Amidst this ongoing pandemic that has affected nearly the whole world, the scientist is trying to find a cure with existing medications that were and still are used to treat different diseases. The research and trial phases are going on for the different subjects of vaccines around the world, but yet, there is still no approved vaccine. Recently, Russia announced that it was successful in creating a vaccine. Still, health officials met with skepticism since it has not undergone phase 3 trials, which involves testing on thousands on subjects, and it takes months to approve a vaccine. Elsewhere, scientists in China and other countries used hydroxychloroquine (HDQ) to find a cure Covid -19.
HDQ is primarily used to treat malaria caused by mosquito bites. This medication is also used to treat lupus, which is an inflammatory condition on the skin, and it is also used for arthritis. It reduces skin problems in lupus and reduces swelling in arthritis. It decreases the activity of the immune system, which can help in treating lupus and arthritis. It has several side effects like nausea, headache, dizziness, loss of appetite, and vomiting. It is advised to call a doctor if someone experiences side effects of loss in vision, bleeding, irregular heartbeats, and convulsions. While HDQ is primarily used to treat malaria, scientists tested it on Covid patients because this medication has antiviral properties against SARs-cov-2. This virus causes Covid, as revealed by the vitro studies. Some studies have shown that it may reduce the duration of symptoms experienced by Covid patients, while some researchers report that there is no positive effect of the medication. A study run by the recovery trial run tested 11000 patients with HDQ across the UK. However, it was reported that no benefit was reported of using HDQ as a medication for Covid patients, and it was pulled from the trial.
Data of HDQ regarding covid-19 is limited, and there were several trials conducted regarding HDQ and its effectiveness for covid-19. On March 16 2020, around 100 patients were treated with HDQ, but these patients had less severe disease and a shorter duration of illness. Another study in July was conducted in Michigan for around 2500 Covid patients. Researchers divided the subjects into four groups; one receiving HDQ, one receiving azithromycin, one receiving both, and the last group receiving none. The results showed that the HDQ group had the lowest death rate, while those who didn’t receive any medication had the highest death rate. These were a few results, but there were numerous negative studies relating to HDQ. The patients who received HDQ and those who didn’t, they both recovered, which concluded that there was no significance of HDQ in treating Covid patients. On June 5, a study in the UK showed that 1542 patients were randomly assigned to HDQ while 3132 received the usual care. After 28 days, the death toll for patients receiving HDQ was 26% compared to 24% who didn’t get any medication. It can be inferred that there was no major difference between the two groups. The clinical studies show that HDQ is not effective in improving the conditions of Covid patients. It is generally considered safe to use HDQ for what it is approved, but a doctor should be consulted if used for Covid since it can cause serious side effects. The researchers have stated that a minor benefit of HDQ may be that it is a weak drug and can stop the virus early. The person exposed can be given HDQ because it can be prevented before the infection becomes incurable. However, the FDA stated that HDQ is no longer effective in curing Covid. NIH and WHO have also stopped clinical trials after it is confirmed that the medication is of no beneficial use.