Billionaire Elon Musk believes a drug developed four decades ago to ward off malaria in Africa can help put the skids to coronavirus, though the tech guru still believes the virus panic is “dumb.”
“Maybe worth considering chloroquine for C19,” Musk told his Twitter followers Monday that choloroquine, or hydroxycholoroquine, could help researchers who are looking for an antidote to a virus that has infected roughly 4,600 American. The panic is still overblown, he added.
Researchers also believe the drug has promise.
Musk apparently has some experience with the drug. “Yes, I received chloroquine via central line through my chest & both arms. Had near-fatal case of falciparum,” he noted. “Would’ve died for sure if not for chloroquine. Doesn’t mean it works for C19, but maybe better than nothing.”
Musk, who got into some hot water on March 8 when he said the “coronavirus panic is dumb,” also cited a research paper Monday from Tim Smith of Elsevier’s Gold Standard that showed the benefits of choloroquine. Other researchers are making similar points.
“It has a lot of potential, though we’re not going on a lot of data yet,” Dr. Peter Hotez, the dean for the National School of Tropical Medicine at the Baylor School of Medicine, said Wednesday of early research on chloroquine.
Researchers found in a study published Tuesday that after a week of treatment, 70 percent of patients were clear of the virus after being administered with chloroquine, compared to just 12.5 percent of patients who were not given drugs
The Tesla CEO also said in a tweet Wednesday that his company is prepared to “make ventilators if there is a shortage.” People on Twitter mocked Musk for the suggestion, with some people saying that there is a shortage and that he should stop talking and start acting.
Musk has gotten grief in the past for offering outlandish advice on other pressing matters.
He constructed a small submarine from spare SpaceX Falcon parts in 2018 to help save a 12-member soccer team stuck in the flooded Tham Luang cave that year. People panned the idea after rescuers finished yanking members from the cave without help from the submersible.
Musk called Vernon Unsworth, a British caver who lives in Thailand, a “pedo” on social media as the two continue their tit-for-tat. The barb came shortly after Unsworth suggested in a 2018 interview with CNN that the Tesla CEO should “stick his submarine where it hurts.”
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