Joined: Oct. 2005
| he malaria drug hydroxychloroquine did not help prevent people who had been exposed to others with Covid-19 from developing the disease, according to the results of an eagerly awaited study that was published Wednesday in the New England Journal of Medicine.|
Despite a lack of evidence, many people began taking the medicine to try to prevent infection early in the Covid-19 pandemic, following anecdotal reports it could be effective and claims by President Trump and conservative commentators. Trump, too, said he took hydroxychloroquine to prevent infection.
But the new study, the first double-blind randomized, placebo-controlled trial of hydroxychloroquine, found otherwise.
“I think in the setting of post-exposure prophylaxis, it doesn’t seem to work,” said Sarah Lofgren, an assistant professor at the University of Minnesota who is a co-author of the study.
Related: Moderna released scant Covid-19 data to prevent a leak, CEO says
Other studies of hydroxychloroquine are ongoing. Also Wednesday, the World Health Organization said it is resuming a clinical trial testing hydroxychloroquine as a treatment after pausing it over safety concerns.
“This is not the end of the story with hydroxychloroquine,” said Ashish Jha, the director of the Harvard Global Health Institute. But given the data, he said, if there is any benefit to giving the drug to prevent infection, “it’s going to be small.”
The same group of researchers is also planning to publish the results of trials testing the drug as a treatment and as a “pre-exposure prophylaxis” — that is, before any exposure to SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes Covid-19.
The latest trial enrolled 821 patients who were either living in the same household as someone with Covid-19 or who were health care workers who had been exposed to someone with Covid-19 without adequate protective gear. While the initial infections had to be confirmed with a diagnostic test, the researchers also counted patients who had symptoms consistent with disease, in part because testing wasn’t available.
Approximately 12% of those given hydroxychloroquine developed Covid-19, compared to 14% who were given the vitamin folate as a placebo. There was no further benefit among patients who chose to take zinc or vitamin C. Nearly 40% of patients on hydroxychloroquine experienced side effects such as nausea, upset stomach, or diarrhea. However, the study did not see a significant increase in disturbances of heart rhythms, or an imbalance of deaths.
Even though the study used the gold standard methodology of conducting clinical research, outside researchers saw significant limitations. The study was conducted in an unusual way: over the internet, without patients being seen by study doctors.
“It just continues to extend the case that the drug is lacking significant efficacy,” said Eric Topol, the director of the Scripps Research Translational Institute. He said that the results are consistent with small randomized trials that were conducted in China and with most observational studies. But while he said that the safety results are encouraging, he worried that the study, because of size and other limitations, might not completely rule out such issues.
but UD commenters said it was a cure!
Edited by stevestory on June 04 2020,16:19