A group of physicians from around the world nominated Vladimir Zelenko, M.D., the New York physician who successfully treated hundreds of COVID-19 patients with a cocktail of drugs including hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) for the Nobel Peace Prize.
Zelenko, a family physician, was one of the pioneers of early treatment for COVID-19, much of it out of necessity when his community of Monroe, New York was hit hard by COVID-19 during the early stages of the pandemic. Zelenko’s success received notoriety and caught the attention of President Trump, who spoke highly of HCQ during a news conference. Weeks later, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the National Institutes of Health issued warnings against HCQ for COVID-19, despite its decades-long safety record to treat other illnesses.
On The Heartland Daily Podcast on March 4, Zelenko described why and how he devised what became known as the “Zelenko Cocktail.” When COVID hit, his practice went from seeing 50 patients a day to 250. Treatment centers were shut down and hospitals ran out of beds. Zelenko did what he knew best: outpatient, primary care. Zelenko ultimately treated 1,000 patients of all ages with COVID-19 and saved all but three. The mortality rate for those 75 or older is at least 11 percent. “The key is early treatment in high-risk patients,” said Zelenko.
Despite Zelenko’s success, New York State restricted pharmacies from dispensing hydroxychloroquine. Zelenko found alternatives, including over-the-counter products. Zelenko received pushback from his own community and other doctors who did not agree with treating people with HCQ. Zelenko blamed “academic fraud” and fear-mongering by the media for the vilification of HCQ or any non-conventional approach to treating patients. “It used to be we were taught critical reasoning, deductive thought, but over the last 60 years, that has no longer happened, people are now taught indoctrination,” said Zelenko.
Zelenko’s work inspired thousands of physicians and scientists to advocate for the early treatment of COVID-19, including Peter McCullough, M.D. and Pierre Kory, M.D, two of nearly a dozen experts who testified before a U.S. Senate panel in November and December on the issue.
Some 329 candidates have been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize, the third-highest number ever. The Nobel Committee announces the winner in October. While the prize and the process of deliberation have been criticized as highly political, the winner takes home a $1.1 million cash prize and receives fame and glory. Other nominees for the 2021 award include the Black Lives Matter Movement, the World Health Organization, Jared Kushner and Avi Berkowitz who negotiated the Abraham Accords in the Middle East, and Stacey Abrams, the activist in Georgia who played an influential role in the 2020 general election.
AnneMarie Schieber (firstname.lastname@example.org) is the managing editor of Health Care News.
“Failure to Treat COVID-19 Patients Early Cost 450,000 Lives (Guest: Vladimir Zelenko, M.D.),” The Heartland Daily Podcast, March 4, 2021: https://www.heartland.org/multimedia/podcasts/failure-to-treat-covid-19-patients-early-cost-450000-lives-guest-vladimir-zelenko-md