South Dakota Institutes Statewide Hydroxychloroquine Trial To Test Effectiveness Against COVID-19


South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem announced on Monday a statewide clinical trial of hydroxychloroquine to test its efficacy for treatment of COVID-19 patients.

“From day one, I’ve said we’re going to let the science, facts, and data drive our decisions in South Dakota,” Noem tweeted.

“Throughout last week, I communicated with White House officials to let them know that SD’s medical community was ready to step up and lead the way on research efforts,” the GOP governor added.

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Noem said she made direct requests to President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence to provide South Dakota with enough hydroxychloroquine to make it available for every hospitalized person.

She also wants to make the drug available to health care workers on the front lines and those in the most vulnerable populations to test its effectiveness as a prophylactic.

Noem added in a follow-up tweet that South Dakota had received the doses needed and that Sanford Health, with the assistance of medical teams at Avera and Monument Health, will conduct the trial.

Are you glad South Dakota is taking the lead in conducting the hydroxychloroquine trial?

Sanford, which described itself in a news release as the “largest provider of rural health care in the country,” said its study will initially include “2,000 outpatient individuals exposed to COVID-19, including frontline health care workers and other high-risk patients.”

“Our goal is to meaningfully advance the science around COVID-19 so physicians can be better prepared to respond to and treat this novel virus in the future, especially for our populations most at-risk,” Dr. Allison Suttle, Sanford Health’s chief medical officer, said.

“Taking care of patients with an illness for which there are no treatments is very difficult for a physician and concerning for patients and families. By doing clinical trials during this pandemic, we are trying to find treatments and, thereby, hope,” she added.

Ultimately, up to 100,000 patients could be treated with hydroxychloroquine as part of the trial.

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Noem told Fox News that she is “a lot better being on offense than … on defense,” so that is why she pushed for South Dakota to launch this first of its kind statewide and state backed trial.

Participation in the study will be voluntary, she said.

The use of the 75-year-old anti-malaria drug has become a political football after Trump advocated for it being employed to treat COVID-19 patients beginning last month.

“And I hope they use the hydroxychloroquine, and they can also do it with Z-Pak, subject to your doctor’s approval, and all of that,” Trump said, during a news briefing earlier this month. “But I hope they use it because I’ll tell you what: What do you have to lose?”

The president added that the federal government had currently secured 29 million doses, but more was on the way.

On March 28, the Food and Drug Administration granted an emergency authorization for hydroxychloroquine use for coronavirus patients.

“Based on the totality of scientific evidence available to FDA, it is reasonable to believe that chloroquine phosphate and hydroxychloroquine sulfate may be effective in treating COVID-19,” FDA Chief Scientist Denise Hinton wrote in the approval letter.

“When used under the conditions described in this authorization, the known and potential benefits of chloroquine phosphate and hydroxychloroquine sulfate when used to treat COVID-19 outweigh the known and potential risks of such products.”

Last week, when asked about use of the drug in New York, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said that while no extensive scientific study had been done, “anecdotally, it’s been positive.”

Dr. Stephen Smith, founder of the Smith Center for Infectious Diseases and Urban Health in East Orange, New Jersey, said the remarkable results he is seeing in his COVID-19 patients using a combination of the anti-malaria drug hydroxychloroquine and the antibiotic azithromycin marks the “beginning of the end” of the coronavirus pandemic.

Similarly, Dr. Anthony Cardillo of Los Angeles told KABC-TV last week that he has been prescribing hydroxychloroquine in combination with zinc for the most severely ill COVID-19 patients with astounding results.

“Every patient I’ve prescribed it to has been very, very ill and within 8 to 12 hours, they were basically symptom-free,” Cardillo said. “So clinically I am seeing a resolution.”

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Randy DeSoto has written more than 2,000 articles for The Western Journal since he joined the company in 2015. He is a graduate of West Point and Regent University School of Law. He is the author of the book "We Hold These Truths" and screenwriter of the political documentary "I Want Your Money."
Randy DeSoto is the senior staff writer for The Western Journal. He wrote and was the assistant producer of the documentary film "I Want Your Money" about the perils of Big Government, comparing the presidencies of Ronald Reagan and Barack Obama. Randy is the author of the book "We Hold These Truths," which addresses how leaders have appealed to beliefs found in the Declaration of Independence at defining moments in our nation's history. He has been published in several political sites and newspapers.

Randy graduated from the United States Military Academy at West Point with a BS in political science and Regent University School of Law with a juris doctorate.
Harrisburg, Pennsylvania
Graduated dean's list from West Point
United States Military Academy at West Point, Regent University School of Law
Books Written
We Hold These Truths
Professional Memberships
Virginia and Pennsylvania state bars
Phoenix, Arizona
Languages Spoken
Topics of Expertise
Politics, Entertainment, Faith