Rays of Light # 1: While hydroxychloroquine, a malaria drug, has proved disappointing and potentially harmful, UCSF and a Canadian company are discovering promising results from two drugs: colchicine, which is an inexpensive treatment used against gout and leronlimab, a newer experimental treatment originally developed for HIV patients. Clinical trials are being conducted and a measure of success give doctors reason to be hopeful. It would be exciting if the gout medication were effective because it is of low cost and widely available. Leronlimab is a monoclonal antibody manufactured by CytoDyn in Vancouver, WA, with chief science officer based in San Francisco.
Both drugs—as hydroxychloroquine intended to—work by preventing or lessening a cytokine storm, a term for a patient’s immune system becoming overactive and attacking healthy cells along with the virus. Cytokine storms are most likely guilty of contributing to deaths from COVID-19.
Ray of Light #2: An emergency doctor, Dr. Richard Levitan, reports two colleagues noticed a drop in their blood oxygen saturation levels but no other symptoms. When tested they found they were positive and early treatment apparently saved their lives. Boris Johnson evidently survived for the same reason. Unfortunately the lead in Dr. Levitan’s NY Times article was buried. It sounded as if an account of what he learned in his ten days in a hospital ward treating COVID-19 patients. I’ve read some such articles where the main thing learned is that the disease is hell on Earth. Fortunately, CBS News picked up on the message, which should have been Front Page Main Headline news, and Dr. Levitan was interviewed on April 23rd, 2020.
A pulse oximeter, a simple device, in every doctor’s office can be purchased for home use at pharmacies and online, which tests your blood oxygen levels at home. Put in a forefinger, press a button, and wait a few seconds to see the results. At sea level, your reading should be between 94 and 100 percent. As with any disease, early detection is critical to survival. This test could well serve as an early warning signal.
I am vastly impressed with the response of medical scientists, engineers, relevant manufacturing re ventilators to say nothing of the medical personnel who are on the front lines. They are working day and night to get this crisis under control. It will be America, which saves America.
In the meantime, stay safe!