LAURA INGRAHAM (HOST): And up next, now the scientists are saying that they're developing a vaccine for the coronavirus, it could take months and not be implemented once it's found for 12 to 18 months, given we have to look at harmful side effects and so forth. But what if there's already a cheap and widely available medication that's on the market to treat the virus? Well, according to a new study, there is such a drug. It's called chloroquine. And that study found that use of chloroquine and its tablets is showing favorable outcomes in humans infected with coronavirus, including faster time to recovery and shorter hospital stays. CDC research shows that chloroquine also has strong potential as a prophylactic preventative measure against coronavirus in the lab and while we wait for a vaccine to be developed.
Tonight, joining me now is one of the co-authors of that study, Gregory Rigano. Gregory, how big a game changer could chloroquine and its sister drug hydrochloroquine be if, say, we began using it fairly promptly to treat Americans who are highly at risk -- the elderly and people who are already compromised?
GREGORY RIGANO: Yes, thank you for having me on. So let me just start. Chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine are generic drugs, traditionally prescribed in tablet form. They've been around since World War II. They are on the World Health Organization's list of the most essential medicines, and they're generally accepted as safe, especially hydroxychloroquine has an even better safety profile than chloroquine.
And what we see in both the South Korean and Chinese treatment guidelines -- we don't have clinical trials yet from there. They both say, use chloroquine as a treatment. And what I'm here to report, and I'm kind of front-running here and I have to apologize, but we are in a state of emergency and [indecipherable] an MD, Ph.D. from the south recorded, he's going to publish it in the next few days, that in a 30-patient controlled clinical study -- that means there's a patient arm that is taking hydroxychloroquine and a patient arm that's taking nothing as a placebo -- and these patients that are taking nothing are heroes. Within a matter of six days, the patients taking hydroxychloroquine tested negative for coronavirus, COVID-19. Within that same time the patients that took the control tested positive. This is a well-controlled study. And what we need to proceed here is a global well-controlled study to demonstrate its effectiveness, so medical doctors are comfortable prescribing this worldwide.
And before you come up, the most important thing is that this is likely an effective treatment by our south of France eminent -- I mean, he's one of the most eminent infectious disease specialists in the whole world. But specifically, we have strong reason to believe that a preventative dose of hydroxychloroquine is going to prevent the virus from attaching to the body and just get rid of it completely.
INGRAHAM: Yes --
RIGANO: Basically functioning --
INGRAHAM: That's a game changer. And, again, it has been used against the SARS. It's a very well-known antiviral, very -- everyone knows it who has gone to maybe Africa or other places where malaria is a problem. I took it a couple years ago. I've actually taken it four times. And I've gone on -- three times, excuse me. Three different trips to Africa. I always took chloroquine. It's just one of -- and that's a generic, but there are -- you could get other brand names of it. But this is about 5 cents a tablet, and again, we want this to be done on a global scale, controlled study, that's a bigger study group. But this could really buy us time. And it's critical that this be done and that the administration through the FDA, they've cut red tape. They continue to cut red tape and fast-track any other study of this we have to do, but especially for compromised patients in the elderly. Gregory, you're giving us information a lot of people weren't aware of. Thank you very much tonight.