Physicians in the Dominican Republic are all recommending people keep social distance, use of facial masks and hand washing hygiene, stay-at-home and other measures suggested by the government following World Health Organization protocols. But what if you think you have caught the coronavirus? Local physicians have been using low costing hydroxychloroquine (plaquinol) and ivermectin. Tocilizumab (actemra) is a high cost pharmaceutical that is used for patients in serious conditions, also remdesivir, an antiviral.
After a first whirlwind learning curve in treating patients, there are now treatments that are showing high efficacy. The largest private hospital in Puerto Plata is betting on the low-costing ivermectin.
Dr. Johnny Tavarez of Centro Medico Bournigal says that 100% of all the patients treated at the clinic for Covid-19 with ivermectin have recovered. He says many have had quick recoveries. Dr. Tavarez is the neumologist at the clinic who has been applying the treatment and monitoring the patients. He was interviewed on the Esta Noche con Mariasela TV show on Channel 9.
What is known is that the owner of the clinic, Dr. Jose Natalio Redondo, early on decided to go ahead with the experimental drug based on positive results by Australian scientists. There were still no random controlled studies; the government was not recommending the drug, but that was what they had on hand to use.
Their patients nor the clinic had easy access to other treatments such as hydroxychloroquine, tocilizumab or remdesivir. Diagnostic tests were very scarce.
Yet, the local pharmacies did have stocks of ivermectin, which for years has been used to routinely eliminate parasites in humans and animals. So Centro Médico Bournigal placed their bets on that readily available drug to help save the people of Puerto Plata. Their bet was successful. They now have more than 100 cases treated with ivermectin well documented at the Puerto Plata clinic.
Dr. Tavarez urges people who suspect they have Covid-19 to get treated early on. He says many of those who have died did so waiting to get tested. This could mean waits of two, three weeks or even more in the Dominican Republic. By then the symptoms were pronounced, and it was many times too late for the known treatments to be effective.
Dr. Tavarez says a computerized tomography of the lung and blood test are being used at the clinic to diagnose the disease. He explained the results have proven to be more accurate than a PCR test. The Dominican government is not yet including persons diagnosed with tomography in the official coronavirus statistics bulletin.
Going forward, Dr. Tavarez says the ivermectin treatment is simple and not costly. People just need to show up at the emergency and have a physician monitor the development of the disease. The Centro Medico Bournigal is the largest private clinic on the north coast. It accepts most insurance plans. It is part of Grupo Rescue that also has the Centro Medico Punta Cana where La Altagracia patients are being treated with a similar protocol.
Centro Médico Bournigal
Calle Antera Mota esq. Dr. Zafra
Tel 809 586-2342
Centro Médico Punta Cana
Avenida España No. 1, Bávaro La Altagracia
Télefono: 809 552-1506
24 April 2020