WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - A host of so-called cures for COVID-19 are being shared on social media, some even by people claiming to be doctors, but the chief physician at New Hanover Regional Medical Center says they are “unproven therapies.”
“It’s important to understand that there are no proven drug therapies for COVID-19 at this time, although many things are being tried and you’ll see all kinds of things posted out there about what people think might work,” said Dr. Philip Brown, chief physician at NHRMC.
The FDA issued an emergency authorization on March 28 to treat certain seriously ill coronavirus patients with the drugs hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine in an effort to slow the disease, but there are still no FDA-approved therapeutics to treat COVID-19 or other coronaviruses, according to the federal agencies website.
Brown says while these drugs are being used to treat critically ill patients, he says they are experimental. He provided for this report what he says are facts:
"FACT ONE: There are no proven therapies for COVID-19
FACT TWO: Many clinical trials are being attempted, none of which will have good evidence on therapeutic efficacy for some time.
FACT THREE: Despite no viable evidence of efficacy, the FDA did in fact issue an EUA (emergency use authorization) which allows very limited use of hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine. Specifically, this is limited only to patients who cannot enroll in a clinical trial, and even in those cases the medication supply is to come from Strategic national stockpile, which is of course allocated using a method over which we have no control, and we would not expect a facility of our size to be given an allocation of what is a profoundly limited supply."
Brown concludes the only treatment for the novel coronavirus for now is supportive care which would include medicines to reduce fevers. If the illness becomes so severe a person has to be hospitalized, supportive care would include intravenous (IV) fluids and in the worst cases, ventilators.
That’s why Brown says social distancing, washing hands frequently, and staying away from gatherings of more than ten people is imperative.
“I want to be clear. What this means for you now is that if you do get COVID-19 and get sick enough to require hospitalization, there’s no medical therapy we can give you except supportive care," Brown said. "And then it’s up to your own body to fight the disease off while we support you.”