Editor's Comment

Stick to official medical advice on COVID-19

THE fact that COVID-19 has continued to claim many lives across the globe and that there is still no cure in sight has understandably pushed many into desperation.
People, out of fear and desperation, are turning to anything they are told can cure the disease. They are clawing at anything anyone says can save them.
And because of the uncertainty and inconclusiveness surrounding the tests on possible vaccine and cure for
COVID-19, some people have taken advantage of the public’s gullibility to promote unverified prevention and treatment options.
The public domain is bombarded with all sorts of messages on what remedies and drugs to use to prevent and cure COVID-19.
Latest is a video making rounds on social media flaunting use of hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine to prevent and cure COVID-19.
The video by a supposed medical doctor suggests that people can use hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine as a preventive measure as well as a cure for COVID-19.
While we understand that the world is desperate for solutions considering how the pandemic is ravaging and claiming lives, there is need to exercise utmost caution in what people allow themselves to ingest to avoid endangering their lives further.
As it is, COVID-19 is a huge danger to human life. Taking wrong drugs can only exacerbate the situation and eliminate even the slimmest chances one has for survival. They can, in fact, complicate the situation.
We know that hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine have been on trial as a possible treatment for COVID-19.
American Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently released a summary review of safety issues with the use of hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine to treat hospitalised patients with COVID-19. The report indicates serious heart rhythm problems and other safety issues, including blood and lymph system disorders, kidney injuries, and liver problems and failure.
Based on ongoing analysis and emerging scientific data, FDA has revoked the Emergency Use Authorisation (EUA) to use hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine to treat COVID-19 in certain hospitalised patients where the clinical trial is unavailable or participation is not feasible.
According to FDA, the determination is based on recent results from a large, randomised clinical trial in hospitalised patients that found these medicines showed no benefit for decreasing the likelihood of death or speeding recovery.
It was found that this outcome was consistent with other new data, including those showing the suggested dosing for these medicines are unlikely to kill or inhibit the virus that causes COVID-19.
This meant that use of hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine did not meet the legal criteria for the Emergency Use Authorisation.
Given the medical evidence by experts and under the circumstances, it is safer to heed Government’s advice to stay away from unauthorised medications and hydroxychloroquine in particular.
Ministry of Health Permanent Secretary Kennedy Malama said Zambia is currently not using hydroxychloroquine to treat severe symptoms of COVID-19.
He said the drug is being investigated as a treatment of COVID-19, but studies have so far not yielded desired
Updating the nation on COVID-19 yesterday, Dr Malama warned that using the drug can cause serious health
“At the moment, we are not using chloroquine in severe COVID-19 cases as other countries are doing; do not rush to buy hydroxychloroquine because it can be dangerous to your health. If you want to take it, consult a health care worker,” he said.
He warned and rightly so that even with a healthcare worker’s advice, there should be a good reason to use the drug.
Certainly, people should safeguard their lives to avoid trial and error.
This is for the simple reason that life is irreplaceable. One cannot afford to be so negligent to go against medical
authority advice. The position on hydroxychloroquine is authenticated by the World health Organisation (WHO).
This is why people should take the advice seriously.
Madagascar recently claimed that it had found a cure, which WHO warned against. Two months on, coronavirus is hitting Madagascar hard and no-one is talking about the cure. It is good for doctors to keep researching about the cure but the efficacy of any drug should follow the prescribed health procedure before any claim is laid.
It is safer to stick to official medical advice as opposed to hearsay or social media merchants who may be driven by genuine desire for cure but whose findings are yet to pass a basic medical test.

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