Nigerian doctors fault use of hydrochloroquine for COVID-19 treatment

 

Guild of Medical Directors (GMD), a body of private medical practitioners in Nigeria, has faulted the claims of Dr. Stella Immanuel, a medical practioner based in the United States of America that a combination of Hydrochloroquine (HCQ), Zinc and Zithromax can cure coronavirus.

Dr. Stella Immanuel, along with other doctors, at a press conference in a viral video, affirmed the efficacy of HCQ, Zinc and Zithromax for cure of COVID-19, where she specifically confirmed applying the combination of these drugs for a total of 350 COVID-19 patients with no death reported, as all patients recovered.

But the GMD in a statement released Tuesday, said Dr. Stella Immanuel’s claims were unscientific and unsubstantiated, saying the claims were her personal opinion which should not be taken seriously, warning that there is no approved vaccine yet.

The Nigerian doctors warned that Coronavirus was real and that the virus was an indiscriminate killer which had killed many doctors and nurses all over the country, including Professor Lovett Lawson, advising everyone to practice social distancing, wearing of face mask and washing of hands frequently.

The statement reads in part:

URGENT PRESS RELEASE FOR IMMEDIATE PUBLICATION

Date: Tuesday, July 28, 2020

TITLE: WHAT DO YOU THINK, DOCTOR?

We have watched with dismay the viral video of Dr. Stella Immanuel, a doctor in the United States of America. The video has been shared all over the country and led to many people justifiably asking the question, ‘What do you think, doctor? The video was part of a news conference held in America. The event was hosted by the Tea Party Patriots. The organization America’s Frontline Doctors, a group founded by Dr. Simone Gold, a board-certified physician and attorney, and made up of medical doctors, came together to address what the group calls a “massive disinformation campaign” about the coronavirus. Dr. Stella Immanuel was among the doctors who spoke.

Dr. Stella Immanuel strongly attests to treating over 350 patients in her clinic in Houston, Texas, with the combination of Hydrochloroquine (HCQ), Zinc and Zithromax. However, people must understand that this is not scientific evidence and just her own personal, unsubstantiated claims.

The important point of course, is to note that medical research has subjected HCQ to intense research. While some studies suggest that it is effective, others have come to the opposite conclusion. It is also true that Senegal, where HCQ is routinely used, has one of the lowest Covid-19 case fatality rates in the world at 0.64% compared to 3.4% in the USA.

As we speak, a study is underway in LUTH on its efficacy and safety. Subsequently, a meta-analysis of all these studies should be undertaken to pool all the results and come up with a summative analysis which will guide clinicians. Until then, all anecdotal claims such as the one from Dr. Stella Immanuel must be taken with a pinch of salt. It should also be noted that HCQ may be a cause of serious complications and even death in some people.

Other anecdotal claims such as the herbal mixture from Madagascar have subsequently been proven ineffective. The Guild of Medical Directors is a body of owners of private hospitals in Nigeria and collectively we are responsible for the management of about 70% of the healthcare needs of Nigerians. So, a lot of the burden in explaining the problem as related to the video naturally falls on us.

Therefore, we feel it is pertinent to explain or clarify the issues for Nigerians.  We must reiterate that the Coronavirus is real and Covid-19 disease is an indiscriminate killer.  We know from personal experience since it has killed many doctors and nurses all over the country, including our very own Professor Lovett Lawson.

This disease is definitely not a joke and we strongly condemn the politicization of the disease and the treatments currently being used to fight the pandemic. As at today, the whole world is still actively looking for an effective treatment and of course, a vaccine. Until then, everyone has a responsibility to remain safe and protect one another through the ways proven to help.

These are practicing social distancing, wearing a face mask and frequent proper hand hygiene.

Name: Professor Olufemi Emmanuel Babalola, President, Guild of Medical Directors

Professor of ophthalmology

Consultant ophthalmologist Rachel Eye Center

IP HOD Surgery, Bingham University, Jos/Karu

Vice President, MEACO.

Telephone: 08098603395

Email: bablo57@gmail.com

Date: Tuesday, July 28, 2020

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