CORONAVIRUS researchers worldwide are searching for a COVID-19 cure and Elon Musk has just waded into the conversation with his own thoughts on the matter.
The SpaceX founder, 48, who told his employees this month they are more likely to die in a car accident than from the novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2), tweeted about a possible COVID-19 breakthrough. Elon Musk took to Twitter where he shared an online study on the supposed effectiveness of chloroquine as a “coronavirus treatment”.
The Scientific Basis of the Cure
As of 12.41 pm GMT on March 18, the tweet sparked a frenzy of comments and retweets with more than 47,600 people liking the message.
Mr. Musk said: “Maybe worth considering chloroquine for C19” The tweet also included a link to the study, which cites Dr. James M Todaro from Columbia University as one of its authors.
In a bizarre twist, a previous version of the same document cited other authors, who were not involved in any capacity and have since asked to be removed from the paper.
Published on March 13 this year, the study claims to examine guidelines issued by China and South Korea on the effectiveness of chloroquine as an antiviral remedy.
Chloroquine is a medicine used to prevent and treat malaria in those parts of the world where the mosquito-carried disease is a danger to life.
Mr Musk said he received the drug when he suffered from malaria. He tweeted: "Yes, I received chloroquine via central line through my chest & both arms.
He also continued that he had near fatal case of falciparum. Would’ve died for sure if not for chloroquine. "Doesn’t mean it works for C19, but maybe better than nothing."
The Basis of Its Effectiveness
The drug has been in use around the globe since 1945. A summary of the study reads: “Recent guidelines from South Korea and China report that chloroquine is an effective antiviral therapeutic treatment against Coronavirus Disease 2019.
The use of chloroquine (tablets) is showing favorable outcomes in humans infected with Coronavirus including faster time to recovery and shorter hospital stay. US CDC research shows that chloroquine also has strong potential as a prophylactic (preventative) measure against coronavirus in the lab, while we wait for a vaccine to be developed.
Chloroquine is an inexpensive, globally available drug that has been in widespread human use since 1945 against malaria, autoimmune and various other conditions. There is, however, no known cure for the coronavirus that has proven effective as of yet.
Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is caused by a novel strain of the coronavirus family, dubbed SARS-CoV-2.
The virus first appeared in China last November when a person contracted the pathogen from an unknown source. Some health experts believe the novel coronavirus was carried by animals before it jumped onto humans.
How Can It Cure the Coronavirus?
Coronaviruses are zoonotic, meaning they infect both humans and animals. Symptoms of COVID-19 include continuous dry cough, fever and fatigue. The early onset of symptoms can be mistaken for the flu or common cold.
As of March 17 at 2.25pm GMT, more than 185,000 people have contracted the virus and more than 7,300 have died. According to the study shared by Mr Musk, the Chinese government has prioritised in early February the production of “the active pharmaceutical ingredients chloroquine phosphate”.
However, the study noted serious side effects to the use of chloroquine as a treatment. The study reads: “One often cited side effect is chloroquine retinopathy, which can result in permanent vision loss after high cumulative doses of chloroquine.
However, retinal damage is extremely rare in patients with a total dosage under 400g (dosage level only reached after years of treatment).” The study also noted treating COVID-19 carries the risk of inducing a viral mutation that “can either be beneficial or harmful to humans”.
What Should You Know from this Breakthrough?
For the time being, the World Health Organization (WHO) said hospitals can only treat the symptoms of COVID-19 and not the source of infection. Mr Musk has recently penned an email to his SpaceX employees, in which he discussed the danger of COVID-19.
According to BuzzFeed News, the email said: As a basis for comparison, the risk of death from C19 is *vastly* less than the risk of death from driving your car home. There are about 36 thousand automotive deaths per deaths [sic], as compared to 36 so far this year for C19. Mr Musk also took to Twitter on March 6 to say: “The coronavirus panic is dumb”.
When she's not at her desk absorbing all the latest news and producing fresh content for her audience Carmina loves to spend time at coffe shops and dancing at local music festivals.