Didier Raoult is a character who detonates in the coronavirus crisis. This professor, who heads the hospital and university institute Méditerranée Infection, has stood out in recent weeks for his very clear positions on the management of the epidemic, and in particular the use of chloroquine, an antimalarial which could, according to allow him to treat patients with the disease. Didier Raoult announced, in a press release, Sunday, that his establishment now ensures the screening of all “feverish” people who come there, contrary to the national instructions.
The fact that it is possible to be tested directly at this IHU while the authorities in France have chosen to reserve the tests for certain populations (frail, elderly, pregnant women, etc.) has been mentioned on social networks in recent days in numerous messages, some of which also showed long queues outside the building.
For Didier Raoult, France does not track enough
“France is only at 5,000 tests per day when Germany performs 160,000 per week! There is a kind of discord. In infectious diseases, we diagnose people, and once we have obtained the result, we treat them ”, particularly criticizes the scientist in an interview with the Parisian. “If these people are not treated in time, there is a reasonable risk that they will be found in intensive care where they will not be caught. Testing people only when they are already seriously ill is therefore an extremely artificial way of increasing mortality, ”he adds.
In addition, the doctors who signed the IHU press release, including Professor Didier Raoult, announced that all patients with Covid-19, “many of whom have little symptomatic signs of lung damage on the CT scan”, are treated with combination of hydroxychloroquine, a derivative of chloroquine, a molecule used against malaria, and azithromycin. “In cases of severe pneumonia, a broad spectrum antibiotic is also associated,” add the doctors. “We think that it is not moral that this association is not systematically included in the therapeutic trials concerning the treatment of Covid-19 infection in France”, they write.
Since the appearance of the new coronavirus in China, Prof. Raoult has defended the use of chloroquine against the disease, drawing criticism from many other specialists, who notably believe that the trials he is conducting at the IHU with 24 patients do not meet all the necessary criteria. The government, for its part, hailed “promising” tests, and announced Tuesday that they would be extended.
Thursday, it was the US President Donald Trump himself who praised his work and the solution he proposed, even if the federal agency that oversees the marketing of drugs in the United States then tempered the presidential enthusiasm. At the IHU Méditerranée Infection, the doctors who signed the press release, including Professor Didier Raoult, believe on Sunday that “in accordance with the Hippocratic Oath that we have taken, we obey our duty as a doctor. We provide our patients with the best care for the diagnosis and treatment of a disease. ”
“When you have a treatment that works against zero other treatment available, it is this treatment that should become the benchmark,” said Didier Raoult in the columns of Le Parisien. “With my team, we believe we have found a cure. And in terms of medical ethics, I believe that I have no right, as a doctor, not to use the only treatment that has so far been proven, “he continues.