Healthcare workers in United Kingdom begin COVID-19 hydroxychloroquine trial

Henrietta Brewer
May 22, 2020

"In the meantime, we suggest these drugs should not be used as treatments for Covid-19 outside of clinical trials".

The findings: Those given the drug alone had a 34% increased risk of dying and a 137% increased risk of heart arrhythmias.

Further, the researchers concluded that they were unable to "confirm a benefit of hydroxychloroquine or chloroquine when used alone or with a macrolide, on in-hospital outcomes for COVID-19".

Magrini says while the drug was being used in Italy, the agency recommended it only in some patients, preferably on its own or in association with other drugs only in clinical trial settings. The US president then claimed hydroxychloroquine - less toxic than the original chloroquine - was a cure, and later said he was taking it himself against coronavirus.

Professor Stephen Evans, from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, said more research was needed, but added: "it is clear that the drugs should not be given for treatment of Covid-19 other than in the context of a randomised trial".

"There has been so much discussion about this drug that I think the scientific and medical community has an obligation to define what the potential benefit or risk is in the best way possible", Barnes said.

Mehra's group analyzed some 96,000 patients from 671 hospitals on six continents with COVID-19 infection, from December 20 to April 14, all of whom had either died or been discharged from the hospital by April 21.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said 181 health workers and 131 care workers have died from the COVID-19 in the country.

As part of the trial, 40,000 healthcare workers from four continents will be given chloroquine, hydroxychloroquine, or a placebo.

Kim, from Wisconsin, has taken the anti-malarial drug for 19 years to help treat the pain caused by her lupus.

These drugs also have potentially serious side effects.

If the rate of mortality is 9.3 per cent in the control group, the scientists said, on adjustment for other clinical factors, the rate attributable to the use of the drug regimens would rise to 12.4-13.4 per cent.

The study, which observed more than 96,000 people hospitalised with COVID-19, showed that people treated with the drug, or the closely related drug chloroquine, had a higher risk of death when compared with those who had not been given the medicine.

He said it was time to revoke the emergency use authorization issued by the FDA, which approved the drug for seriously ill patients who were hospitalized or for whom a clinical trial was not available.

Trump said that his doctor did not recommend hydroxychloroquine to him, but told reporters that he requested it from the White House physician after two staffers tested positive for Covid-19.

The results suggest these drugs are "not useful and may be harmful" in people hospitalized with COVID-19, professor Christian Funck-Brentano, of the Sorbonne University in Paris, wrote in a commentary published by the journal.

According to the study, some of the difference in the rates of mortality is due to underlying differences between patients who received the treatments and those who didn't.

The difficulty with observational (sometimes called "real-world") studies is that, often, the patients whom doctors choose to treat with a drug are different - in this case, probably sicker - than those who go untreated. "However, we now know from our study that the chance that these medications improve outcomes in COVID-19 is quite low".

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