At Hvidovre Hospital sits medical specialist Stig Ekkert impatiently and waiting. The Danish medicines agency must give the green light to begin trials with the Danish corona-patients and the preparation klorokin. A type of medicine that has been used against malaria since 1934.
According to the Danish medicines agency, it takes ‘only three days’ to get the relevant permissions, and so can Ekkert go ahead with the trials, which he hopes may save lives. Many of them.
“I’m sitting and waiting on the bureaucracy and can’t get started. There must be one or the other. I’m about to ignite over it,” says Stig Ekkert.
the Impatience is understandable. Ekkert hope that klorokin – a cheap, efficient, quick, and mild drug – can save lives. Lots of them. And that it can finish this damn pandemic. Or at least reduce it.
Where had his faith and hope from? While coronaen raged in China, carried several chinese hospitals in small isolated studies with klorokin. Several medical journals have referred to, that the old drug had a highly favorable effect on the virus, who rides all over the world as a mare.
“Klorokin mitigates according to these studies, the symptoms in all stages of the disease. It counteracts the otherwise rather severe pneumonia, which occurs, and which may or may not provide permanent lung damage. Also halved the period in which the patient infecting other – from 14 days to just seven,” explains Stig Ekkert.
He emphasizes that he only refers to what the chinese studies show.
“There were studies on more than 10 hospitals. On more than 100 patients. They showed promising results,” he says.
the Chinese have also provided the opportunity to examine the klorokinens effect in Europe. Among other things a French study also proved to have the same positive effects, explains the Ekkert.
But just as with the chinese experience there is not major scientific studies, that meets the very strict requirements we normally ask for that kind of thing. Therefore, when we live in relative peacetime, with all sorts of viruses.
There is talk about small-scale trial with a double-digit number of patients.
“You made the attempt in Marseille, France with almost 50 patients. 70 percent of those who got klorokin, got it very quickly, better than you would normally expect,” he says.
The French trials with klorokin was performed by the physician Didier Raoult, in cooperation with the other. He is a warm advocate for the use of klorokin against corona. But like Stig Ekkert met fierce criticism at home as he would treat the corona-patients with klorokin, so it happened the same in France for Raoult.
He sat in the president Macrons consultative assembly against the pandemic, but is now, according to French media stopped coming to the meetings, after his fierce battle for the use of klorokin caused quite a furor.
The same was transferred Stig Ekkert, when he barely a month ago issued a press release in which he wrote that he was ready to print klorokin to the corona-patients, so that they do not developed severe disease or died.
So he got in trouble.
There was not enough evidence that it worked, said the authorities. The kind you had to investigate first. Ekkerts announcement was ‘unlucky, the outlandish and the expression of false marketing’, it sounded from the Danish medicines agency, Danish national board of Health and even the Danish society of General Medicine, which is the practitioners own organisation.
Now, there are then again encountered some interest from the authorities for klorokinen, since there seems to be evidence that it actually works, even if individual studies are casting doubt on the positive effect. And Ekkert will be responsible for the investigation, as the authorities require to approve that there will be written klorokin out in a steady stream. Ekkert is, however, sparingly excited.
“I think it is unethical not to go in the time, when it can cost patients their lives. Now is going to take some time,” he says.
another expert explains the authorities ‘ report.
“You’re afraid that patients run the risk of some side effects, which one cannot grasp or know in advance, if you just give los. It is precisely for this reason that we must carry out some studies. You should know that it works,” explains Jan Pravsgaard Christensen, professor of infektionsimmunologi of the University of Copenhagen.
A position as board of Health share. But not the Stig Ekkert.
“I absolutely agree that you must conduct very thorough investigations, under normal circumstances,” he says, and points out that precisely in this case is two main differences.
“We have a pandemic right now. We can’t wait. Moreover klorokin not a new preparation. We have used it for years. There is no risk in it,” he says.
B. T. has requested an interview with the Danish Health and medicines authority. The agency, however, has only sent a written comment, where it says that there are no clinical studies that document that klorokin works on Covid-19.