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North Carolina Treasurer Dale Folwell is back at home after spending five days in the hospital battling COVID-19 and he's thankful for both the power of prayer and his ability to try an experimental treatment for the virus, he said.
Folwell was never on a ventilator, but his oxygen levels got low enough that doctors administered hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin, an experimental treatment researchers hope will help patients since the FDA hasn't approved any treatments. Folwell said he started feeling better within 24 to 48 hours.
"I’m not the expert on that to know how it impacted me, but from that point forward the goal was to get me off oxygen," Folwell, 61, told FOX Business.
Folwell was diagnosed with the virus in late March and admitted to Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center in Winston-Salem, N.C., on March 29. Three other employees in the treasurer's office have tested positive for the virus, The Raleigh News & Observer reported.
Folwell's goal is a full recovery as he continues to manage the state's multibillion-dollar pension and health plans.
"We all take breathing for granted," Folwell said. "There’s a war going on in everyone who’s tested positive, inside their chest, with the virus and their immune system."
The National Institutes of Health said Thursday it had begun a clinical trial of hydroxychloroquine in patients with coronavirus.
"Many U.S. hospitals are currently using hydroxychloroquine as first-line therapy for hospitalized patients with COVID-19 despite extremely limited clinical data supporting its effectiveness,” said Dr. Wesley Self, who is leading the trial. "Thus, data on hydroxychloroquine for the treatment of COVID-19 are urgently needed to inform clinical practice."
The drug, used to treat malaria, can cause health issues including cardiac arrhythmias, seizures, dermatological reactions and hypoglycemia.