.Clinical Trial released on Wednesday shows, the antimalarial drug so widely promoted by President Donald Trump is proven ineffective in treating coronavirus infection in humans.
The trial found no benefit in using the antimalarial drug for coronavirus. It also found no resulting heart problems or any lethal side effects from the use of hydroxychloroquine.
Trump’s vocal support for the drug had started a long passionate debate, raising expectations everywhere for the drug that has been around for decades. The drug is cheap and available, represented hope for fighting off the global pandemic. With 6.4 million people infected and 382,000 killed globally, the drug was thought to be the answer.
University of Minnesota researchers released the first key study when they tested 821 people. The subjects recently exposed to the virus, living in high-risk households found hydroxychloroquine to act as a placebo when used against coronavirus.
Giving 11.8% of the subjects’ hydroxychloroquine they found them to develop symptoms comparable to COVID-19. In comparison 14.3 of whom received, a placebo showed that there was no significant statistical difference between the two. According to the study, this makes the drug no different than a placebo.
According to Dr. David Boulware, the trial’s lead researcher and an infectious disease physician at the University of Minnesota, the data is very clear.
After warnings were issued by health regulators and older studies. Most trials of the antimalarial drug for coronavirus were stopped in consequence. Concerns regarding the safety of the patients were raised and such trials did not continue.
According to Boulware, this drug neither works nor is dangerous as too opposing sides contest. The results were published also in the New England Journal of Medicine.
Donald Trump in March had said hydroxychloroquine used with the antibiotic azithromycin was a real chance against coronavirus. He backed his claim with little to no evidence. After two people in the White House contracted coronavirus, he said he took the two drugs as a preventative measure against the coronavirus.
In laboratory experiments that used the antimalarial drug for coronavirus, I knew the drug to have antiviral and anti-inflammatory properties. When used in experiments it was seen to inhibit the virus. These sorts of human drug trials are required to specifically demonstrate whether the drug benefits can outweigh the real risks in comparison to a placebo.
To be effective, the supporters of the antimalarial drug for coronavirus treatment argue it might need to be taken in the early stages of illness. In other suggestions, it is said that this needs to be combined with the taking of mineral zinc. This is said to boost immune systems.
In the trial, over 20% of the subjects were administered mineral zinc. This was found to have no significant effects on the subjects.
In late April, The U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued warnings against the use of hydroxychloroquine in heart disease patients. They said it offered an increased chance of lethal cardiac rhythm issues.
After the FDA’s warning, this trial received fewer participants at the beginning. This was not expected, says Boulware.
According to the British medical journal the Lancet, data behind the persuasive article that reported hydroxychloroquine to offer an increased risk of death to coronavirus patients had the journal concerned. The conclusion stopped scientific speculation around the medicine.
An open letter was issued from doctors. This asked attention to be given to the potential issues with the published study, Boulware is among the signatories.
The antimalarial drug for coronavirus patients is under a ban in a few European governments. US hospitals have also consequently stopped using it.
While the placebo group reported 17% of people with serious side effects like abdominal discomfort and nausea, the University of Minnesota trials showed 40& people with side effects against the drug.
Another placebo trial from the University of Minnesota is expected to provide results for hydroxychloroquine as a treatment for coronavirus, soon.