Hydroxychloroquine does NOT treat Covid-19: Biggest study into the Donald Trump-backed anti-malaria drug is ended with ‘immediate effect’ after researchers found it made no difference
- Oxford University scientists pulled the drug from the RECOVERY trial today
- Results showed it had no benefit on NHS patients hospitalised with the virus
- Scientists running the trial has urged doctors around the world to stop using it
- Here’s how to help people impacted by Covid-19
Hydroxychloroquine does not treat coronavirus, a major British trial of the Donald Trump-touted anti-malarial has found.
Oxford University scientists pulled the drug from the RECOVERY trial today after results showed it had no benefit on patients hospitalised with the virus.
The study found a quarter of NHS patients given hydroxychloroquine died from coronavirus compared to 23.5 per cent who were not prescribed the drug.
The scientist running the Recovery trial – the biggest of its kind in the world – said the results were ‘pretty compelling, this is not a treatment that works.’
Martin Landray, professor of epidemiology at Oxford, added: ‘If you’re admitted to hospital with Covid – you, your mother or anyone else – hydroxychloroquine is not the right treatment. It doesn’t work.’
Professor Landray announced the drug was being dropped from Recovery – the world’s biggest coronavirus trial of promising drugs – at a press conference today.
He called for doctors around the world to stop using the drug, which can cause a slew of nasty side effects including heart arrhythmias, headaches and vomiting.
Hydroxychloroquine does not treat coronavirus, the largest study into the drug has found
A total of 1,542 patients were randomly given hydroxychloroquine and compared with 3,132 patients randomised to receive standard care.
It is the largest randomised trial into the drug and its results could have a knock-on effect around the globe.
Oxford University’s Professor Peter Horby, who is also heading the trial, said he phoned the World Health Organization (WHO) this morning to share the results.
He has advised the global health body to drop the drug from its SOLIDARITY trial and focus efforts on other promising medicines.
Professor Martin Landray, deputy chief investigator of the Recovery trial, said there’s unlikely to be one single pre-existing drug that can treat coronavirus on its own
President Trump was among the first to wax lyrical about the possible benefits of hydroxychloroquine for coronavirus patients in March.
Early lab studies in petri dishes showed the drug could fend off coronavirus and prevent it from replicating.
Tens of thousands of coronavirus patients – if not more – are thought to be taking the drug worldwide.
It is being regularly used in China and India and has been approved for emergency use in severely ill patients in the US.
Professor Landray said: ‘We have concluded that there is no beneficial effect of hydroxychloroquine in patients hospitalised with COVID-19.
‘We have therefore decided to stop enrolling participants to the hydroxychloroquine arm of the RECOVERY trial with immediate effect.
‘We are now releasing the preliminary results as they have important implications for patient care and public health.
‘A total of 1,542 patients were randomised to hydroxychloroquine and compared with 3,132 patients randomised to usual care alone.
‘There was no significant difference in the primary endpoint of 28-day mortality (25.7 per cent hydroxychloroquine vs. 23.5 per cent usual care).
‘There was also no evidence of beneficial effects on hospital stay duration or other outcomes.
‘These data convincingly rule out any meaningful mortality benefit of hydroxychloroquine in patients hospitalised with COVID-19.’
Professor Horby said: ‘Hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine have received a lot of attention and have been used very widely to treat Covid patients despite the absence of any good evidence.
‘The RECOVERY trial has shown that hydroxychloroquine is not an effective treatment in patients hospitalised with COVID-19.
‘Although it is disappointing that this treatment has been shown to be ineffective, it does allow us to focus care and research on more promising drugs.’