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Bay Area Patients Tell Their Experience of COVID-19 Survival

EMERYVILLE (KPIX) -- With a sharp increase of COVID-19 cases in the Bay Area, many are wondering what happens if they test positive for the virus. Patients who have recovered from the virus are now starting to share their successful treatment stories.

On March 3, Palo Alto resident Monica Yeung Arima returned home from Egypt and sensed she was coming down with something. One week later, she tested positive for the novel coronavirus. Because she had underlying medical conditions including a weak respiratory system, she was eligible for a clinical trial for Remdesivir, an antiviral drug developed to treat Ebola.

"By the end of the second dose, I can already feel that I'm getting better," Arima said.

Arima got her treatment at Stanford Health Care, one of 20 sites across the country conducting the clinical trial.

Dr. Neera Ahuja is principal investigator of the trial.

"We are all trying to do one thing to find the best cure and, I would say, it's the one blessing in all of this that we are all coming together. I'm crossing my fingers we find something soon," said Dr. Ahuja.

Successful treatment stories are popping up every day.

Actor Daniel Dae Kim took to Facebook to share what worked for him. Kim said he used a cocktail of drugs, saying "This here is what I consider to be the secret weapon: hydroxy chloroquine. This is a common anti-malarial drug successfully used in Korea in their fight against the coronavirus."

Physicians are quick to warn their patients that chloroquine, in particular, could have significant side effects.

"Please remember everything you put into your body you do need to run by your physician first so you're not doing any harm to your body," said Dr. Runjhun Misra, an internal medicine specialist.

None these treatments so far is FDA-approved to treat the coronavirus but patients hope that, by sharing their stories, this information will be compiled to figure out what works and what doesn't.

Monica Yeung Arima describes it as, "A little bible about treatment specifically tailored for COVID-9."

Doctor say the ultimate goal is to create a vaccine. Clinical trials have begun but their success will be determined by how the virus mutates.

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