Months after China allowed a few dozen cases of a new coronavirus to grow into a global pandemic, the world is racing to find a cure for COVID-19.
While a clinically proven vaccine is still in the works, there are hopeful reports of existing drugs that are seemingly able to help patients triumph over the worst the disease has to offer.
These apparent wonder drugs, which include hydroxychloroquine, have sparked a worldwide debate over their usefulness.
Some who have taken the anti-malarial drugs credit the medications for their survival, and proponents point to these uplifting examples as the best news yet in the current pandemic.
Others, like Democratic Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, took a different stance on hydroxychloroquine.
Whitmer’s Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs threatened doctors who prescribed the drug with investigations and administrative punishments, according to a letter issued by the agency last week.
This came after President Donald Trump himself hyped the promising drugs, a move which caused critics in politics and the media to wage a campaign against the medicines’ use:
President spreading super dangerous misinformation that will make crisis worse.
— David Rothschild (@DavMicRot) March 21, 2020
The Michigan governor, whose anti-Trump attitude and political presence make her a potential vice presidential pick for Democratic candidate Joe Biden, appears to have changed her mind on the usefulness of hydroxychloroquine.
Only a day after the Food and Drug Administration issued an emergency use authorization for hydroxychloroquine sulfate, Whitmer was gunning for her cut from the national stockpile.
Michigan Department of Health and Human Services spokeswoman Lynn Sutfin confirmed to Michigan news outlet Bridge Magazine on Monday that the administration is not only asking, but “pursuing a request” for the drug.
The change of heart could not have come at a better time, either.
Michigan has been one of the areas of America hardest hit by the coronavirus.
While it doesn’t have the same sheer number of cases as New York, Michigan’s 7,615 confirmed cases make it the fourth-worst-off state, according to data from Johns Hopkins.
The new flow of drugs provides hope that the tide may soon turn.
Some experts, like Dr. Vladimir Zelenko of New York, say the drugs are a game-changer.
Zelenko claims his cure rate with a hydroxychloroquine cocktail is 100 percent.
#coronavirus News Alert: Dr. Vladimir Zelenko, a board-certified family practitioner in NY, has now treated 699 Covid-19 patients with 100% success using Hydroxychloroquine Sulfate, Zinc and Z-Pak. All symptoms of shortness of breath resolved within 4-6 hr https://t.co/siCvNg845Q pic.twitter.com/lOrUvBHp0A
— Adam Milstein (@AdamMilstein) March 29, 2020
Although several countries have embraced the drugs, many still remain skeptical of the promised effects.
Hydroxychloroquine is becoming such a hot commodity that one of the medication’s main producers, Hungary, has banned the export of the potentially life-saving substance, according to Reuters.
It remains unclear if this will threaten the supply chain enough to endanger American lives, but if it does, it could be high time for President Donald Trump to whip out his infamous “Art of the Deal” negotiation style so that every citizen — Democrat and Republican alike — will have access to this drug when it’s needed the most.
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