The consensus medical opinion is that there is no known cure for COVID-19 for now. However, the rate of recovery among infected persons across the world has been much higher than the fatality rate. As the number of recoveries continued to rise by the day, not a few are anxious to know the type of drugs and medications being used to treat infected persons. One of the lucky survivors of COVID-19, Dr Doyin Okupe, relives his experiences. GBADE OGUNWALE reports.
A former presidential spokesman on Public Affairs, Dr Doyin Okupe, who has just recovered from the COVID-19 disease shares his experiences on how he was treated for the disease. Okupe and his wife, who was also infected, have both recovered after treatment that lasted about two weeks. In a Facebook post on Wednesday, the former presidential aide gave detailed accounts of the drugs and medications that he used in treating himself and his wife.
Okupe wrote: “The medications I took for my COVID-19 virus infections are Hydroxychloroquine 400mg daily for three days. Then I took Azithromycin 500mg daily for 10 days, Zinc sulphate 100mg daily till today and Vitamin C 1200 mg daily till now”. According to him, he had malaria while on admission and was effectively treated with an anti-malaria drug.
“I also developed a cough after about a week and was effectively treated by a fairly large dose of Augmentine for seven days.”
Okupe, who is also a medical doctor, also agreed that there is no universal medical consensus on a specific treatment regime for COVID-19 for now. He stated that most of the drugs being used in different centres worldwide are not backed by any detailed or extensive research work anywhere in the world.
“Most scientific works and studies currently going on have limited scientific acceptability either because the samples used are too scanty, sometimes as low as 40 to 60, or because controls do not exist. It will take another four to six months before the results of credible works are available. However, the humongous nature of the global emergency makes it impossible for countries not to explore experimental drugs that show any possibility or the potential to contain the virus. In my own case, I commenced treatment with Hydroxychloroquine regime four days to my isolation”.
He stated that his medical background and the pieces of information he had earlier gathered on available treatment options helped him to tackle the disease.
“This is because I read extensively on various options of treatment for COVID-19 and I follow the global debate on its pros and cons of the treatment. With my medical background and local consultation with colleagues, I already made up my mind that the Chloroquine regime was so far the most promising. I ordered for the drugs just in case someone close or even I should, unfortunately, pick up the virus,” he added.
He warned against self-medication, saying that people with certain underlying medical conditions must consult their doctors before embarking on treatment, particularly if they are to take Hydroxychloroquine.
He said: “I must warn here that if you have cardiac arrhythmias, you will need to consult your physician before you take Hydroxychloroquine. I did. So I was advised to use 200mg twice daily instead of 400mg twice daily for two days. I also took a copious amount of ginger, garlic, tumeric and lemon. In Kaduna, I am told that they add dongoyaro leaves to the above mixture and drink liberally.”
Stating the efficacy of the combination of drugs he used in the course of treatment, Okupe said: “After I put my wife and me on the treatment, my low-grade fever disappeared completely and my wife’s bone pains too. Personally, I believe the combination works. Lagos uses antiviral drugs and they also get good results. However, the scientific truth we know about treatment for a viral infection is that ultimately what eventually works is the innate capability of the immune system of individual patients. It is the immunity level that eventually decides the course of the infection in each individual. That is why age and existing comorbidity factors are crucial to survival and wellbeing.”
He stressed the need for healthy individuals to boost their immune system to equip the body in the event of getting infected. Okupe advised those who are still healthy to ingest immune-boosting drugs and preparations; Like Zinc Sulphate, Immunace, Reload and similar immunity-enhancing drugs. Giving the process of incubation of the coronavirus within the human body, Okupe said the virus can be defeated at the early stage of infection with simple but drug-free measures.
He said: “As a tip also, it is known that when the virus first gains access to the body, it stays in the nasal cavity and the throat for two to three days. In this position, the virus itself is vulnerable. It does (vulnerable) naturally in temperatures above 35 degrees Celsius. If at this stage you can consume large quantities of hot water with lemon, you can abort the attack.”
Warning against complacency on the part of Nigerians, Okupe advised members of the public to prioritise their personal safety, stressing that it’s far better and cheaper to avoid infection than to embark on treatment. “Pursue personal safety at whatever cost. Stay at home. Don’t visit and don’t receive visitors. Check drivers, maids and aides. Since it may be difficult to gauge their compliance, either reduce to the barest minimum or do without. Those that must stay must be made to be resident and movements restricted. Maintain physical distancing if you must go out. Comply with the hygiene protocols as recommended by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC). Fortify yourself daily with immune boosters. At the slightest sign of trouble, fever, catarrh and or cough, get instant help. I hope someone finds this piece useful.”