Rick Bradford

The Hydroxychloroquine Saga

by Rick Bradford Has much of the world failed to benefit from an effective, early-stage treatment for COVID-19, because early trial results were misleading? There may be a number of drugs we could ask this question of; here I look at hydroxychloroquine. The Early Indications Hydroxychloroquine is not an exotic new drug with which doctors and medical authorities have little experience. On the contrary, it has been used widely for decades to treat malaria, lupus and rheumatoid arthritis. It came to public attention as a potential treatment for COVID-19 early in 2020, not least because of President Trump’s espousal of it. In the period March – July 2020, attention focused on the WHO-led multinational Solidarity Trial and the UK’s own Recovery Trial which addressed the efficacy of hydroxychloroquine against COVID-19. The Chief Investigators of the Recovery project released a press statement on June 5th 2020 which stated simply, “no clinical benefit from use of hydroxychloroquine in hospitalised patients with COVID-19”. On July 4th 2020 the Solidarity project discontinued the hydroxychloroquine and lopinavir/ritonavir trials. The interim trial results showed that hydroxychloroquine and lopinavir/ritonavir produced little or no reduction in the mortality of hospitalized COVID-19 patients when compared to standard of care. The Solidarity Trial found that all four treatments evaluated (remdesivir, hydroxychloroquine, lopinavir/ritonavir and interferon) had little or no effect on...

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