Hydroxychloroquine fails to prevent COVID-19 in rigorous study

Discussion in 'Health and Fitness' started by ph1l, Jun 4, 2020.

  1. ph1l


    JUNE 4, 2020 / 6:45 AM / AP

    A malaria drug President Donald Trump took to try to prevent COVID-19 proved ineffective for that in the first large, high-quality study to test it in people in close contact with someone with the disease.

    Results published Wednesday by the New England Journal of Medicine show that hydroxychloroquine was no better than placebo pills at preventing illness from the coronavirus. The drug did not seem to cause serious harm, though — about 40% on it had side effects, mostly mild stomach problems.

    "We were disappointed. We would have liked for this to work," said the study leader, Dr. David Boulware, an infectious disease specialist at the University of Minnesota. "But our objective was to answer the question and to conduct a high-quality study," because the evidence on the drug so far has been inconclusive, he said.

    Hydroxychloroquine and a similar drug, chloroquine, have been the subject of much debate since Trump started promoting them in March. Hydroxychloroquine has long been used for malaria, lupus and rheumatoid arthritis, but no large studies have shown it or chloroquine to be safe or effective for much sicker patients with coronavirus, and some studies have suggested the drugs may do harm.

    Mr. Trump took a two-week course of hydroxychloroquine, along with zinc and Vitamin D, after two staffers tested positive for COVID-19, and had no ill effects, according to results of his latest physical released by his doctor Wednesday.

    Federal regulators have warned against hydroxychloroquine's use except in hospitals and formal studies because of the risk of side effects, especially heart rhythm problems.

    Boulware's study involved 821 people in the United States and Canada living with someone diagnosed with COVID-19 or at high risk of getting it because of their job — doctors, nurses, ambulance workers who had significant exposure to a sick patient while not wearing full protective gear.

    They were randomly assigned to get either the nutrient folate as a placebo or hydroxychloroquine for five days, starting within four days of their exposure. Neither they nor others involved in the research knew who was getting which pills.

    After 14 days in the study, 12% on the drug developed COVID-19 symptoms versus 14% in the placebo group, but the difference is so small it could have occurred by chance, Boulware said.

    "There's basically no effect. It does not prevent infection," he said of the drug. Even if it were to give some slim advantage, "we'd want a much larger effect" to justify its use and risk of side effects for preventing illness, he said.

    Results were no different among a subgroup of participants who were taking zinc or vitamin C, which some people believe might help make hydroxychloroquine more effective or fight the coronavirus.

    There are some big caveats: The study enrolled people through the Internet and social media, relying on them to report their own symptoms rather than having them tracked in a formal way by doctors. Participants were not all tested for the coronavirus but were diagnosed as COVID-19 cases based on symptoms in many cases. And not all took their medicines as directed.

    The results "are more provocative than definitive," and the drug may yet have prevention benefits if tried sooner or in a different way, Dr. Myron Cohen of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill wrote in a commentary in the journal.

    Others were glad to see a study that had a comparison group and good scientific methods after so many weaker reports on hydroxychloroquine.

    "This fits with everything else we've seen so far which suggests that it's not beneficial," said Dr. Peter Bach, director of a health policy center at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York.

    This study was in younger relatively healthy people, but the results "would make me very discouraged about trying to use this in older people" who are most vulnerable to serious illness from the coronavirus, Bach said. "If it does work, it doesn't work very well."

    Dr. Dan Culver, a lung specialist at the Cleveland Clinic, said there's still a chance that giving the drug sooner than four days after someone's exposure to the virus may help prevent illness.

    But the study "takes 'home run' off the table" as far as hopes for the drug, he said.

    The study was mostly funded by David Baszucki, founder of Roblox, a California-based game software company, and other private donors and the Minnesota university.

    Boulware also is leading a study testing hydroxychloroquine for treating COVID-19. The study is finished and results are being analyzed now.

    On Tuesday, the journal Lancet posted an "expression of concern" about a study it published earlier this month of nearly 15,000 COVID-19 patients on the malaria drugs that tied their use to a higher risk of dying in the hospital or developing a heartbeat problem.

    Scientists have raised serious questions about the database used for that study, and its authors have launched an independent audit.

    That work had a big impact: the World Health Organization suspended use of hydroxychloroquine in a study it is leading, and French officials stopped the drug's use in hospitals. On Wednesday, the WHO said experts who reviewed safety information decided that its study could resume.
  2. Pekelo


  3. wrbtrader


    It makes you wonder about the physicians assigned to take care of President Trump especially when he was (maybe still is) taking hydroxychloroquine.

    In addition, makes you wonder what other medicine he's been taking and if there was a financial connection for President Trump to be pumping hydroxychloroquine so much. Yet, he has been quiet lately about but that may be because of the protests. Thus, he hasn't had time to continue promoting hydroxychloroquine.

  4. Pekelo


    He was actually following the Marik Protocol, backed by plenty of physicians. Stop focusing on HCQ and embrace Zinc. You will be happier in the future.
  5. tiddlywinks


    PREVENT? ... It is a treatment... some may prefer to take it as precaution, no different than some people prefer to take specific vitamins. The difference is it is prescription medication required a doctors note.

    The true controversy is about big pharma's inability to make bank on a decades old treatment of a "new" medical infliction.
    New is an easy (and magnitudes more profitable) sell. No tech beyond Pencil and paper needed.
  6. ph1l


    Apologies for posting a copy of an old article about a study whose results were published yesterday.;)
  7. wrbtrader


    I'm sorry...I'm not focusing on HCQ but I did make a one comment about HCQ. Also, not sure why I need to embrace Zinc considering I get large amounts of it with other minerals in my normal nutrition nor am I sad.

    You being sarcastic, not happy today, have me mixed up with someone else or just a jerk ?

    Also, my comments about the WH physicians was something already repeated by a former WH physician.

    Last of all, before you say anything about Vitamin D (in reference to you mentioning Zinc)...I get plenty of that too (I eat a lot of fish). Also, get it when I work out outside and go hiking.

    Last edited: Jun 4, 2020
  8. Pekelo


    You are right, I should have read it. :)

    I was referring to this "study":

    That was one helluva bad study. So now after I read your post:

    At least this study used Zinc. No mention though how much they used and what kind, the recommended dosage is pretty high in the protocol.

    So it is possible the treatment didn't make much difference because most were asymptomatic.

    Trump started to take those right away after exposure. Could make some difference.

    All in all I welcome that they tried to use Zinc too, but looks like they didn't use various age groups and they should have started as soon as contact was made with a COVID patient.

    Again, the type and quantity of Zinc are very important.
  9. Pekelo


    The point in short:

    Studies without Zinc are useless. HCQ mostly works as an ionophore helping Zinc. The media usually doesn't pick up on it, but Trump did take Zinc too. Right now that is the best prevention/treatment combo what we have, yet they are hammering on him.

    I am kind of annoyed when people quote studies with negative outcomes when Zinc is not used. That is all.

    This was 3 weeks ago, so it should be public knowledge by now:


    "A group of 411 patients given zinc along with the malaria medicine hydroxychloroquine and the antibiotic azithromycin for five days were 44% less likely to die and 50% more likely to be discharged home than a comparison group of 521 patients who didn’t get the supplement. "
    Last edited: Jun 4, 2020
  10. destriero


    Can someone muzzle this Hawaiian idiot? Nothing against Hawaiians.
    #10     Jun 4, 2020
    Whynottrade likes this.