New York doctor finds 'impressive' hydroxychloroquine results as South Dakota undergoes clinical trial
South Dakota is the first to launch a state-wide clinical trial of hydroxychloroquine to potentially treat and prevent COVID-19.
Monument Heatlh is playing a role in this study and a New York doctor tells us about his eye opening case series with the same drug.
"We don't have good information honestly," Monument Health Director of Research Roger DeRaad said.
Lack of information is the reason why South Dakota's clinical trial with hydroxychloroquine is vital.
Monument Health workers are helping register participants, like health care workers and high-risk individuals, to undergo a five day course.
They will also help keep an eye on each participants' health.
"Whenever we use a medication in a way that's not approved, we really should be following up with those people," DeRaad said.
But someone else has already taken a close look at the anti-malarial drug in smaller numbers.
Forty-five is a powerful number to Dr. Ryan Saadi because that is how many patients clinically recovered from COVID-19 symptoms in a case series he conducted.
However, he studied hydroxychloriquine and a cardioprotective antibiotic, doxycycline.
"That was impressive. I thought it looked too good to be true," Dr. Saadi, Executive Vice President and Global Head of Patient Access & Medical Affairs at Quantaira Health, said.
Dr. Saadi says the reason why he looked at doxycycline is because between the anti-inflammatory properties and the overall fewer affects the drug has on the heart, the antibiotic was considered to be more ideal to mix with hydroxychloriquine as the coronavirus "essentially causes some cardiac injuries."
But the FDA can't accept that small number of hope.
This is why clinical trials are needed, like the 2,000 outpatient one Sanford Health is conducting state-wide in South Dakota.
Dr. Saadi said it's a little too early in the stages for him to share his complete thoughts about the clinical trial in South Dakota. But, he said the state is on the right track and he looks forward to the results.
"No drug is 100 percent safe," Dr. Saadi said. "So what we do is that we find the balance between the safety and the benefit. If the benefit is more than the risk you are taking, then that's what you do, especially during a pandemic."
Besides, DeRaad said their patients feel a sense of power when participating in research.
"Our patients frequently mention when they talk about participating in clinical research, it makes them feel like they are fighting back against something they really did not have control of," DeRaad said.
It's the fight to find a solution.