EL CENTRO — El Centro Regional Medical Center is not prescribing hydroxychloroquine for COVID treatment, said the hospitals CEO Dr. Adolphe Edward, as the drug is designed for treating malaria. He advised community members not to purchase the drug online or elsewhere. Edward said to use only what is prescribed.
Edward gave the Imperial County community another COVID-19 update Friday, July 24, alongside Chief Medical Officer Dr. Christian Tomaszewski.
Edward invited Tomaszewski to discuss the clinical trials held at ECRMC. Tomaszewski said ECRMC finished their trial with the tocilizumab drug. He said the drugs was used to prevent the overwhelming inflammatory response to the virus. Most of the patients in the clinical trial have done well and were discharged home, according to Tomaszewski.
Tocilizumab is an approved treatment for rheumatoid arthritis and other inflammatory disorders. It may also help treat patients who have developed or are at risk of developing serious lung damage from COVID-19 infections, according to ECRMC’s press release.
Tomaszewski said ECRMC is preparing for another trial with the drug for sicker patients.
“If you get really sick with COVID-19, it is awful. You do not want this,” said Tomaszewski.
He said ECRMC is still using remdesivir, an antiviral drug used to fight symptoms of coronavirus. The drug is being used to try to augment the patients’ response and knock out the virus.
“The FDA gave emergency-use authorization to this drug because it was so promising. Not only is it probably shortening days here in the hospital, but it’s also shortening probably intubations and deaths,” said Tomaszewski.
In response to COVID-19, ECRMC is also holding a special blood drive August 4. The purpose of the blood drive is to collect plasma from individuals who have already had COVID-19 and recovered. According to Edward, the antibody-rich plasma will be used to treat current COVID-positive patients in hopes of boosting the antibodies to fight the virus.
He asked that individuals who have recovered from COVID-19 please donate plasma at their upcoming blood drive.