Recently I read that a large amount of a particular fluoroquinolone was being sent to Asia to help combat the coronavirus outbreak (source). Obviously, they were meaning the fluoroquinolones (FQ’s) to be used for secondary infections.
In the comments section I read several remarks from detractors who were making off-handed statements about how stupid it was to use the FQ for viruses. This made me realize that many people still do not understand the gravity or the risk these drugs pose, not just in the area of antibiotics but antivirals as well.
Three Headed Hell-hound
People like me, who need to do something more constructive with their lives, watch the radar for the FQ’s to show up in three areas.
- Anti-cancer (anti-tumor chemotherapy)
If you remember from Greek Mythology, Cerberus, was the dreaded monstrous three headed ‘Hell Hound’ that guards the gates of the underworld to prevent the dead from leaving. With a dramatic flair, the quinolones represent our Cerberus, our three areas of dread that will have the continued possibility to do untold terrible harm to tens of thousands in the future. The FQ’s are like Cerberus, in that they don’t let their victims easily escape.
Everyone needs to realize that if researchers considered quinolones a failed platform the outcry from our community alone would have pushed them into retirement or at least into relative obscurity. But alas, from a development perspective, there is way too much money to be made and way too many avenues for development for the quinolones to just go away.
A Cool Erector Set
It is my opinion that most scientists who work in drug development do not believe that the FQ’s are very toxic. On the contrary, like a kid that received a cool new erector set for Christmas, they see endless possibilities in synthesizing new compounds from the quinolones.
Nothing answers the research side of this question more clearly that a little known research paper entitled “Nonclassical Biological Activities of Quinolone Derivatives” written in 2012. This paper clearly elucidates why, from a research perspective, the FQ’s are not going away anytime soon.
The paper describes how the quinolone’s chemical synthesis is flexible and can be easily adapted to prepare new compounds and it is considered ideal for effective drug design. From the paper “…which makes quinolones an endless source of hope and enables further development of new clinically useful drugs.”
For these researchers insidious creeping toxicity, that chronically disables thousands of individuals over the long term, is not on their radar scope. FQAD, although extremely prevalent, remains poorly documented and policy makers, such as politicians, gravitate to the recovery stories promoted about on the internet and believe that FQ Toxicity is mostly a recoverable condition.
I wrote about these issues in the article The Fluroquinolones Inconvenient Truth and Why haven’t the Fluoroquinolones been taken off of the market?
It is my opinion that the drug researchers believe that the current formulary of quinolones has proven themselves in both safety and efficacy.
Now to the brief point of this article. Would it surprise you to learn that the quinolones have been developed into an antiviral? Well, they have.
Quinolone derivatives have been shown to inhibit HIV-1 replication in de novo- and chronically infected cells (1, 2, 3, 4, 5–6, 7). So much so that they were developed into the anti-HIV drug Elvitegravir.
But it doesn’t stop there.
Pharmaceutical research since 2009 as shown that quinolone molecules are suitable for designing newer derivatives against influenza viruses based upon promising antiviral activity seen (10).
It is pure conjecture on my part, but I believe when we see large amounts of FQ’s being pumped into viral outbreak areas it serves another more insidious purpose. It is akin to in-vivo experimentation. What better way to gather loads of real-world research data in a large population then to legitimately help others on one hand, while you just happen to collect in-vivo antiviral data on the other? I believe we saw this behavior with past Ebola outbreaks, and now we are seeing this with other viral outbreaks as well. You can bet that researchers from pharmaceutical companies are watching and documenting.
On a side note, in the case of the Ebola outbreak, we also saw the development of a post Ebola syndrome, aka FQAD (11).
Conspiratorial? Maybe. But there is much truth in the mix.
Something Very Wrong
There is something inherently wrong with the quinoline pharmacophore. The foundation on which the FQ antibiotics, chemotherapy, and antivirals are being built. It holds a secret, and in many cases not so secret, toxicity whose insidious tentacles spread throughout society causing untold world-wide health problems that routinely evade detection or documentation by separating cause and effect. To those who have not experienced the horror called floxing or FQAD, those of use sounding the alarm look like crazy lunatics trying frantically to warn others.
Until drug researchers fully understand and connect the FQ’s to all the damage they cause, from post viral syndromes, to CFS and Fibromyalgia, from Gulf War to ALS and Parkinson’s, all three of these avenues of development I mentioned above will carry with them the underlying risk of horrific adverse events for those unlucky enough to fall victim.