So much has happened in the last few weeks. Finally, though, it seems as though we can see a faint light at the end of the tunnel. There is so much conflicting data on how to move forward that we thought we would try to help you parse through it.
As I’m sure you have noticed, there has been noticeably less talk about hydroxychloroquine. Unfortunately, some recent studies have shown no positive effect with its use, and possibly increased risk. It’s too early to say since there are larger ongoing studies, but for now hydroxychloroquine doesn’t seem to be recommended for treatment of Covid.
There has been exciting news from Gilead in regards to their drug Remdesivir. Their most recent studies showed significant improvement in a vast majority of critically ill patients. That’s one to definitely keep an eye on and may be one to help us come out of this crisis.
There are recommendations that have not changed, and, frankly, ones that should continue indefinitely. Those include staying active, exercising, eating well, sleeping well and avoiding excessive alcohol use. Although we would discourage outdoor activities at peak sun exposure (10-2), we would strongly encourage you to go outside for walks, bike rides, etc. This helps build Vit D levels which are helpful for your immunity, improves physical fitness which has shown to correlate with improved Covid survival, and can have a significant positive impact on your mental health.
There is a lot of confusion about testing and test results. And, to be honest, the picture is not clear. Rapid Immunoglobulin testing has gained significant traction. Several of you have already had the test. While the accuracy of the testing nationwide is under investigation, we still have to make certain assumptions based on the information we have. If you have a positive IgM it suggests that you have had a recent exposure to Covid. IgG antibodies develop later following infection, and generally do not begin to appear until 7 – 10 days after infection. When IgG antibodies are present it often indicates a past infection but does not exclude recently infected patients who are still contagious, especially if detected with IgM antibodies. It is unknown how long IgM or IgG antibodies to SARS-CoV-2 will remain present in the body after infection and if they confer long term immunity. Therefore, we suggest, if you are positive for IgM (with or without IgG) that you follow strict isolation guidelines for 2 weeks assuming you can be contagious. If you are positive for IgG only, then hopefully congratulations is in order. We do not suggest letting your guard down and encourage you to follow statewide mandates. However, there is a good chance you have some degree of immunity which could have implications going forward. There are several options for testing for active Covid infections. If you have symptoms that are concerning please call (561) 642-1000 to schedule a test at FITTEAM ballpark of the palm beaches. Another option, while a little pricey, is a home test provided by Access labs in Jupiter. If interested please go to https://accessmedlab.com/covid19.
Some of you who have tested positive have generously volunteered to donate plasma. While the protocol is not exactly clear, we have been made aware that Oneblood is taking plasma donations at their center in Pompano. If interested, please check their web site at Oneblood.org.
We are very thankful to you, our wonderful patients, for your patience and understanding during these difficult times. Although we are encouraging you to stay away from the office to avoid unnecessary exposure, we are still available and ready to take care of any issues, Covid related or not. We look forward to seeing you face to face in the near future when things settle down.
Morgan and Amir