An Effective Treatment for Coronavirus (COVID-19)

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  • James M. Todaro, MD
  • Gregory Rigano, Esq
Journal Google document
Date March 13, 2020

Note: There is an issue with this peer review as it was prepared by one of the paper's authors, James Todaro. James is also an administrator of OmniJournal and created this peer review as a placeholder. As with every OmniJournal peer review, future peer reviewers are free to add/remove/edit points or correct any inaccuracies or errors in this, or any other, peer review.

A paper proposing chloroquine and its derivative hydroxychloroquine in prophylaxis or treatment of COVID-19 based on in-vitro evidence, mechanism of action and use in China and South Korea treatment guidelines.

Published as a Google document on March 13, 2020, and tweeted by Elon Musk, this was the first widely disseminated paper looking at chloroquine as a treatment option for the rapidly spreading novel-coronavirus.

After millions of views, the paper was taken down by Google for violation of terms and conditions on March 18, 2020, although details on the specific violation are unknown. A copy of the paper remains publicly available on the decentralized file storage platform, IPFS.

Major Issues

Often misinterpreted as original research, the Todaro and Rigano paper instead summarizes treatment guidelines from Asia, in-vitro evidence and a mechanism of action for hydroxychloroquine’s antiviral effects. Nearly all evidence presented in the paper is supported by external research or expert opinion.

Minor Issues

One of the controversies surrounding the paper is the connection to Stanford University School of Medicine. Shortly after the paper was published, Stanford issued a formal statement denying any involvement or collaboration on the paper. It is assumed this denial is addressing a header in the paper that states, “In consultation with Stanford University School of Medicine, UAB School of Medicine and National Academy of Sciences researchers.” The confusion appears to have arisen from the semantics of formal collaboration with named institutions versus collaboration with individual researchers and faculty members at named institutions. As referenced in the paper, Steve Schow, PhD from Stanford and Thomas Broker, PhD from University of Alabama made contributions to the paper.


As the first widely disseminated paper on hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine as a prophylaxis or treatment for COVID-19, it received worldwide attention within days. Further evidence of hydroxychloroquine’s clinical efficacy was demonstrated in a small trial conducted by Dr. Didier Raoult in Marseille. Within several days, the US FDA issued an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) for use of hydroxychloroquine in treatment of hospitalized COVID-19 patients.

Article Revisions

None at this time.