQ at the wrong point in Covid infection, Dr. Nass was alarmed to learn that both the Solidarity and Recovery trials were administering toxic doses of HCQ to trial participants. The health ministry of India, which had profound success using HCQ to treat Covid-19, informed Nass that they had contacted the WHO with concerns that the Solidarity Trial was using four times the standard dose. Even worse, in the REMAP study, patients who were targeted for HCQ administration were already on a ventilator or in shock. That is, patients who were already near death were given toxic doses of HCQ. 

Nass states, “[HCQ] is very safe when used correctly, but not a lot more can potentially kill.” The WHO’s hired consultant in 1979, H. Weniger, had looked at 335 episodes of adult poisoning by chloroquine drugs, noting that a single dose of 1.5 to 2 grams of chloroquine base “may be fatal.” The Recovery trial used 2.4 grams in the first 24 hours of treatment, and a cumulative dose of 9.2 grams over 10 days. The Solidarity trial used 1.55 grams of HCQ base in the first 24 hours. Nass concluded, “Each trial gave patients a cumulative dose during the first 24 hours that, when given as a single dose, has been documented to be lethal. (The drug’s half-life is about a month, so the cumulative amount is important.)”

Nass confirmed that the massive dosage of HCQ in the trials was not recommended for any therapy condition according to the drug’s US label, and various pharmacology reference sources. 

The [trials were] not, in fact, testing the benefits of HCQ on Covid-19, but rather [were] testing whether patients survive toxic, non- therapeutic doses.

Meryl Nass

On June 15, Dr. Nass contacted WHO Director General Tedros Ghebreyesus informing him of her findings, and pointing out that trial directors, and the WHO, would be liable for damages if trial subjects had not been informed of the known risks associated with high doses of HCQ. On June 17, the WHO abruptly ended the Solidarity trial, claiming the decision was based on the Recovery trial results, among other data.

Dr. Nass has continued to call out the medical ethics violations she observed during the pandemic. Specifically, she has highlighted the dangerous precedent of government interference in the patient-provider relationship. Nass states:

[This battle is] about whether doctors and patients will be allowed in the future to decide on the care of the patient or whether there will be intrusions by the federal government, the insurance companies, the WHO [World Health Organization], the U.N. [United Nations], etc. who will be calling the shots and telling us what we can and can’t do to treat patients.

In more than three decades of practice as a physician, there has not been one patient complaint against Nass. In fact the three patients the Maine Board of Licensure claims Dr. Nass harmed by treating them for Covid with off-label medications (including HCQ and ivermectin) were not even interviewed by the Board.

They were, however, interviewed by Nass’ attorney, and all three expressed appreciation for Nass’ handling of their cases, and anger that Dr. Nass was being targeted by the Board. For her courageous efforts, Dr. Nass’ medical license was put on probation by the Maine Board on September 26, 2023. Dr. Nass has filed a countersuit against the Board for retaliatory conduct against her, and for violation of her First Amendment rights.

 Killing Hydroxychloroquine:

“Who or what is willing to maim and kill patients in order to kill hydroxychloroquine’s use in Covid-19?” 

Dr. Meryl Nass
June 19, 2020

June 15, 2020 – FDA revokes EUA approval of HCQ to treat Covid-19:

Relying on the skewed results from the Recovery Trial, on June 15, 2020, the FDA revoked its EUA approval of HCQ. The FDA alert stated that “continued review of the scientific evidence available for hydroxychloroquine sulfate…to treat Covid-19” determined that “the potential benefits of…HCQ no longer outweigh the known and potential risks for the authorized use.” 

FDA’s withdrawal of EUA for HCQ leads to patient deaths:

Contrary to policy-setting bureaucrats who were not treating patients, boots-on-the-ground doctors, such as Dr. Zelenko and Dr. Didier Raoult, were finding that HCQ and ivermectin (ivermectin is addressed later in this paper) were part of a regimen that prevented hospitalization for Covid, and reduced the length of time for illness. Dr. Paul Marik, the second most published critical care physician in the world, recounted in a January 24, 2022 US Senate panel discussion his extreme distress when prohibited by the hospital board from using repurposed (off-label) drugs after the FDA withdrew EUA. 

To clarify, off-label refers to using a drug to treat a condition other than those listed on the product label. Off-label prescribing is a key component in the practice of medicine, as doctors use their knowledge and intuition to treat each patient. Dr. Marik noted in a later hearing that 40 percent of drugs used in hospitals are off-label drugs, which use the FDA encourages, and “off-labeling is just a technical point about advertising.” Specifically, a drug company cannot advertise a product for use in any capacity other than its FDA-approved use. Doctors, however, can prescribe off-label, and share the results with colleagues.

At the time of the FDA’s withdrawal of EUA for repurposed drugs, mortality for Marik’s patients with Covid had been 50 percent that of his colleagues, yet he was instructed to stop using the off-label protocol he’d developed and to use remdesivir. 

Marik reported emotionally, “For the first time in my entire [40-year] career, I could not be a doctor…I had to stand by idly watching these people die.” For speaking out at his hospital, Marik lost his hospital privileges and was reported to the national practitioner database, potentially ending his medical career.

Profit motives behind killing HCQ:

With regard to the suppression of HCQ use, Dr. Nass concluded, “WHO and other national health agencies, universities and charities have conducted large clinical trials that were designed so hydroxychloroquine would fail to show benefit in the treatment of Covid-19, perhaps to advantage much more expensive competitors and vaccines in development, which have been heavily supported by Solidarity and Recovery trial sponsors and WHO sponsors.” 

Robert F. Kennedy, Jr explained it this way in 2022: 

There’s 400 studies that show benefits from hydroxychloroquine and almost 100 studies, I think 99, that show extreme benefit…of ivermectin. And there’s a handful of studies that are government-produced, WHO-produced, financed by Bill Gates that say that there was no benefit, but those studies have a lot of problems.

The WHO’s Solidarity trial examined remdesivir, hydroxychloroquine, and two other drug combos for effectiveness against Covid-19. The WHO’s statement that remdesivir should not be used was ignored by Fauci and the FDA. The WHO’s sabotage of HCQ was used to suppress the life-saving drug in favor of toxic remdesivir, and also to make way for the unnecessary Covid shots.

Published under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
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  • Lori Weintz

    Lori Weintz has a Bachelor of Arts in Mass Communications from the University of Utah and currently works in the K-12 public education system. Previously she worked as a special function peace officer conducting investigations for the Division of Occupational and Professional Licensing.

    View all posts

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