Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility Coronavirus Pandemic: Don't Panic! Antiviral Drug Combo Now Available.

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science nutrition blog

science nutrition <strong>blog</strong>

 By Steve Blechman


Anxiety is leading to fear and panic! Hope and good news is on the way! Researchers and doctors in France, South Korea and the United States are using the anti-malarial drug hydroxychloroquine in combination with azithromycin (brand name: Zithromax or Z-Pak), which is prescribed for upper respiratory infections. President Trump has announced a national trial, and emergency medical supplies of this drug combo are coming to New York on Tuesday, March 24th. The President was criticized at first but now he has the support of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Dr. Anthony Fauci, director at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, and New York Governor Andrew Cuomo.

This drug combination isn’t a miracle cure for COVID-19 virus but may save lives, lower the infection rate and spread of the virus until we have a vaccine in the next 12-15 months! What the hell do we have to lose? This antiviral combo might work! They have already been approved for many years in the treatment of malaria, lupus, rheumatoid arthritis and upper respiratory infections. Some researchers have said that the low incidents of coronavirus in Africa may be the result of the anti-malaria drug hydroxychloroquine and its use for many years. We need to stop or kill this virus ASAP!           

More testing, social distancing, shutdowns, and properly washing hands will help, but not on their own! Compassionate use of this drug combo for the sick should be recommended universally now!         

Hydroxychloroquine/azithromycin combo can slow down viral replication and regulate the overreaction of the natural immune response and lower inflammation in the lungs. Sure, more controlled clinical studies are needed but why wait if we can save lives!       

I was very pleased to see an editorial today in the Monday, March 23rd, 2020 edition of The Wall Street Journal. The article is entitled: “These Drugs Are Helping Our Coronavirus Patients” by Jeff Colyer and Daniel Hinthorn. The authors of the report said that on March 9th, a team of researchers in China published results showing “hydroxychloroquine was effective against the 2019 coronavirus in a test tube. The author suggested a five-day, 12-pill treatment for covid-19: two-hundred milligram tablets twice a day on the first day followed by 1 tablet twice a day for four more days.”          

“A more recent French study used the drug in combination with azithromycin.”        

“But researchers in France treated a small number of patients with hydroxychloroquine and a Z-Pak, and 100% of them were cured by day six of the treatment.” “Compare that with 57.1% of patients with hydroxychloroquine alone, and 12.5% of patients who receive neither.” “What’s more, most patients cleared the virus in three to six days. Rather than the 20 days observed in China. That reduces the time a patient can spread the virus to others.” “A couple of careful studies of hydroxychloroquine, but results may take weeks or longer. Infectious disease experts are already using hydroxychloroquine clinically with some success.”         

Other existing antiviral drugs and new unapproved drugs are under investigation at this time and are being fast-tracked and brought to market as quickly as possible against the COVID-19 virus! These drugs include remdesivir, an antiviral drug (available from Gilead Sciences) that has great potential. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has started the first clinical trials, an important randomized clinical trial for the clinical treatment of the coronavirus. Also, the anti-flu drug favipiravir and HIV Kaletra, which is a combination of antivirals Lopinavir and Ritonavir. The biotech company Moderna, Inc. has said that the experimental vaccine for coronavirus is being fast-tracked and may be available as early as the fall for a select few but large quantities and mandatory testing which can take 12-15 months required to prove safety and efficacy!           

Like I said earlier, the scientific evidence is preliminary and more clinical trials on this potential antiviral drug are needed.         

SO, DON’T PANIC! Knowledge is power! Be proactive, smart and logical. You should know the real risks and take the necessary precautions. Below are reliable, authoritative sources. Beware; unfortunately a lot of misinformation is on the internet.          




  1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
  2. World Health Organization (WHO)
  3. National Institutes of Health (NIH)
  4. Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security




  1. Gautret et al. (2020) Hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin as a treatment of COVID‐19: results of an open‐label non‐randomized clinical trial. International Journal of Antimicrobial Agents – In Press 17 March 2020 – DOI : 10.1016/j.ijantimicag.2020.105949       
  1. French study finds anti-malarial and antibiotic combo could reduce COVID-19 duration. Darrell Etherington@etherington/March 19, 2020.           
  1. Chloroquine for COVID-19: Cutting Through the Hype. Chris Baraniuk. Mar 20, 2020. The Scientist.         
  1. A malaria pill from the 1940s has caught the eyes of doctors, analysts, and even Elon Musk as a potential coronavirus treatment by Andrew Dunn Mar 19, 2020. Business Insider.           
  1. COVID-19: Could Hydroxychloroquine Really Be An Answer? Aude Lecrubier. March 18, 2020. The MedScape.           
  1. A Trial of Lopinavir–Ritonavir in Adults Hospitalized with Severe Covid-19. Bin Cao, M.D. et al. March 18, 2020. New England Journal of Medicine.           
  1. Audio Interview: New Research on Possible Treatments for Covid-19. Eric J. Rubin, M.D., Ph.D., Lindsey R. Baden, M.D., and Stephen Morrissey, Ph.D. March 19, 2020. N Engl J Med 2020; 382:e30. DOI: 10.1056/NEJMe2005759          
  1. COVID-19 Incubation Period: An Update by Stephen Baum Stephen G. Baum, MD reviewing Lauer SA et al. Ann Intern Med 2020 Mar 10, 2020        
  1. COVID-19 treatment might already exist. By Nevan Krogan - Professor and Director of Quantitave Biosciences Institute, University of California, San Francisco. March 26, 2020. Live Science.          
  1. These Drugs Are Helping Our Coronavirus Patients. Jeff Colyer and Daniel Hinthorn. March 22, 2020. Wall Street Journal.