Hydroxychloroquine Fails to Cure COVID-19 in Another Study

More Stumbles for Trump’s Favorite Coronavirus Treatment

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on the use of Hydroxychloquine (HCQ) as COVID-19 therapy was released on April 14th, and the results are not great. President Trump’s favorite anti-malarial medication had attracted excitement as a potential coronavirus treatment. This study is part of that have created doubt that HCQ is an effective therapy.

Researchers from France looked at 181 patients who were suffering from severe COVID-19. 84 received HCQ treatment within 48 hours of admission, while the remainder did not. Approximately 25% of both groups developed acute respiratory distress syndrome, 20% required care in the ICU, and 3% died. No clear difference could be seen between the treatment and control groups. These results strongly suggest that HCQ is not an effective therapy for severe COVID-19.

Beyond lacklustre performance as a therapeutic, HCQ appeared to cause serious side-effects. Of the 81 patients in the HCQ group, 8 showed signs of heart irregularities, requiring them to drop out of the study. are a known side-effect of HCQ, though it is unclear if the rates of heart issues are higher in COVID-19 patients compared to healthy individuals taking HCQ.

These complications relate to broader misunderstandings about HCQ and pharmacology more generally. While HCQ is used as a treatment in diseases like malaria and lupus, that does not mean it is “safe” at any possible dosage for any patient. There are many examples of medications that could treat a disease, but cause too much harm when given at the necessary dosage. The COVID-19 studies have used relatively high levels of HCQ , meaning that people who are receiving treatment for COVID-19 are at a higher risk of complications. It is also of note that lupus and malaria are not respiratory diseases, and it is possible that the low blood-oxygen levels that are experienced in COVID-19 could increase the risk of heart problems.

For HCQ, there is now substantial evidence that it is not an effective cure for severe COVID-19. More studies are likely in the works to assess the use of HCQ in mild cases, or as a preventative treatment, but it seems very unlikely that HCQ will be the “miracle drug” that some had promised.

This is part of a series covering research that relate to the COVID-19 pandemic. COVID-19 medicine is an area of study that is evolving rapidly, and some of the science discussed here could end up being incorrect. Other articles in this series cover, , , and .


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