US study indicates ineffectiveness of antimalarial drug in COVID-19 patients

Medications in a UK pharmacy. [EPA-EFE | Robert Perry]

First research results in the USA indicate that the malaria drug hydroxychloroquine does not help to fight the coronavirus. EURACTIV Germany reports.

The study published on Tuesday (21 April) even showed that the mortality rate among patients treated with the drug was significantly higher than for patients treated without the drug.

According to the study, 28% of patients with COVID-19 who had been administered hydroxychloroquine died. In contrast, the mortality rate of patients treated without the antimalarial drug was only 11%.

The study also found that patients treated with hydroxychloroquine had to be put on a ventilator just as often as other patients.

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The researchers had evaluated the medical records of 368 patients in US hospitals for military veterans. Their investigation was financed by the US government.

In recent weeks, US President Donald Trump has repeatedly touted chloroquine, a drug related to hydroxychloroquine, as a possible cure for COVID-19, a lung disease caused by the novel coronavirus. He even called chloroquine a “gift from God.”

However, both chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine can cause serious side effects, especially in high doses or in combination with other drugs.

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