Mahir Ozmen, a professor of surgery at the Istinye
University, School of Medicine in Istanbul, Turkey, says he thinks the best way to use chloroquine is in combination with zinc and vitamins C and D. He is running a clinical trial, testing to see whether this combination protects health care workers and their immediate families – including his own.
Ozmen, who is collaborating with a chest medicine specialist,
an intensive care physician, and two infectious disease experts, says
he intended to include only 80 participants, but 98 quickly volunteered.
He began providing prophylactic therapy 2 weeks ago, and expects to
complete the trial by July.
Looking Elsewhere for Help
Hydroxychloroquine, he says, helps the zinc get inside the infected cells to destroy the virus, and vitamins C and D support immune function. He gives volunteers a low dose of hydroxychloroquine every 3 weeks, and a vitamin tablet every day – or every other day for people prone to kidney stones. The trial will check in on participants every 10 days, he says, looking for blood levels of the vitamins. At the end of
the trial, each participant will be checked for antibodies to COVID-19,
suggesting an infection, whether they realized it or not.
Even if his approach doesn’t prevent infection with COVID-19, Ozmen says he hopes it will reduce the severity of the illness.
“That kind of prophylaxis will give us the time,” Ozmen says, to develop a vaccine that will offer protection to everyone.
A trial of just 100 people is helpful, but does not provide
definitive information about the risks and benefits of a particular drug. To do that requires many times more volunteers