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'Some people have gone crazy': Eccentric French doctor trialing experimental coronavirus treatment championed by Trump hits back at experts who say it has fatal side effects and claims to get astonishing results

'Some people have gone crazy': Eccentric French doctor trialing experimental coronavirus treatment championed by Trump hits back at experts who say it has fatal side effects and claims to get astonishing results
  • Didier Raoult, a 68-year-old French infectious-disease specialist, has been using antimalarial drug hydroxycholoroquine to treat COVID-19 patients
  • He said he has given the drug to more than 2,400 patients, with positive results
  • The eccentric doctor has become a YouTube sensation with his videos promoting the drug, getting one million views 
  • French President Emmanuel Macron visited the doctor this week 
  • Mmedics have warned of the dangers of using the drug to treat the virus, due to a lack of evidence over its effectiveness
  • More than 50 cases have been reported where coronavirus patients have developed serious heart problems after taking hydroxychloroquine
  • The controversial drug is a favorite of Donald Trump's, with him repeatedly plugging it as a miracle cure for the deadly virus
  • His advisers including Dr Fauci say not to consider it a 'knock out' drug
  • An eccentric French doctor has become a YouTube sensation and been approached by the French president for advice after he claims he has gotten astonishing results using Trump's favorite coronavirus treatment on sick patients. 
    Didier Raoult, a 68-year-old French infectious-disease specialist, has been using controversial antimalarial drug hydroxycholoroquine to treat COVID-19 patients. 
    The doctor has a history of defying conventional medicine practices, including blaming the pharmaceutical industry for the state of research, dismissing climate change predictions as 'absurd' and, more baffling still, touting the growing fears in the early days of the coronavirus pandemic 'crazy'.
    But Raoult has now become an unlikely hero amid the pandemic, after he said he has given the experimental drug to more than 2,400 patients, with highly positive results. 
    His stance has divided opinion in France and overseas after many conservative medics warned of the dangers of using the drug to treat the virus, typically used to treat malaria and some autoimmune diseases, due to a lack of evidence over its effectiveness.  
Didier Raoult, a 68-year-old French infectious-disease specialist, has been using controversial antimalarial drug hydroxycholoroquine to treat COVID-19 patients, with highly positive results
Didier Raoult, a 68-year-old French infectious-disease specialist, has been using controversial antimalarial drug hydroxycholoroquine to treat COVID-19 patients, with highly positive results
But panicked members of the public view him as a hero in the pandemic, with his each of his YouTube videos getting at least one million views and people urging their doctors to let them try the medication.    
Raoult is not the most conventional of doctors, often sporting a long white beard and a skull ring on his finger in his online videos and being known for challenging conventional medicine throughout his career.
The doctor has spoken out on Twitter and YouTube urging healthcare professionals and governments to not delay their use of hydroxychloroquine until after clinical trials.
Trials could take several months by which point thousands more lives could be lost to the killer virus.  
'Some people have gone crazy with methodology,' Raoult argues in a video posted this week. 
'Our objective as doctors is to make people better.' 
The eccentric doctor has divided opinions in France and overseas after many medics have warned of the dangers of using it to treat the virus while he has become an online sensation with members of the public clamoring to get their hands on the drug
The eccentric doctor has divided opinions in France and overseas after many medics have warned of the dangers of using it to treat the virus while he has become an online sensation with members of the public clamoring to get their hands on the drug
Emmanuel Macron met Raoult this week at his research institute in Marseille (pictured), where the doctor presented his research on coronavirus to the French President
Emmanuel Macron met Raoult this week at his research institute in Marseille (pictured), where the doctor presented his research on coronavirus to the French President
Several experts have argued that further clinical trials are needed to determine its effectiveness in treating coronavirus while others say there isn't time to wait
Several experts have argued that further clinical trials are needed to determine its effectiveness in treating coronavirus while others say there isn't time to wait 
Emmanuel Macron met Raoult this week at his research institute in Marseille, where the doctor presented his research on coronavirus to the French President.  
French authorities have now permitted the drug to be used in 'the most severe cases.'   
However, Raoult's approach has come under fire from many in the medical world.
Several experts have argued that further clinical trials are needed to determine its effectiveness in treating coronavirus.
Concerns have also been raised that it can have fatal side effects, especially in people with pre-existing heart conditions.   
The controversial drug is a favorite with Donald Trump who has repeatedly plugged the use of hydroxychloroquine as a miracle cure for the deadly virus
The controversial drug is a favorite with Donald Trump who has repeatedly plugged the use of hydroxychloroquine as a miracle cure for the deadly virus
More than 50 cases have been reported where coronavirus patients have developed serious heart problems after taking hydroxychloroquine, according to a doctor at France's drug-safety monitoring center.
Raoult said that 10 of the 2,400 patients he has treated using the drug have died, and recommends it be administered at an early stage of the virus. 
Jean-Paul Stahl, a French doctor of infectious diseases, told the Wall Street Journal that he was turning patients away after they have seen Raoult's campaign and are now asking for the drug.
'We have to say no,' Stahl said. 'It's a matter of patient safety.'    
 favorite of Donald Trump's. 
During his daily coronavirus press briefings, the president has repeatedly plugged the use of hydroxychloroquine as a miracle cure for the deadly virus.
He has even said he'd consider taking hydroxychloroquine himself. 
The president announced Sunday the government has purchased and stockpiled 29 million doses of the hydroxychloroquine to send to hot spot areas of the country battling the virus.
'I want people to live and I'm seeing people dying,' he explained Sunday about why he continually touts the drug, which scientists say has not gone under enough testing in regards to the coronavirus.

ARE CHLOROQUINE AND HYDROXYCHLOROQUINE PROMISING DRUGS? 

Chloroquine – sold under the brand name Arlan – kills malaria parasites in the blood, stopping the tropical disease in its tracks.
But tests of the drug – which has been used for 70 years – on COVID-19 patients in China show it has potential in fighting the life-threatening virus.
Chinese officials claimed the drug 'demonstrated efficacy and acceptable safety in treating COVID-19 associated pneumonia'.
South Korea and China both say the drug is an 'effective' antiviral treatment against the disease, according to a report by US virologists.
The Wuhan Institute of Virology – in the city where the crisis began – claimed the drug was 'highly effective' in petri dish tests.
Tests by those researchers, as well as others, showed it has the power to stop the virus replicating in cells, and taking hold in the body.
Twenty-three clinical trials on the drug are already underway on patients in China, and one is planned in the US and another in South Korea. 
Professor Robin May, an infectious disease specialist at Birmingham University, said the safety profile of the drug is 'well-established'.
He added: 'It is cheap and relatively easy to manufacture, so it would be fairly easy to accelerate into clinical trials and, if successful, eventually into treatment.'
Professor May suggested chloroquine may work by altering the acidity of the area of cells that it attacks, making it harder for the virus to replicate. 
Chinese scientists investigating hydroxychloroquine penned a letter to a prestigious journal saying the 'less toxic' derivative may also help'

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