I am dismayed to see a long letter touting the “Zelenko Protocol” to treat COVID-19 in your July 26 paper. Perhaps a little fact-checking on your part would have been in order before deciding to publish this letter, since it has public-health consequences.

According to Snopes (the internet fact-checking site): “As has been noted elsewhere, combining hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin can cause serious problems for people with certain heart conditions.

Though zinc appears to be an important factor in several immune functions, a potential mechanism for how it might work against viral infections is not well-understood.

In an interview with Forward, Dr. Vladimir Zelenko “acknowledged that his regimen was new and untested, and that it was too soon to assess its long-term effectiveness.” He instead argued that “the risks of waiting to verify its efficacy” were greater.

This is an assertion with which public-health officials largely disagree.

Regardless, making an assertion in a blog post or in a YouTube interview that neither describes the study design nor provides the actual data used to reach a conclusion about efficacy cannot, in any way, be critically evaluated. As such, this claim is rated “unproven.”

According to the New York Times, May 1: “A federal prosecutor has opened a preliminary inquiry into whether an obscure New York doctor who won White House attention by claiming he could treat the coronavirus broke the law by falsely claiming that a hospital study of drugs he had promoted had won federal approval.

“The doctor, Vladimir Zelenko, wrongly claimed that the Food and Drug Administration had backed a study of a drug cocktail that he asserts is effective in treating COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus. Through a mis-directed email, that claim came to the attention of Aaron Zelinsky, a federal prosecutor in Baltimore working on fraud cases arising out of the pandemic.”

The statements above might help Mr. McDaniel to answer his own question as to why making “HCQ and AZ as easy to get as aspirin” hasn’t been done.

Katherine Owre

Rio Rancho