Hydroxychloroquine, a medicine for malaria that could be a “gift from heaven” in the fight against coronavirus according to Donald Trump, and discussed in many countries, is no more effective than treatments already existing to fight against the symptoms of Covid-19, according to a Chinese study.
A report published in the Journal of the University of Zhejiang in China showed that patients who got the medicine did not fight the new coronavirus more often than those who did not get the drug.
The study involved 30 patients with Covid-19. Of the 15 patients given the malaria drug, 13 of the 15 patients tested negative for the coronavirus after seven days of treatment. Of the 15 patients who did not get hydroxychloroquine, 14 tested negative for the virus.
But the number of test results used is too small to be considered significant.
A recent French study, involving the same number of patients, showed that hydroxychloroquine, a chloroquine derivative (their molecules are close), was especially effective in combating Covid-19, especially when taken with the antibiotic azithromycin.
Chloroquine is an inexpensive antimalarial used for several decades and marketed in particular under the name of Nivaquine.
The World Health Organization calls for caution regarding chloroquine, due to the small number of patients who have used it.
Scientists are asking for more patience, and that additional studies using larger numbers of patients are needed to fully investigate the drug’s risks and benefits.