I’m not a doctor or scientist, nor am I a right-winger conspiracy person or any of that noise. I’m just putting this out there to help people search for some info.
Trump’s been taking hydroxychloroquine because some people told him it was good. Those “some people” are probably the right-wing echo chamber, and I think the media is reacting to that and putting out an anti-HCL message, but I think there’s a nugget of good info that’s been lost somewhere in the noise.
Trump’s drug cocktail is HCL and zinc. Why zinc? I don’t think Trump knows.
I use zinc. It’s in the cough drops I use when I start catching a cold. It’s in products like Cold-Eze and Zicam. You take these when you feel itching in your throat, at the very first sign of a cold. The theory is that the itching is an early sign of infection. If you’re lucky, you prevent that itch from spreading.
In my experience, this treatment sometimes works. The itch goes away, and that’s that. If the itch doesn’t go away, I might get sick.
The way I’ve been taking it now is to put a pill or half-pill of zinc on my tongue. This is 25mg to 50mg of zinc. It takes around 20 minutes to dissolve, and tastes sour. It’s kind of gross, but it causes my saliva to flow out a lot.
I usually don’t take one daily, because it’s toxic if you eat too much. I “save it up” for after a shopping trip. So I’ll expose myself to the world, and then, afterward, dissolve half a pill on my tongue. Often that clears up any itchyness, if there was any. (The itchyness could be coming from the mask fibers, so I’m not certain if it’s the start of an infection.)
So, classify me as a “true believer” for zinc. I use it religiously rather than scientifically.
A email went around early during the pandemic advocating for the use of zinc lozenges. Snopes confirmed that it was from Dr. James Robb, a virologist who has worked with coronaviruses. That article also links to more info about zinc.
I think there’s a reasonable amount of evidence for zinc helping with colds, and interfering with viruses.
Moreover, the personal cost to me is around 2 cents per pill, and an unlikely risk of zinc poisoning.
“Chloroquine is a Zinc Ionophore”
I saw that phrase on some right wing fora and comment threads. (“Libertarian”, but I think of their fora as right wing.)
An ionophore is a chemical that helps an ion get into a cell. So, hydroxychloroquine helps the zinc get inside the cell, potentially allowing the zinc to interfere with viral replication.
Does Hydroxychloroquine Work?
The short answer is “no”. Not the way it was used so far.
This meta analysis has not yet been peer-reviewed, but says “no”. It’s comparing HCL and HCL + azythromycin and nothing. HCL is associated with higher https://www.medrxiv.org/content/10.1101/2020.04.16.20065920v1.full.pdf mortality. It’s also associated with heart arrhythmia that could be dangerous.
Also, there is the Brazilian study that found a high dose of HCL seemed to cause people to die more often. They stopped that study.
There’s also studies going on to see if it’s effective as a prophylaxis (preventative drug).
Non-Pill Sources of Zinc and Zinc Ionophores?
Given all the hype about chloroquine and zinc, there are some low-risk ways to get enough zinc into the cells. I’m using pills. The cost around 2 cents each.
Zinc is common in beef. It’s also in some nuts and seeds, like sesame seeds.
Two common zinc ionophores are quercetin and epigallocatechin gallate (ECGC), a catechin. Quercetin is in onions, and green tea is a source of ECGC catechins.
So, you might be able to improve your odds by adopting a diet with more of these foods.
This could be an argument for consuming more AYCE KBBQ, but made at home.
Of course, it might do nothing at all. It’s not tested. The overall “cost” of these interventions is close to zero, because we’re going to eat anyway. So, “why not do it”?