Brazil study finds no hydroxychloroquine benefit for COVID-19

  • Friday 24, July 2020 08:00 AM
  • Brazil study finds no hydroxychloroquine benefit for COVID-19
Sharjah24 – AFP: A study published Thursday on the use of hydroxychloroquine in Brazil to treat COVID-19 found the drug ineffective, the latest blow to President Jair Bolsonaro's push for its widespread use.
The clinical trial, conducted at 55 hospitals across Brazil and published in the New England Journal of Medicine, tested whether hydroxychloroquine improved the condition of patients with mild to moderate cases of COVID-19, alone or in combination with the antibiotic azithromycin.

However, a slate of randomized controlled trials (RCTs), considered the gold standard for clinical investigation, have found the drug is ineffective against coronavirus and has potentially damaging side effects.

The Brazilian RCT reached the same conclusion.

Brazil has essentially become the world's biggest testing ground for the drugs because of the Bolsonaro government's policy.

"Among patients hospitalized with mild-to-moderate COVID-19, the use of hydroxychloroquine, alone or with azithromycin, did not improve clinical status at 15 days as compared with standard care," said the study, by doctors and researchers from a group called Coalition COVID-19 Brazil.

The group's members comprise two research institutes and six hospitals, including Albert Einstein Hospital in Sao Paulo, considered one of the best in Latin America.

The study, carried out on 667 patients, also found those on hydroxychloroquine developed clinical markers that increased their risk for heart and liver problems.

The authors acknowledged however that the study had several limitations, including that it was not "blind" -- patients and their doctors knew whether they were in the control group or not.