New York City Councilman Paul Vallone says COVID-19 almost killed him in March but the controversial anti-viral drug hydroxychloroquine saved his life.
"I couldn’t breathe, very weak, couldn’t get out of bed," Vallone, a Democrat who represents northeast Queens, told the New York Post. "My doctor prescribed it. My pharmacy had it. Took it that day and within two to three days I was able to breathe. Within a week I was back on my feet.”
Vallone said he took the drug along with a standard Z-Pak, a medical course of the antibiotic azithromycin, which is commonly given for bacterial infections.
Back in April, Vallone went public through a Twitter post about his diagnosis, and at that time said he was experiencing "mild symptoms."
However, his initial prognosis was not good, as he also has sarcoidosis, an auto-immune disease that affects his lungs.
Vallone told The Post that "we were in panic mode" because he does not have much immune response.
"I needed something to stay alive," Vallone said, and hydroxychloroquine "worked for me."
Vallone's brother Peter, a civil court judge in Queens and a former city councilman, said he became a believer in the drug after his brother's recovery.
“I guess all those doctors who are prescribing it are right,' he said in a Facebook post in May, when he shared a link to a New York University study touting the drug.
Hydroxychloroquine, which is commonly used to treat malaria, has been on the market since 1955 but came back into more public view after it was considered a potential cure for the coronavirus pandemic. President Donald Trump has often touted it and said he took it for a time, but in June, the Food and Drug Administration said the drug was "unlikely to be effective in treating COVID."
Vallone said he credits Trump for offering "hope."
“At that time, there was only fear and panic, he offered hope in a possible treatment when there was none," he said. "With my sarcoidosis and then my COVID symptoms, It basically saved me. For that my family will always be thankful."
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