Clinical Trial Raises Hopes That Malaria Drug Could Be Coronavirus Cure
The results of a clinical trial in France and studies conducted in lab settings are building hope that a drug usually used to treat malaria and arthritis can treat and possibly cure coronavirus patients, though scientists say more data is needed before drawing a firm conclusion.
“It has a lot of potential, though we’re not going on a lot of data yet,” Dr. Peter Hotez, the dean for the National School of Tropical Medicine at the Baylor School of Medicine, said of early studies of hydroxycholoroquine, a malaria drug developed in the 1940s.
President Donald Trump asked the White House’s coronavirus task force about possibly using the drug, task force coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx said Wednesday.
Birx said that the drug is being studied “very carefully,” as are several other potential therapeutics.
On Tuesday, a team of French scientists released the first results of a clinical study of the use of hydroxychloroquine on 24 coronavirus patients from southeast France.
The research team, led by Didier Raoult, a renowned infectious disease expert from l’Institut Hospitalo-Universitaire in Marseille, administered the drug for 10 days along with azithromycin, a common antibiotic.
Researchers said the drugs cleared the virus in the nose and throat of most observed patients in three to six days. The study found that after six days of treatment, 70 percent of patients administered hydroxychloroquine were clear of the virus, compared to just 12.5 percent of patients who were not given drugs. (RELATED: Fauci On Coronavirus In US: ‘It’s Going To Get Worse’)
Azithromycin boosted the effect of hydroxychloroquine, according to the study. After six days of treatment, all patients treated with the drug combination “were virologically cured,” compared to 57.1 percent of patients treated with hydroxycholorquine by itself.
“We therefore recommend that COVID-19 patients be treated with hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin to cure their infection and to limit the transmission of the virus to other people in order to curb the spread of COVID-19 in the world,” wrote researchers, who acknowledged the small sample size of the study.https://dailycaller.com/2020/03/18/hydroxychloroquine-coronavirus-covid19-cure-study/