Hydroxychloroquine shows promise in coronavirus study

By Chuck Ross

Researchers in China found that the malaria drug hydroxychloroquine was effective in treating patients with mild cases of COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, according to a study released Tuesday.

Patients treated with hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) saw improvements in coughs, fever and pneumonia compared to a control group, the researchers found.

After having mocked President Donald Trump for promoting hydroxychloroquine as a potential treatment for coronavirus, media have started to acknowledge that the drug, sold under the brand name Plaquenil and others, may be effective. The Food and Drug Administration has approved hydroxychloroquine for emergency in the fight against COVID-19.

The randomized trial looked at 62 patients admitted to Renmin Hospital at Wuhan University from Feb. 4 until Feb. 28. Half were treated with a five-day regimen of 400 milligrams of HCQ. The study excluded patients with several or critical cases of coronavirus.

Four patients in the study progressed to severe illness, but all of those were in the group not treated with the malaria drug.

“Considering that there is no better option at present, it is a promising practice to apply HCQ to COVID-19 under reasonable management,” reads the study, which was posted to medRvix, a website that publishes medical research.

An expert on infectious disease expressed optimism at the findings, but noted that more research needs to be done to see if it works on patients with severe cases of coronavirus.

“It’s going to send a ripple of excitement out through the treating community,” Dr. William Schaffner, an expert on infectious disease at Vanderbilt University, told The New York Times.

“If you want to treat people who are already seriously ill, we don’t know how well this will work.”

The time to clinical recovery, or TTCR, was shorter in the test group, researchers found. Twenty-five of the 31 patients in the test group saw improvements with pneumonia, compared to 17 of the 31 in the control group.

President Donald Trump began touting HCQ last month after several studies showed it was effective against coronavirus. Researchers in China found that it was effective against the virus in vitro, or in a test tube. French scientists released a study in February showing improvements in 24 patients treated with HCQ and azithromycin, an antibiotic.

That research helped boost the profile of HCQ as a potential COVID-19 treatment, but some scientists have viewed it with caution because it was not a randomized clinical study.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the leading infectious disease expert on the White House coronavirus task force, has urged caution in interpreting the initial research on HCQ. He has said randomized clinical trials have to be conducted to determine if HCQ is both effective at treating coronavirus and safe for patients. The study out of China found that two patients administered HCQ experienced mild side effects, a rash and a headache.

Trump directed the Food and Drug Administration to fast track clinical studies of the drug. Researchers at the University of Minnesota began a study of 1,500 patients in February. The state of New York is also conducting its own study.

Scientists hope existing drugs such as HCQ or antiviral medications can be used to treat coronavirus patients until a vaccine can be developed. Researchers are also working on a therapy that uses blood plasma from recovered coronavirus patients either as a treatment for people infected with the virus, or to prevent infection in high-risk individuals.

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5 thoughts on “Hydroxychloroquine shows promise in coronavirus study

  1. Hydroxychloroquine (HCQ), surely isn’t the cure for the Wuhan Virus but it is
    a step in the right direction.

    If we wait for the Federal Government to find a cure or a vaccine, we’ll all be
    dead, use what we have today !!

    China is the deadliest game around, don’t listen to the lies because you’ll
    never hear the truth from them…………………………………

  2. So we are reading the NY and the rest of the country needs people, who have gotten through the corona virus to donate blood immediately, as they will be able to help people who are suffering badly from the virus with the donated platelets.

    There are probably many in Vermont that would help!

    However, we need testing! How are we working towards this? Perhaps they can facilitate this, let us know what we can do to help our fellow man.

    Let’s not forget what we can do to help those who are suffering, reduce the pain, financial burdens and mortality! It will be a great excuse for people to get out of the house and be productive….Vermonters are all for that.

  3. This is no good. It might kill a good crisis before it’s been milked sufficiently. That’s why the gubners of Michigan and Nevada banned its use. Because, you know, orange man bad.
    The CDC wants more money. That’s why Dr. Faustus (aka Chicken Little) prefers long, double blind testing to go on before allowing such a medication, one whose patents expired years ago, to just allowing it to be tried.
    Imagine if penicillin was only allowed after smallpox wiped out most of the world’s population. Actually the elites would be OK with that. They would get the medicine, not us little people.

    • Yeah interesting how people are ignoring a cure that costs less than $20 huh?

      Can’t make billions of dollars if you cure things for $20. Can’t get free ride on all the hospital bills if you only need to spend $20 a day, throw in some Vitamin C and Zinc, perhaps you can inflate the bill to $30. Can’t get rich and have complete control with that solution can you?

  4. Dear Governor Scott.

    Could you please make this a priority? Perhaps the media would cover this too? Thanks for the consideration.

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