HCQ Does Not Improve Status of COVID-19 Patients: Study

A new study shows that anti-malaria drug hydroxychloroquine does not change the clinical status of COVID-19 patients

Updated24 Jul 2020, 09:38 AM IST
Treatment & Vaccine
2 min read

One of the most spoken about and controversial drug repurposed for COVID-19 has been anti-malaria drug hydroxychloroquine (HCQ).

Now a new study in The New England Journal of Medicine shows that HCQ did not improve the status of mild-to-moderate COVID-19 patients.

The study consisted of a multicenter, randomised, open-label, three-group, controlled trial on 667 hospitalised patients with suspected or confirmed Covid-19. “Patients were randomly assigned in a 1:1:1 ratio to receive standard care, standard care plus hydroxychloroquine at a dose of 400 mg twice daily, or standard care plus hydroxychloroquine at a dose of 400 mg twice daily plus azithromycin at a dose of 500 mg once daily for 7 days,” reads the paper.

The conclusion was that the use of hydroxychloroquine, alone or with azithromycin, “did not improve clinical status at 15 days as compared with standard care.”

Dr SP Kalantri, Medical Superintendent of Kasturba Hospital and MGIMS, Wardha, Maharashtra tweeted about the results saying,

The Indian Council of Medical Research allows for off-label use of HCQ for treatment and says it is carrying out its own trials on the use of the drug as treatment. This is despite the fact that WHO has dropped HCQ from its solidarity trials looking for treatment options for COVID-19.

In India, it has also so far justified the use of HCQ as a prophylactic based on control trials.

However, an earlier randomised control trial (a gold standard) on HCQ as a prophylactic for those who have been exposed to COVID-19 showed that it doesn't work. This study was also published in The New England Journal of Medicine.

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Published: 24 Jul 2020, 08:56 AM IST
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