The COVID-19 Pandemic: Defining the Clinical Syndrome and Describing an Empirical Response
The novel corona virus infectious disease, COVID-19, is a pandemic now and is raging through several continents, posing a challenge to health-care systems of all the countries and disrupting lives and livelihoods across the world. The facilities for virus testing are available for only limited numbers in each country and each country excludes a large number of potentially infected subjects because the lab test is done for only certain categories. Nearly 80 % of those infected will therefore go undiagnosed. There is an urgent need therfore to define the clinical syndrome so that practitioners at the primary and secondary levels can make a confident clinical diagnosis and proceed to manage patients early and effectively. Chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine, both antimalarials have shown promise in limited trials in France and China. They are inexpensive, have been around for several decades in the prevention and treatment of malaria, have well-known side-effects and in the short term safe for use . We propose that practitioners make a preliminary clinical diagnosis of the COVID-19 syndrome based on simple clinical criteria and lab tests and proceed to manage patients and protect other family members and contacts by using isolation measures and short regimens of these anti malarial and other medications, anticipating results of more clinical trials.
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