February 7, 2022

The widow of a 58-year-old prominent journalist in Egypt filed a complaint on January 13, 2022 regarding the death of her husband who was treated for months for COVID-19 by a hepatologist/gastroenterologist who administered an unlisted experimental drug, claiming that he invented the treatment that would cure COVID-19 in one week. The journalist died on January 9, 2022 after living with COVID-19 since late 2020.

In January 2022, the doctor called into a popular Egyptian talk show and reportedly admitted that he had treated the journalist with Sofosbuvir, which is sold under the brand name Sovaldi and is used to treat hepatitis C. He reportedly told the audience that he had read an international study which proved the efficacy of Sofosbuvir in treating a wide range of viral infections and that it had been administered to five million Egyptians with no side effects and is generally considered safe.

During the journalist’s funeral, his widow stated, “A medical mistake on the part of his home isolation doctor is what caused his condition to worsen to such a degree. It was also why it took them so long to treat him.” An Egyptian doctors’ association responded on January 11, 2022: “While we empathise with the sadness and pain of loss that has swept the late journalist’s family, the syndicate denounces and completely rejects having its doctors attacked as a means for someone to vent out their emotions.”

However, another of the journalist’s doctors reportedly posted on Facebook the journalist’s test results saying that they conclusively determined that the use of the treatment exacerbated his lung condition and worsened his pulmonary fibrosis, which was the official cause of death.

The journalist was admitted to the hospital with COVID-19 in late 2020 where he remained until March 2021, when he was released to home where he remained until his death. His widow’s petition reportedly claims her husband’s condition worsened while at home when he began treatment with the doctor, whom she claims smoked heavily while treating her husband in his bedroom.

Egypt’s prosecutor general reportedly opened an investigation into allegations that medical malpractice played a part in the journalist’s death after his widow filed the petition with the country’s top prosecutors and its medical association, accusing the doctor of malpractice that caused his condition to worsen over the course of his months-long treatment.

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Sofosbuvir is used along with ribavirin (Copegus, Rebetol, Ribasphere, others) and sometimes another medication (peginterferon alfa [Pegasys]) to treat certain types of chronic hepatitis C (an ongoing viral infection that damages the liver) in adults. Sofosbuvir is also used along with ribavirin to treat certain types of chronic hepatitis C (an ongoing viral infection that damages the liver) in children 3 years of age and older. Sofosbuvir is in a class of antiviral medications called nucleotide polymerase inhibitors. It works by decreasing the amount of hepatitis C virus (HCV) in the body. Sofosbuvir may not prevent the spread of hepatitis C to other people.

Some possible serious side effects of Sofosbuvir include pale skin, dizziness, shortness of breath, weakness, sore throat, fever, chills, and other signs of infection, rash, with or without blisters, swelling of the face, throat, tongue, lips, eyes, hands, feet, ankles, or lower legs, hoarseness, and difficulty swallowing or breathing.

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