Pennacchio to NJ State Health Department: Begin an Immediate Retrospective Analysis of the Effectiveness of HCQ as a Prophylactic Treatment for COVID-19

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Senator Joseph Pennacchio. File Photo

MORRIS COUNTY — As evidence continues to mount supporting the effectiveness of hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) against the coronavirus, New Jersey remains behind the curve in its approach to treatment and prevention of COVID-19.

Numerous doctors have joined Senator Joe Pennacchio in his call to unshackle them, and allow doctors to treat patients and prescribe HCQ as both a treatment and early preventative against this virus.

“Minimally, the State should have secured HCQ pills and developed a distribution protocol,” said Senator Pennacchio.

Adding to that request, the Senator challenged the State Department of Health to immediately perform a “retrospective study” of people who have routinely taken HCQ as a drug therapy for other diseases such as lupus and rheumatoid arthritis. Such a study comparing this population of patients to an equal number of patients who have not been treated with HCQ would prove to be an early treatment protection against COVID-19.

Others such as Dr. Philip DeFina, PhD, a research scientist and former associate professor at New York University School of Medicine, agree with Senator Pennacchio.

“A retrospective analysis of people who are already taking HCQ as part of an ongoing treatment plan for ailments such as autoimmune disorders would be extremely informative data to assess whether or not these same people appear to have a decreased likelihood of contracting COVID-19.  Additionally, some first responders, military personnel and front-line healthcare workers who are already taking lower, prophylactic doses of HCQ would be an excellent source population for a scientifically valid retrospective study. Furthermore, doctor’s nationwide have been prescribing HCQ for compassionate use in patients who have tested positive for COVID-19. There has been some reporting that these outcomes are being tracked for potential studies, and they absolutely should be.”

“Relying on federal ‘guidance’ which seems to have their own issues about accepting HCQ is not enough. The State of New Jersey must immediately take a proactive approach,” concluded Senator Pennacchio.