Bloomberg: Small Chinese Study Says Hydroxychlorquine (Chloroquine) Useless Against COVID

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Introduction:  

The US is running out of Hydroxychlorquine, required for the treatment of lupus.  Doctors, PA’s and nurses around the country face losing their licenses for prescribing this drug without a proper diagnosis,

However, the article below, from Bloomberg, says Pence has personally changed the law (in all states) through an announcement.  What is true?

Bloomberg: Hydroxychloroquine, a medicine for malaria that President Donald Trump has touted as a treatment for coronavirus, was no more effective than conventional care, a small study found.

The report published by the Journal of Zhejiang University in China showed that patients who got the medicine didn’t fight off the new coronavirus more often than those who did not get the medicine.

The study involved just 30 patients. Of the 15 patients given the malaria drug, 13 tested negative for the coronavirus after a week of treatment. Of the 15 patients who didn’t get hydroxychloroquine, 14 tested negative for the virus.

The results of the study weren’t statistically significant.

“Doctors can now prescribe chloroquine for that off-label purpose of dealing with the symptoms of coronavirus,” Pence said. “The president’s very optimistic.”

Top scientists, including White House coronavirus task force member Anthony Fauci, have called reports that hydroxychloroquine might work anecdotal, and said they need further study before the pill’s use is encouraged.

[Abstract] Objective:

To evaluate the efficacy and safety of hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) in thetreatment of patients with common coronavirus disease-19 (COVID-19).

Methods:

We prospectively enrolled 30 treatment-naïve patients with confirmed COVID-19 after informed consent at Shanghai Public Health Clinical Center. The patients were randomized 1:1 to HCQ group and the control group. Patients in HCQ group were given HCQ 400 mg per day for 5 days plus conventional treatments, while those in the control group were given conventional treatment only.

The primary endpoint was negative conversion rate of COVID-19 nucleic acid in respiratory
pharyngeal swab on days 7 after randomization. This study has been approved by the ethics committee of Shanghai public health clinical center and registered online (NCT04261517).

Results:

One patient in HCQ group developed to severe during the treatment.

On day 7, COVID-19 nucleic acid of throat swabs was negative in 13 (86.7%) cases in the HCQ group and 14 (93.3%) cases in the control group (P>0.05). The median duration from hospitalization tovirus nucleic acid negative conservation was 4 (1-9) days in HCQ group, which is comparable tothat in the control group [2 (1-4) days, (U = 83.5, P > 0.05)].

The median time for body temperature normalization in HCQ group was 1 (0-2) after hospitalization, which was also comparable to that in the control group 1 (0-3). Radiological progression was shown on CT images in 5 cases (33.3%) of the HCQ group and 7 cases (46.7%) of the control group, and all patients showed improvement in follow-up examination. Four cases (26.7%) of the HCQ group and 3 cases (20%) of the control group had transient diarrhea and abnormal liver function (P>0.05).

Conclusions:

The prognosis of common COVID-19 patients is good. Larger sample size
study are needed to investigate the effects of HCQ in the treatment of COVID-19. Subsequent research should determine better endpoint and fully consider the feasibility of experiments such as sample size.

[Key words] Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2; Corona virus disease-19; Novel coronavirus pneumonia; Hydroxychloroquine; Treatment outcome; Safety

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