Sanford Health physician shares thoughts about Hydroxychloroquine

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KBHB) — The lead doctor on coronavirus matters at Sanford Health says that COVID-19 patients in the state can now have access to the drug Hydroxychloroquine, as part of a first-in-the-nation effectiveness study.

Doctor Allison Suttle talked with reporters Monday about the enormous task researchers face as they start to tackle a new disease strain.

There has been a controversy about whether or not to allow the usage of the drug in treatment of coronavirus – it is more commonly used in the treatment of malaria and other diseases. Doctor Suttle says it’s important to settle the question on the drug’s effectiveness.

Suttle explained that the trial would be split into two trials, for inpatient and outpatient. The initial registry trial would involve the use of hydroxychloroquine with optional use of another drug, azithromycin.

The second trial would be a study also involving a control group with a placebo, in cases of health workers who’ve been exposed to COVID-19 to test preventive effects, and another study with high-risk individuals exposed to COVID-19.

According to Doctor Suttle, what doctors learn from this study will establish how the disease will be fought now and into the future.

Doctor Suttle says patients and their physicians can talk about whether someone is a good candidate for the trial. Governor Noem says the state has enough doses to potentially treat up to 100-thousand patients. The federal government has put up $1.2 million to fund the study.