Overview of COVID-19
Amidst this ongoing pandemic, scientists are trying to find a cure with existing medications that treat different diseases. The research and trial phases are going on for the different vaccines around the world, but there is still no approved vaccine. Recently, Russia announced that it was successful in creating a vaccine. Yet, health officials met with skepticism since it has not undergone phase 3 trials. Phase 3 trials involve testing thousands of subjects, and it takes months to approve a vaccine. Elsewhere, scientists in China and other countries used hydroxychloroquine (HDQ) to find a cure for Covid -19.
What is Hydroxychloroquine (HDQ)?
HDQ primarily treats malaria, which occurs because of mosquito bites. This medication also treats lupus, which is an inflammatory condition on the skin, and even arthritis. It reduces skin problems in lupus and swelling in arthritis. Moreover, it decreases the immune system’s activity, which can help treat lupus and arthritis. It has several side effects like nausea, headache, dizziness, loss of appetite, and vomiting. If someone experiences side effects of loss in vision, bleeding, irregular heartbeats, and convulsions, he should call a doctor. While HDQ primarily treats malaria, scientists test it on COVID-19 patients because this medication has antiviral properties against SARs-cov-2.
Studies of HDQ for COVID-19
SARs-cov-2 causes COVID-19, and vitro studies support this claim. Some studies show that it may reduce the duration of symptoms that COVID-19 patients experience, while some researchers say that there is no positive effect of the medication. The recovery trial run tested 11000 patients with HDQ across the UK for a study. However, reports say there is no benefit to using HDQ as a medication for Covid patients. Therefore, there was no further use of conducting trials for COVID-19.
HDQ Study: Michigan
There is limited data of HDQ regarding covid-19, and there were several trials conducted regarding HDQ and its effectiveness for covid-19. On March 16, 2020, around 100 patients were treated with HCQ. However, these patients had less severe disease and a shorter duration of illness. Moreover, there was another trial study conducted in July in Michigan for around 2500 Covid patients. Researchers divided the subjects into four groups; HDQ, one group 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 were receiving HDQ and those who didn’t, they both recovered. Therefore, this means that there was no significance of HDQ in treating COVID-19 patients.
HDQ Study: UK
Furthermore, On June 5, a further study was conducted in the UK. The trial reports that 1542 patients were randomly receiving HDQ while 3132 were receiving the usual care. After 28 days, the death toll for patients receiving HDQ was 26% compared to 24% who didn’t get any medication. Therefore, there was no major difference between the two groups. Also, clinical studies show that HDQ is not effective in improving the conditions of COVID-19 patients. Doctors generally consider HDQ safe to use for the diseases HDQ has approval. However, it is important to consult a doctor to use it for COVID-19 since it can cause serious side effects.
The researchers’ highlight that a minor benefit of HDQ may be that it is a weak drug and can stop the virus early. As a result, the person who gets exposure to COVID-19 can use HDQ for prophylaxis because it can prevent the virus before it becomes incurable. However, the FDA stated that HDQ is no longer effective in curing Covid. NIH and WHO have also stopped all clinical trials after the reports that the medication is of no beneficial use.