Argentinian judge orders unproven treatment for Covid patient

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Buenos Aires (AFP)

An Argentinian judge forced a private clinic to administer chlorine dioxide, used as a powerful disinfectant, to a patient with coronavirus in a case where doctors have called a “scandal”.

The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and other agencies warn that chlorine dioxide, touted as a “miracle cure” online, can be dangerous to human health if consumed.

The patient’s stepson made a legal offer last Thursday, the day after her mother died from Covid-19, to have the compound given to her gravely ill husband.

A judge granted the request the same day and ordered the Otamendi y Miroli clinic in Buenos Aires to administer the substance prescribed by the patient’s doctor.

The clinic unsuccessfully appealed the decision and gave the man the substance while stressing that it would not take any responsibility for a negative result.

The FDA has warned that consuming chlorine dioxide products can “endanger a person’s health”, have no proven efficacy against Covid-19, and are known to cause respiratory and liver failure among other adverse effects .

The Pan American Health Organization, the Argentine Society of Infectology and the country’s National Administration of Drugs, Food and Medical Devices have also issued warnings against the use of chlorinated products to treat Covid-19.

The judge ruled that the administration of treatment did not threaten “serious harm” to the clinic, but could, on the contrary, “prevent the patient’s condition from worsening.”

Doctors blasted the decision.

– New therapy –

“For a judge, deciding that a doctor should administer a substance for which there is no scientific evidence is really worrying, especially when it is in intravenous form,” said Omar Sued, president of the Argentine Society of infectology.

“It is not a judge’s decision to administer a drug he does not know to a patient. This is not his job. ”

Ignacio Maglio, a lawyer for Argentine health NGO Fundacion Huesped, said the case amounted to an abuse of justice, a “judicial aberration and a scandal”.

Chlorine dioxide is used to disinfect medical and laboratory equipment, to treat water at low concentrations or as a bleach.

Argentina announced Monday that it will deploy a new Covid-19 therapy, developed by scientists locally, using serum extracted from horses that have developed antibodies after being injected with coronavirus proteins.

The serum developed by the biotechnology company Inmunova has been tested on patients in 18 hospitals for the clinical trial phase, and will now be distributed to hospitals and clinics under a special license granted by the drug watchdog ANMAT in Argentina .

Inmunova director Fernando Goldbaum said the serum helps patients by suppressing viral overgrowth, giving the body time to build its own defense system.

The developers of the therapy said it reduced mortality by 45%.

The laboratory of the Argentine Biological Institute produces about 12,000 treatments per month, according to a press release.

Argentina, with a population of 44 million, has recorded more than 1.7 million cases of coronavirus and nearly 44,500 deaths.

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