Hydroxychloroquine shows no coronavirus benefit, raises death risk

A nurse shows a hydroxychloroquine pill at a hospital in Brazil

The results on these patients, from a long-established global research database, are "as real world as a database can get", he said.

The new study comes just days after Trump told reporters that he has been taking hydroxychloroquine daily for over a week in an effort to prevent Covid-19 infection.

The researchers found that those who took chloroquine or hydroxychloroquine were more likely to develop serious cardiac arrhythmias, or irregular heartbeats.

"We were unable to confirm a benefit of hydroxychloroquine or chloroquine, when used alone or with a [an antibiotic], on in-hospital outcomes for COVID-19".

The trial is open to any adults employed at United Kingdom healthcare facilities and working with proven or suspected coronavirus patients, under the condition they have not been diagnosed with COVID-19 or a respiratory disease.

The authors found "no evidence" of benefits from hydroxychloroquine in Covid-19 patients-a result that is consistent with the findings of previous studies on the drug, which is most commonly used as a treatment for malaria, lupus, and rheumatoid arthritis.

Demand for decades-old hydroxychloroquine has surged as Trump repeatedly pushed for its use against the coronavirus, urging people to try it.

Scientists say the drug has some "very serious" side-effects and there is no evidence that it prevents or treats the disease. One might also question whether the resources necessary for large studies might be better diverted to other causes, at the same time allowing the drugs themselves to be used for their original goal. The Food and Drug Administration has warned against taking hydroxychloroquine with antibiotics and has said the malaria drug should only be used for coronavirus in formal studies.

The results of the United Kingdom trial are expected by the end of this year.

His study looked at almost 15,000 people with COVID-19 getting one of the malaria drugs with or without one of the suggested antibiotics and more than 81,000 patients getting none of those medications.

About 15% of the patients were treated with the antimalaria drugs alone or with an antibiotic within 48 hours of diagnosis.

After taking into account age, smoking, various health conditions and other factors that affect survival, researchers estimate that use of the drugs may have contributed to 34% to 45% of the excess risk of death they observed.

About 8% of those taking hydroxychloroquine and an antibiotic developed a heart rhythm problem vs. 0.3% of the patients not taking any of the drugs in the study.

All the drugs are all already licensed for other uses so do not need to go through regulation.

"We really do not know if chloroquine or hydroxychloroquine are beneficial or harmful against COVID-19", White was quoted by the outlet as saying.
He had no role in the study.

However, the researchers cautioned that because this was an observational study and not a randomized control trial, which is the gold standard of medical research, they could not rule out the possibility that other factors that hadn't been measured were responsible for the increased deaths.

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