The National Health authorities stated this week that they will again permit the therapeutic use of hydroxychloroquine to treat patients with COVID-19. This statement came from Román Macaya, President of the Costa Rican Social Security System (CCSS), but acknowledging that the medicine’s efficacy against COVID-19 has not obtained total scientific approval.
CCSS temporarily had stopped using hydroxychloroquine in treating Coronavirus patients during May, after the World Health Organization (WHO) indicate that the use of drugs on critically ill COVID-19 patients could significantly increase their chances of dying. But since then, additional scientific studies have refuted this claim, and the WHO has resumed its hydroxychloroquine research.
As of this resolution coming into effect in our country, all patients, be those with minor symptoms, asymptomatic, or with more serious development of the illness, will be offered the option to take hydroxychloroquine upon their medical diagnosis, pending not having any significant contraindications to the drug.
For his part, Mario Ruíz, Chief Medical Coordinator of the CCSS stated that the institution has already been administring this medical treatment to COVID-19 patients since conferencing with Chinese experts back in April.
Costa Rica has a low case fatality rate (.75%), and fewer than 5% of known active Coronavirus cases are currently hospitalized. “It cannot be stated that this is a result of this drug, but this option isn’t discarded,” says the CCSS President. They still have not compiled sufficient data comparing the outcomes of patients treated with hydroxychloroquine to other therapeutics.
Macaya also affirmed that the CCSS’s commitment to daily calls to all patients infected with SARS-CoV-2 has helped keep the county’s death rates very low. “This continuos check-up by health care providers monitoring ongoing symptom ensures that patients are hospitalized at the appropriate time”, he concluded.