*Please note, this is written by a retiree on Medicare.*
The dilemma for the Medicare crowd in the face of Covid-19 is a way to confidently return to normal recognizing that “Slowing the Spread” and “Flattening the Curve” did not mean the virus would miraculously disappear. It meant protecting the health care from an overwhelming surge of sick patients. That means the virus must run its course and positive cases will continue albeit slowly.
What are those of us in our later years to do in the face of this extremely contagious disease? Current reporting suggests that we self-isolate until the release of a vaccine – a dismal prospect.
But is that the only approach? I say NO. Looking at the 30 + years of NIH research, it appears we have options – not the least – prophylactic and/or therapeutic use of chloroquine or its milder version Hydroxy Chloroquine (HCQ).
Looking at a 2005 study discussing Chloroquine as a potential treatment for SARS-CoV, scientists concluded “Chloroquine is effective in preventing the spread of SARS CoV in cell culture. Favorable inhibition of virus spread was observed when the cells were either treated with chloroquine prior to or after SARS CoV infection.” The study found positive results for Chloroquine as both a prophylactic and active therapeutic.
This study was laboratory based – no humans. But because Chloroquine had long been used as an antimalarial, the researchers found that “The inhibitory effects observed on SARS-CoV infectivity and cell spread occurred in the presence of 1–10 μM chloroquine, which are plasma concentrations achievable during the prophylaxis and treatment of malaria (varying from 1.6–12.5 μM)  and hence are well tolerated by patients.” The researchers concluded “Chloroquine, a relatively safe, effective and cheap drug used for treating many human diseases including malaria, amoebiosis and human immunodeficiency virus is effective in inhibiting the infection and spread of SARS CoV in cell culture.”
Chloroquine has been studied, researched, analyzed, tested, many times over. A quick perusal of PUBMED identifies hundreds of papers on this phenomenal drug and the targeted application of its viral inhibitor properties. First used as an anti-malarial, it is now used routinely to treat lupus and rheumatoid arthritis and additional uses are constantly being identified such as inclusion in cancer chemotherapies. Recent studies have identified potential side effectswhen this drug is used late in Covid-19’s course hence the goal would be to begin a regimen as early as possible.
Back to where I started – as part of the Medicare population, I refuse to be locked into my home until the release of the illusory vaccine. I am looking at positive therapies. HCQ appears to be one of the most promising, least expensive, extensively studied and understood, and tolerated. I wish I could obtain a prophylactic dosage but if I contract the disease, I will go for early treatment and not wait.