Hydroxychloroquine is the target of gold standard tests amid political issues


In the fight against Covid-19, the drug against hydroxychloroquine malaria became a political issue when it was defended by President Jair Bolsonaro and after the President of the United States, Donald Trump, took the medicine and hailed it as a “watershed” , to the disdain of critics.

Pharmacist with hydroxychloroquine pack at a hospital in Liège, Belgium 22/04/2020 REUTERS / Yves Herman

Photo: Reuters

Some studies have already been carried out on hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine, including one published on Friday that shows a higher risk of death and heart problems in patients with coronavirus who used them compared to those who did not take them. However, doctors are waiting for the debate over the effectiveness of these drugs to treat Covid-19 to be defined by gold standard scientific tests. The results of some of these surveys are expected as early as next week.

The research involves random tests that compare the two drugs with a placebo, without doctors or patients being aware of who received what.

In laboratory experiments, hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine inhibited the new coronavirus and doctors in several parts of the world began to give hydroxychloroquine, the least toxic of the two, to patients. However, the first results of these applications of the drug to patients were quite disappointing.

Hydroxychloroquine, for example, has failed to reduce the need for respirators or the risk of death in critically ill patients with Covid-19 at Columbia University.

The study published in the medical journal Lancet involved almost 96,000 hospitalized patients, including 15,000 treated with hydroxychloroquine or chloroquine. This was not a randomized study, but a retrospective analysis of medical records that may show correlation and not causality.

The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warned last month against the use of hydroxychloroquine, first approved in 1955, due to the risks of causing dangerous irregular heartbeats.

Around the world, many gold standard tests are underway. They explore whether hydroxychloroquine can prevent or treat Covid-19, which patients can benefit, when treatment can begin, how long it can continue and what is the best dose.

So far, most hydroxychloroquine studies have involved hospitalized patients, but “any potential benefit or activity from these agents … would probably be better seen earlier in the course of the disease,” said Kara Ucla, an infectious disease specialist at Ucla Medical Center. Chew.

Several tests are aimed at the early stages of Covid-19, including a study by the US National Institute of Health announced last week, co-chaired by Chew, and another sponsored by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

See too:

Coronavirus: Japanese experiment shows how quickly virus spreads in a restaurant

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