Hydroxychloroquine would be effective, according to Professor Raoult of the IHU in Marseille, after a first limited test


Professor Didier Raoult in his office in February 2020. – Gérard Julien / AFP

  • Professor Didier Raoult, director of the IHU in Marseille, presented the first results of the hydroxychloroquine clinical test carried out on 24 patients suffering from coronavirus.
  • Early indications are that treatment with hydroxychloroquine would reduce the load, and the results are even more promising with hydroxychloroquine and Azithromycin, an antibiotic effective against viruses.
  • According to him, the reduction of the viral load is central in the fight against the coronavirus, he militates so that more screenings are carried out in France.
  • The government will expand the test to other hospitals to test its effectiveness on a larger scale.

Encouraging results. The director of the IHU of Marseille, Professor Didier Raoult, presented Monday evening at a monthly point with the caregivers of the institute the first results of his clinical test with hydroxychloroquine against
coronavirus, a test validated by the Ministry of
Health. The monthly update was featured in an 18-minute video posted on YouTube by the IHU.

“We were able to compare the negativation of viral carriage in patients who followed the protocol, with patients from Avignon and Nice who did not receive the treatment. Those who have not received the Plaquenil [médicament à base d’hydroxychloroquine] are still 90% carriers of the virus after six days, while 25% are positive for those who received treatment, “said the professor.

“The length of the viral port is an essential element”

But he went even further. “We, and others, have been advised for a long time to give an antibiotic in viral respiratory infections, because they are mainly complicated by pneumonia. So all the people who had clinical signs that could progress to a bacterial complication of pneumonia, they were given Azithromycin. It has been shown in a newspaper that it lowers the risk in people who have viral infections. And the other reason is that Azithromycin has been shown in the laboratory to be effective against a large number of viruses, although it is an antibiotic. So even choosing an antibiotic, we preferred to take an antibiotic effective against viruses. And when you compare the percentage of positives with the combination of hydroxychloroquine and Azithromycin, you have an absolutely dramatic decrease in the number of positives, “he said.

The results of the first clinical tests carried out with hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin.
The results of the first clinical tests carried out with hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin. – IHU screenshot

For Professor Didier Raoult, this viral port is at the center of the fight against the coronavirus. He cites a Chinese study published on March 9. “There is one very important thing in this retrospective study: the length of the viral carriage is an essential element in trying to control this disease. It shows that the people who carry the virus, we speak of 191 people, carry it for twenty days if they are not treated. So the people who invented the fortnight, it doesn’t make sense. We must isolate people who are carriers, and not isolate non-carriers. This is a very important point, “said the specialist.

The Chinese study on the duration of carriage of the virus.
The Chinese study on the duration of carriage of the virus. – IHU screenshot

More tests

But to reduce this viral carry, it is necessary to test a maximum of people. Which is not the government’s current strategy. “How was AIDS mastered? It’s not through vaccines or mathematical models. It’s the viral load and the treatment, we watch with the treatment that the viral load decreases and, when it is below a certain threshold, people are no longer contagious and no longer sick. It is this model that we are trying to put in place. But in this strategy, we test, we detect, we treat, the world is not equal. Those who run the fastest are not the same, those who did the most are the Chinese and Korea. For a population smaller than ours, look at the number of tests they have done. We took a strategy that is not the same as that of the technological world, it is to test very little. ”

The number of screenings carried out by country in the world.
The number of screenings carried out by country in the world. – IHU screenshot

Professor Raoult therefore campaigns to increase these tests and thus be able to treat all carriers. “This is PCR [réaction en chaîne par polymérase] commonplace that anyone can do, the question is organization, not technique, it is not the diagnostic capacity, we have it. It is a strategic choice that is not that of most technological countries, in particular the Koreans, who, along with the Chinese, are among those who have mastered the epidemic through screening and treatment. We are capable in this country like anywhere else of doing thousands of tests and testing everyone, “he argues.

An essay duplicated by the government

At the end of Tuesday’s Council of Ministers, government spokesperson Sibeth Ndiaye said the results were published by Professor Raoult. “Professor Didier Raoult has indeed expressed his wish to have clinical trials. These are therapeutic trials that test a drug or a combination of drugs to cure the coronavirus. There is a clinical trial on 24 patients that has been carried out and that gives really promising results. And in agreement with Professor Raoult, the Ministry of Health wanted us to be able to extend this clinical trial. It will be extended but in another hospital, with a team independent of that of Professor Raoult in order to scientifically ensure that it works for a much larger number of patients, because 24 patients is a fairly low number. ”

A number still too low to draw conclusions, hence a certain warning: “We do not rush to the pharmacy to buy chloroquine now, because, when we take too much, we can have consequences that are not terrible. And because we don’t have scientific proof today that it works. We have a promising start to the clinical trial carried out in Marseille, we are extending it because the scientific discipline wants an experience, to be valid, to be duplicated several times in order to be able to say that it works or that it does not work not, “she warned. Other tests will be carried out at the Lille hospital to confirm, or not, the results of Professor Raoult.

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