Dr. Zelenko is a 46-old Ukrainian who has been working as a doctor in the United States for the past 16 years. Over the past few months, he has become known for claiming to have developed a drug regimen for treating coronavirus. According to Vladimir Zelenko’s information, he managed to cure at least 700 people using his COVID-19 treatment plan.
Initially, the treatment regimen of high-risk patients with symptoms included the following medications:
- Hydroxychloroquine 200mg twice a day for 5 days
- Azithromycin 500mg once a day for 5 days
- Zinc sulfate 220mg once a day for 5 days
Later on, Dr. Zelenko introduced a more detailed treatment plan. Then, the US Food and Drug Administration provided recommendations that were slightly different than those of the doctor’s.
However, Dr. Zelenko’s position, as well as the treatment plan itself, have been the subject of criticism for many people. Allegedly, using drugs that the treatment protocol describes can cause problems for people with arrhythmia. According to specialists from the USA, such problems occur in 1 case out of 1,000 when using hydroxychloroquine in combination with the azithromycin antibiotic.
There are people who support the doctor’s position, too. For instance, an infectious disease doctor David Boulware shared some facts regarding chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine on Twitter.
The doctor stated that the WHO reports before 2017 report that there has not been a case of cardiac arrhythmia reported for the use of chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine at normal malaria treatment doses as well as duration.
Other facts that David Boulware shared in his Twitter are as follows:
- Azithromycin FDA package insert: Chloroquine 1g once with azithromycin 500mg once, average QTcF increase of 5ms over chloroquine alone.
- NYU – HCQ 400mg/d with aizthro 500mg/d, avg increase of 28ms with 11% having QTcB >500ms. (Chorin E, et al. Nature Med) peaking on day 5.
- Brazil – chloroquine phosphate 2g/day (1.2g CQ base) with azithro 500mg/day for 10 days, 19% having a QTc >500ms and higher mortality. (Silva Borba MG, JAMA). This is 2-fold higher malaria treatment dose and >3x longer duration.