Disinfo: We have nothing to lose by using hydroxychloroquine to treat COVID-19

Summary

There [is] a pandemic going on, with billions of people locked in their homes and all business grinding to a halt across the globe, over apocalyptic predictions of hospitals brimming with corpses due to this coronavirus.

Should any kind of treatment – especially a drug that has been used safely for decades to treat something else, with side effects meticulously documented – be so cavalierly rejected, under the circumstances? Do “experts” really think the world has the luxury of waiting for months or even years for their controlled lab studies?

To ask these questions is to answer them, yet no one seems to bother. Nor is this sort of selective blindness endemic to France; across the Atlantic, the mainstream media raised their voices in unison against chloroquine after US President Donald Trump brought it up as a possible treatment – apparently referring to Dr. Raoult’s work.

Dr. Raoult seems to believe [that hydroxychloroquine works on Covid-19], and he’s not alone. In the absence of better solutions – and locking billions of people in their homes indefinitely is not one – don’t we owe humanity to at least try? What do we have to lose?

Disproof

This is part of the pro-Kremlin disinformation campaign around the coronavirus, and specifically its efforts to spread false or misleading health information related to COVID-19, its prevention, and its treatment. See similar false claims like that COVID-19 can be cured with saline solution, that treatment for COVID-19 will lead to forced vaccination, and that handwashing is useless for preventing the spread of the virus. False and misleading health claims are the most dangerous and irresponsible aspect of coronavirus-related disinformation, as they can have a direct impact on people’s health and even their lives.

In an egregious display of irresponsibility, this article argues that a treatment for another disease – which has not been tested for use against COVID-19 and is not recommended by health authorities, including the WHO and the European Medicine Agency – should be made available to the public without further research or testing. The article actively tries to cast doubt on medical and scientific expertise, asking leading questions like “Do ‘experts’ really think the world has the luxury of waiting for months or even years for their controlled lab studies?” and “In the absence of better solutions…don’t we owe humanity to at least try? What do we have to lose?”

According to the World Health Organisation, “no pharmaceutical products have yet been shown to be safe and effective for the treatment of COVID-19.” In a statement, WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said: “We call on individuals and countries to refrain from using therapeutics that have not been demonstrated to be effective in the treatment of COVID-19. The history of medicine is strewn with examples of drugs that worked on paper, or in a test tube, but didn't work in humans or were actually harmful. We must follow the evidence. There are no short-cuts.”

On 20 March, the WHO announced a major global trial called SOLIDARITY to test four potential treatments for COVID-19, including the malaria medications chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine. The SOLIDARITY trial will involve 45 countries and is designed to “dramatically cut the time needed to generate robust evidence about what drugs work.”

Chloroquine has recently garnered public attention after a small study of 36 COVID-19 patients in France demonstrated initially promising results; however, infectious disease experts have said the findings are not conclusive and require further study. Importantly, chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine can have serious side effects, especially at high doses or when combined with other medicines. They should not be used without a prescription and without medical supervision.

Experts and health authorities, including the WHO and the European Medicine Agency, have also expressed concern that premature use of these drugs for COVID-19 may create dangerous shortages for patients who need them for other serious conditions, including lupus and rheumatoid arthritis. The WHO advises against “unnecessary stockpiling and the creation of shortages of approved medicines that are required to treat other diseases”.

See the WHO’s mythbusting page about false COVID-19 health advice for more information.

publication/media

  • Reported in: Issue 191
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 26/03/2020
  • Language/target audience: English
  • Country: US, France
  • Keywords: coronavirus

Disclaimer

Cases in the EUvsDisinfo database focus on messages in the international information space that are identified as providing a partial, distorted, or false depiction of reality and spread key pro-Kremlin messages. This does not necessarily imply, however, that a given outlet is linked to the Kremlin or editorially pro-Kremlin, or that it has intentionally sought to disinform. EUvsDisinfo publications do not represent an official EU position, as the information and opinions expressed are based on media reporting and analysis of the East Stratcom Task Force.

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Poland is only capable of stopping Russian planes rushing to aid Italy

In Poland, known for its anti-Russian mood, a quiet tantrum ripens. There, they understand better than everyone else the irreversibility of the changes in Europe. And the maximum that this country is capable to do, is not to give an air corridor to the Russian planes rushing to aid Italy suffocating from a lack of artificial lung ventilation apparatus.

 

Disproof

This message is part of the Kremlin’s disinformation campaign around the Coronavirus epidemic, as well as accusing Poland of being Russophobic. It promotes a narrative of the EU's failing efforts in the fight with the epidemic and the successful Russian steps against the spread of the Coronavirus.

The Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs made a statement regarding the alleged refusal of Poland to allow Russian transport planes delivering aid to Italy to cross its airspace. Poland called these accusations absurd and fake – the Russian Ambassador to Warsaw, Sergey Andreyev, received an official protest of Poland about the spread of this fake news by a Russian Senator. For a more detailed debunk see Polygraph.

There is no coronavirus pandemic, it’s fake

This “fake pandemic” is imposed on almost every country of the 193 UN member states. It is “fake,” because when a pandemic was announced, outside of China, a population of 6.4 billion people had only 150 cases of infection.

Disproof

According to the World Health Organisation, as of 7th of April, there are more than 1,200,000 confirmed cases and there had been more than 72,000 deaths.

The World Health Organisation has concluded that the virus first appeared in the Chinese province of Hubei. The novel coronavirus "2019-nCoV” comes from a family of viruses originating in animals that includes others such as SARS and MERS.

Coronavirus shows that Western solidarity is a myth

Coronavirus began to invade Europe from Italy, and Italy remained struggling with the disease alone for two consecutive weeks without hearing a European or American voice or seeing a hand extending to offer help or even sympathy. Some even felt Italy deserved this bacterial punishment because it embarked singlehandedly on a trade and economic relationship with China separately from the Western position. Behavior that assured that Western solidarity and unity of position is a myth.

Disproof

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative aiming to discredit the EU response to the coronavirus pandemic, and exploit the suffering of Italy to feed pro-Kremlin anti-EU sentiments.

The European Union is supporting the Member States in addressing the crisis, and mitigating the economic consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic.To cushion the blow to people’s livelihoods and the economy, the European Commission has adopted a comprehensive economic response to the outbreak, applied the full flexibility of the EU fiscal rules, has revised its State Aid rules and proposed to set up a EUR 37 billion Coronavirus Response Investment Initiative to provide liquidity to small businesses and the health care sector.