Is hydroxychloroquine the secret weapon against coronavirus? Florida man Florida man with COVID-19 says the antimalaria drug saved his life
Everyone is talking about hydroxychloroquine. However, the medical community is skeptical about the popular antimalaria drug that many have said saved their lives. In another piece of good news, a Florida man diagnosed with coronavirus claims he was saved from certain death by an anti-malaria drug touted as a possible treatment by President Trump.
Rio Giardinieri, 52, who is vice-president of a company that manufactures cooking equipment at high-end restaurants in LA and around the world, told Los Angeles’ Fox 11 that he struggled with horrendous back pain, headaches, cough and fatigue for five days after catching COVID-19, possibly at a conference in New York.
Giardinieri had a fever for five days, horrendous back pain, headache, cough, and tiredness. He was sleeping about 15 hours a day when he’s used to getting five hours a night. Doctors at the Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital in South Florida diagnosed him with the coronavirus and pneumonia and put him on oxygen in the ICU, he told the outlet.
After more than a week, doctors told him there was nothing more they could do and, on Friday evening, Giardinieri said goodbye to his wife and three children. “I was at the point where I was barely able to speak and breathing was very challenging. I really thought my end was there. I had been through nine days of solid pain and for me, the end was there. So I made some calls to say in my own way goodbye to my friends and family.” A dear friend immediately sent him a recent article about hydroxychloroquine, an old anti-malaria medicine proven successful to treat COVID-19 patients overseas, and insisted he take the drug.
Several studies from France, China and South Koren have found hydroxychloroquine to be promising as a treatment for COVID-19, though it hasn’t been approved by health officials. Giardinieri said he contacted an infectious disease doctor about the drug. “He gave me all the reasons why I would probably not want to try it because there are no trials, there’s no testing, it was not something that was approved,” said Giardinieri.
“And I said, ‘Look, I don’t know if I’m going to make it until the morning,’ because at that point I really thought I was coming to the end because I couldn’t breathe anymore,” Giardinieri continued. “He agreed and authorized the use of it and 30 minutes later the nurse gave it to me.”
After about an hour on an IV with the medicine, Giardinieri said, it felt like his heart was beating out of his chest and, about two hours later, he had another episode where he couldn’t breathe. He says he was given Benadryl and some other drugs and that when he woke up around 4:45 a.m., it was “like nothing ever happened.”
He’s since had no fever or pain and can breathe again. Giardinieri said doctors believe the episodes he experienced were not a reaction to the medicine but his body fighting off the virus. Giardinieri is not alone. Actor Daniel Dae Kim also credited hydroxychloroquine with helping him recover from the deadly virus.