Buenos Aires – An Argentine judge forced a private clinic to administer chlorine dioxide, used as a powerful disinfectant, to a patient with coronavirus who died on Monday in case medical doctors described it as a “scandal”. The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and other agencies warn that chlorine dioxide, advertised as a “miracle drug” online, can be dangerous to human health if consumed.
Following President Trump’s suggestion that disinfectants could be injected to treat COVID-19, a number of Americans were hospitalized for ingesting detergents and at least three people were charged with crimes selling chlorine-based products as a cure for the disease.
A judge granted the request the same day and ordered the Otamendi y Miroli Clinic in Buenos Aires to administer the substance prescribed by the patient’s doctor.
The clinic unsuccessfully appealed the decision and gave the man the substance, while emphasizing that he would not be responsible for a negative result.
The patient, a 92-year-old man who was in critical condition from the virus, died on Monday, the family’s lawyer confirmed.
The FDA has warned that the consumption of chlorine dioxide products can “endanger human health,” has no proven effectiveness against COVID-19, and is known to cause respiratory and liver failure among other harmful effects.
The Pan American Health Organization, the Argentine Society of Infectious Diseases and the country’s National Administration of Medicines, Food and Medical Devices have also issued warnings against the use of chlorinated products to treat COVID-19.
The judge ruled that the treatment did not threaten “serious harm” to the clinic, but, on the contrary, could “avoid” the patient’s deterioration.
Doctors questioned the decision.
“Judicial deviations and scandal”
“The judge’s decision that a doctor should administer a substance for which there is no scientific evidence is really worrying, especially when it is in an intravenous form,” said Omar Sued, president of the Argentine Society of Infectious Diseases.
“It’s not the judge’s decision to give the patient a drug he doesn’t know. It’s not his role.”
Ignacio Maglio, a lawyer for the Argentine health NGO Fundacion Huesped, said the case was a cross-cutting of justice, “judicial misconduct and scandal”.
Chlorine dioxide is used for disinfection of medical and laboratory equipment, for treatment of water in low concentrations or as a bleaching agent.
The family’s lawyer told C5N that his client would sue the Otamendi clinic because he held her responsible for the patient’s death, as it “delayed treatment”.
“The man also died of a hospital infection due to the delay in treatment,” the lawyer said.
Argentina announced on Monday that it will introduce a new therapy for COVID-19, developed by local scientists using serum extracted from horses that have developed antibodies after injection of coronavirus proteins.
The serum, developed by biotechnology company Inmunova, has been tested on patients in 18 hospitals for the clinical trial phase and will now be distributed to hospitals and clinics under a special license issued by Argentina’s ANMAT drug monitoring service.
Inmunova director Fernando Goldbaum said the serum helps patients by suppressing viral proliferation by giving the body time to assemble its own defense system.
Therapists say it reduces mortality by 45 percent.
According to a press release, the laboratory of the Argentine Institute of Biology produces about 12,000 treatments a month.
Argentina, with a population of 44 million, has reported more than 1.7 million coronavirus cases and nearly 44,500 deaths.