Hydroxychloroquine (and chloroquine) is no miracle drug for coronavirus, says Chinese study

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New Chinese study shows that hydroxychloroquine is not a miracle cure for treating COVID-19 patients. WHO and scientists therefore urge caution when using this drug.
A study by Zhejiang University in China reveals that the efficacy of hydroxychloroquine in the treatment of the new coronavirus has yet to be proven. Chinese researchers’ report shows that the patients treated with this drug in the study did not recover better from the disease than those who were not administered it.

Image 1: Hydroxychloroquine (and chloroquine) is not the miracle drug for coronavirus, according to a Chinese study
Credit: Polina Tankilevitch / Pexels

Of the 15 patients who received hydroxychloroquine, 13 tested negative for COVID-19 after one week of treatment. On the side of patients who were not treated with this drug, 14 tested negative after a similar duration. However, it is too early to draw scientific conclusions from these results, since the sample of people tested remains very small.

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Insufficient studies

In France, a similar study carried out on a group of 30 patients also had recently given hope on the efficacy of hydroxychloroquine. Used with azithromycin, an antibiotic, this chloroquine derivative appeared to reduce symptoms of COVID-19 and speed healing. Reading the report of this study, the American president Donald Trump was quick to announce that this drug was going to “Change the game”.

But experts around the world, as well as WHO, quickly tempered this enthusiasm. The number of tests performed is still too low, and the duration of treatment too short. For the moment, neither of the two French and Chinese studies allow to affirm that hydroxychloroquine is more or less effective than another drug in the treatment of COVID-19. In France, the High Council of Public Health estimates that data are insufficient at the moment to allow the prescription of this drug in the treatment of the disease. Multiple larger clinical trials will need to be conducted.

In the meantime, patience and caution will be required. In the USA, man died this week after trying to treat himself with chloroquine phosphate, a product used to clean aquarium water.

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Source: Sciences et Avenir



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