An global trial using hydroxychloroquine to treat Covid-19 is being restarted after questions arose about a study linking the drug to increased deaths, and the little-known company behind the data. "Even with ideal data and thorough, reproducible analyses, these kinds of observational studies are a wholly inadequate method for making important decisions about the benefits and harms of possible treatments for COVID-19".
However, a day after its publication over 50 clinicians from across the world raised questions about the trial method and authenticity of the data that the researchers used to conclude about the dangers of the drug. For all such studies we are left with the conclusion, "We need evidence from well-conducted randomized controlled trials", said Martin Landray, a professor of medicine and epidemiology at the University of Oxford.
But the study "takes "home run" off the table" as far as hopes for the drug, he said.
The greatest concern in using the drug is the laundry list of possible side effects, with particular focus on the possibility of heart failure, mild or severe bronchospasm or suicidal thoughts.
Clinical trial results for hydroxychloroquine to prevent COVID-19 have been released in the New England Journal of Medicine Wednesday, showing it fails to prevent the virus effectively. The agency cited a study published in the Lancet medical journal.
Scientists, including those from the McGill University in Canada, assessed whether the drug hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) can prevent symptomatic infection after exposure to the novel coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2, is unknown. He asked: Should other trials continue unchanged?
"We saw no cogent reason to suspend recruitment for safety reasons", said Peter Sandercock, chairman of the Recovery Trial.
According to the study, side effects were more common with HCQ than with placebo, but no serious adverse reactions were reported by the participants.
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The finding are also in line with recently published data in the Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases that showed no effect one way or another of HCQ on risk of COVID-19 hospitalization among rheumatology patients taking the drug chronically.
"The executive group will communicate with the principal investigators in the trial about resuming the hydroxychloroquine arm of the trial".
"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.
The first major study of hydroxychloroquine as a treatment for COVID-19 found it did not protect against the infection.
The study's authors, led by Mandeep Mehra of the Brigham and Women's Hospital in the United States, looked at data from hundreds of hospitals between December and April and compared those who received either of the two drugs - with or without an antibiotic - with a control group.
The study is the first randomized clinical trial that tested the antimalarial drug, touted by President Donald Trump, as a preventive measure.
Also Read | 960 Foreigners Face 10-Year Ban From Entering India For Involvement in Tablighi Jamaat Activities, Says Report: Live Breaking News Headlines & Coronavirus Updates, June 4, 2020. They also suggested taking the drug with the mineral zinc will help improve the immune system.