Science involves trial and error (Whipple)

A July 9 news story took a swipe at President Donald Trump for urging trials of an anti-malarial drug, hydroxychloroquine (HCQ), for treating COVID-19. “Early studies” were reportedly “polarizing,” but then “several more reliable [studies]” showed the use of HCQ to be “ineffective.” Moral: the president should let medical experts handle this sort of thing.

A COVID-19 cure is urgently needed, however, so it makes sense to consider multiple possibilities simultaneously. All candidates must be tested, whether previously used for other purposes or newly developed (like Remdesivir). And since HCQ has been used for many years, the trials didn’t involve much downside risk.

It’s true that the UK medical journal Lancet published the results of an international statistical study in May, which recommended against using HCQ, but the findings were retracted two weeks later after the study “was revealed to be unsubstantiated, if not a full-on hoax,” as Kyle Smith wrote in the National Review on
June 5.

Also, a recent study by the Henry Ford Health System found that the early use of HCQ for hospitalized patients “cut the [COVID-19] death rate in half (from 26% to 13%),” as Dr. Marc Siegel wrote in the July 16* edition of the News Journal.

William Whipple III

•This link is to the USA Today version of the story - same text, different title - on 7/9/20.
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