By Tony Winterburn • 12 April 2020 • 10:53
Didier Raoult, a 68-year-old French infectious-disease specialist, has hit out at critics about him using controversial antimalarial drug hydroxycholoroquine to treat Covid-19 patients.
Raoult has a history of defying conventional medicine practices, including blaming the pharmaceutical industry for the state of research, dismissing climate change predictions as ‘absurd’ and, more baffling still, touting the growing fears in the early days of the coronavirus pandemic ‘crazy.’
But Raoult has now become an unlikely hero amid the pandemic, after he said he has given the experimental drug to more than 2,400 patients, with highly positive results.
The doctor has spoken out on Twitter and YouTube urging healthcare professionals and governments to not delay their use of hydroxychloroquine until after clinical trials.
Trials could take several months by which point thousands more lives could be lost to the killer virus. ‘Some people have gone crazy with methodology,’ Raoult argues in a video posted this week. ‘Our objective as doctors is to make people better.’
His stance has divided opinion in France and overseas after many conservative medics warned of the dangers of using the drug to treat the virus, typically used to treat malaria and some autoimmune diseases, due to a lack of evidence over its effectiveness.
Latest French Coronavirus figures to-date are:
129,654 cases in the country, 13,832 deaths, 26,391 have recovered.
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