A Democratic New York City Councilman says hydroxychloroquine saved his life after a near-fatal run-in with COVID-19 in March.
Paul Vallone, who represents northeast Queens, took the drug along with a standard flu Z-pack, and came back from the brink almost immediately.
“I couldn’t breathe, very weak, couldn’t get out of bed. My doctor prescribed it. My pharmacy had it. Took it that day and within two to three days I was able to breathe,” Vallone told The Post. “Within a week I was back on my feet.”
Though Vallone went public with his coronavirus diagnosis in an April 1 Twitter post, saying he was experiencing “mild symptoms,” his actual condition was considerably more severe. Vallone’s initial prognosis was particularly grim, as he also suffers from sarcoidosis, an auto-immune disease that attacks his lungs.
“We were in panic mode when I went down because I didn’t have a lot of immune response,” he said. “I needed something to stay alive.”
Hydroxychloroquine “worked for me.”
Vallone’s brother Peter, a former City Councilman and a current civil court judge in Queens, also became a convert after his brother’s illness.
“I guess all those doctors who are prescribing it are right. This drug is already on the market and the patent is up so it’s cheap. A new drug won’t be. So big money does not want this drug to be used. Always follow the money,” Peter Vallone said in a May 12 Facebook post, sharing a link to an NYU study touting the drug.
“[It] saved my life,” Paul Vallone said in the comments.
Hydroxychloroquine, a Malaria medication which has been on the market since 1955, came back into the spotlight this year as a potential pandemic miracle cure. President Trump has frequently touted the drug and even took it himself for a time to help ward off the virus — and has been criticized for it.
“You’d be surprised at how many people are taking it, especially the frontline workers before you catch it. The frontline workers — many, many are taking it,” Trump said in May.
The drug has proven controversial. In June, the Food and Drug Administration declared hydroxychloroquine “unlikely to be effective in treating #COVID19.”
Scientific studies about the drug’s efficacy have been mixed.
Paul Vallone, however, remains grateful for the president’s advocacy.
“At that time, there was only fear and panic, he offered hope in a possible treatment when there was none. With my sarcoidosis and then my COVID symptoms, It basically saved me. For that my family will always be thankful,“ he said.