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New Study Says COVID-19 Treatment With Hydroxychloroquine Not Effective

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“Coronavirus patients taking hydroxychloroquine…were no less likely to need mechanical ventilation and had higher deaths rates compared to those who did not take the drug.” This was revealed in a study on hundreds of patients at US Veterans Health Administration medical centers, reported the CNN (April 22,2020).

US President Trump’s claim that the drug was a “game changer” for COVID-19 and showed “tremendous promise” has been rejected by this new study. The authors of this study work at the Columbia VA Health Care System in South Carolina, the University of South Carolina and the University of Virginia.

In this study of 368 patients, 97 patients who took hydroxychloroquine had a 27.8% death rate. The 158 patients who did not take the drug had 11.4% fatality rate. Henceforth, a strong correlation was found between patient mortality and hydroxychloroquine treatment. The authors suggest that the findings warn against widespread adoption of these drugs. No evidence was found that the use of hydroxychloroquine, either with or without azithromycin, decreased the risk of mechanical ventilation either.

Hydroxychloroquine has been used for decades to treat patients with diseases such as malaria, lupus and rheumatoid arthritis. However, physicians have warned that the treatment needs to be tested to see if it works and how safe it is.

In another recent study mentioned by the CNN, researchers in France examined medical records for 181 COVID-19 patients who had pneumonia and required oxygenation. About half had taken hydroxychloroquine within 48 hours of being admitted to the hospital, and the other half had not. However, no causal relation in the death rates of the two groups could be established.

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It is worthwhile to mention that both studies have so far not been peer-reviewed or published in a medical journal.

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Naya Daur