How Chloroquine and Hydroxychloroquine can possibly Treat COVID-19
To start off with, we must go back to some basic understanding of the viral infection process. The main thing about viruses is that they love an acidic environment. It is the only way that they can survive in our body. Inside every cell in our body the cytoplasm is acidic, along with the endoplasmic reticulum, and the golgi apparatus. When a virus first attaches to a cell, it tries to merge with the wall of the cell. Then once it fuses, it proceeds into the cytoplasm, then into the Endoplasmic Reticulum (where it starts to replicate), then into the golgi apparatus, where it finalizes the invasion, in which it has now taken over our cell. That’s the simple version, but now you have an idea of the process, and it will allow you to understand the potential for chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine in treating COVID-19.
Chloroquine and Hydroxychloroquine are intentionally basic by design. When these drugs are administered, they make the blood stream, and all the cells they come in contact with, basic. Specifically, the cytoplasm, the endoplasmic reticulum, and the Golgi Apparatus. When these are no longer acidic, it does not allow the virus to attach to, or invade the cell. It also stops the replication of the virus.
This is the main mechanism by which these drugs are believed to have so much potential.
The second mechanism happens when these drugs are present in the blood stream and in the cells, they allow for Zinc to be put into the cytoplasm of the cell. Without a facilitator, Zinc cannot enter into the cytoplasm of the cell. So, when zinc is allowed to enter into the cytoplasm of the cell, most of the time it will attach to RNA- dependant RNA polymerases or, RDRP for short, in the cell. If zinc is in the cell taking up all of the RDRP then there is none left for the virus to utilize, and since the RDRP is necessary for the virus to be able to take over the cell, the process is squashed right then and there and the cell is protected.
Now, there is plenty of research to support this, but the problem is that these are not particularly safe drugs. So, the risk and the reward have to be weighed, and it has to be done by a medical professional. The dose is weight specific and very sensitive, and thus can be easily overdosed. In an overdose, there are a multitude of things that can go wrong, including death. If you have other underlying conditions, these drugs pose an even greater risk. So, that is the fear right now with naming these as a cure and an active treatment. These drugs, though they have great potential, pose a great risk as well.