COVID-19 Day 31: The Batshit Crazy Story of Chloroquine

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When President Trump began touting the use of chloroquine as a possible treatment for COVID-19, many people thought he was “batshit crazy.” That statement might be closer to the truth than they realized.

It appears that President Trump heard about a tweet by Elon Musk on March 16. Elon linked to a paper describing promising results from chloroquine trials in France and China. Chloroquine and the similar drug hydroxychloroquine are commonly used to treat malaria, lupus and rheumatoid arthritis.

Building off of SARS research from 2003, scientists in China discovered that chloroquine inhibits the growth of SARS-CoV-2 in test-tubes. Doctors in France tried chloroquine on a small group of critically-ill COVID-19 patents. They found that those patients recovered more quickly than patients who weren’t given the drug.

Medical trials of chloroquine were already underway around the world, when President Trump plugged both drugs during his daily press conferences. The press and many scientific “experts” were quick to dismiss the President’s advice as uninformed or even dangerous. It was certainly irresponsible for the President to identify a drug before that it could be thoroughly tested for its effectiveness.

The President’s lack of desecration aside, there appears to be some validity to the use of hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine to treat COVID-19. The exact biochemical mechanism isn’t yet known. But the most surprising thing isn’t that those drugs work but why they could work.

It is commonly assumed that SARS-CoV-2, like other respiratory viruses (such as the flu), infects cells in your respiratory tract. Patients with severe COVID-19 infections experience shortness of breath and in the worst cases, pneumonia. In the most severe cases COVID-19, pneumonia progress to ARDS (Acute Respiratory Symptoms) and patients are put on artificial respirators. Those that die, do so because they essentially suffocate.

Scientists believe SARS-CoV-2 originated in bats, because it is genetically similar to coronavirus naturally found in Asian bats. If SARS-CoV-2 came from bats, then the virus may have originally evolved to thrive in a host specialized for flying.; with more efficient lungs and more red blood cells for its size, than most mammals. In humans, the virus is too effective at damaging our lungs and kills us.

Chloroquine (and hydroxychloroquine) was first developed to fight malaria, a tropical blood infection. Against malaria, it’s believed chloroquine works by interfering with the parasite’s ability to digest hemoglobin. It is theorized that chloroquine works in a similar way to interfere with the ability of SARS-CoV-2 to bind with cells. More research is needed. If chloroquine does prove to be effective for treating COVID-19, the bat/blood connection is a plausible explanation.

Bat coronavirus isn’t a 100% match for SARS-CoV-2. Parts of the virus’ genome also looks similar to a coronavirus found in pangolins. Both animals were sold at the Wuhan market*. It’s possible that bat coronavirus infected pangolins via fecal droppings, and then mutated in pangolins to infect humans. If so, that would mean that SARS-CoV-2 got to us through bat shit. And that’s crazy.

*There is no credible evidence that horseshoe bats nor pangolins were sold at the Wuhan market. So another cross-contamination origin is likely. 5/1/20


SOURCES

https://www.vanityfair.com/news/2020/03/trumps-touting-of-an-untested-coronavirus-drug-is-dangerous

https://twitter.com/elonmusk/status/1239650597906898947

https://www.sciencemag.org/news/2020/03/insane-many-scientists-lament-trump-s-embrace-risky-malaria-drugs-coronavirus

https://www.the-scientist.com/news-opinion/is-hype-over-chloroquine-as-a-potential-covid-19-therapy-justified–67301

https://www.nature.com/articles/s41422-020-0282-0

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0924857920300996

https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(20)30211-7/fulltext

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12844398

https://www.medicinenet.com/chloroquine_aralen_vs_hydroxychloroquine_plaquenil/article.htm#what_is_chloroquine_what_is_hydroxychloroquine

https://www.pbs.org/newshour/health/what-you-need-to-know-about-hydroxychloroquine-and-coronavirus

https://www.jewishpress.com/news/us-news/ny/scientists-study-coronavirus-attack-on-hemoglobin-test-new-treatments-with-old-standbys/2020/04/10/

https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(20)30566-3/fulltext

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/php/water.html

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