Hydroxychloroquine: 101 Clinical Trials! (updated)

(Disclaimer: I’m not a medical expert and not involved in medicine.)

Ever since President Trump stated he heard Hydroxychloroquine might be effective in treating COVID-19, and later that he was taking a course of the drug, I’m hearing a lot these days about how Hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) did, didn’t, might, or might not work, and how everyone from mediocre movie actors to biased news outlets to supposed “Fact Checking” sites is quick to provide their (nearly always negative) opinion on Trump’s use of the drug or the drug’s effectiveness.

And, I thought, “Wouldn’t it nice if someone in the medical community published a paper that summarized…

(a) what’s known right now,

(b) what testing is being done, and

(c) how effective is HCQ/CQ effective in fighting COVID-19?”

Well, a  quick literature search on Medline/PubMed (a great resource for researching medical papers…but, I digress!) located this paper:

“A systematic review on use of aminoquinolines for the therapeutic management of COVID-19: Efficacy, safety and clinical trials”
Authors: Vaishali M.Patila, Shipra Singhala, Neeraj Masandb
Received 21 April 2020, Accepted 7 May 2020, Available online 11 May 2020.

Link: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0024320520305233?

The paper shows how drugs used for other illnesses can be used to fight new ones, how aminoquinolines might attack the SARS-CoV-2 virus and, more importantly, states:

“Approximately 100 clinical trials are in recruiting or pending approval and are ongoing at single or multiples centers with satisfactory primary outcomes but final outcomes/results are pending.”

Even better, the paper lists every known Clinical Trial currently running or planned, with a number of them having a link to check progress their progress. Talk about handy!

So, if  you have any interest in whether aminoquinolines (of which HCQ is one) are effective against SARS-CoV-2 take a look at this paper and use it to check both the progress of research…and whether the media is being accurate or sensational when reporting on Hydroxychloroquine’s effects on COVID-19.

Added bonus! If you want to be informed of new publications involving the use of aminoquinolines  in treating COVID-19, I’ve put together a database research strategy that you can use on PubMed to find relevant research papers: Just click this link and then click the “Create Alert” link on PubMed.

Update: 2020-05-25: During the US Memorial Day Holiday, the World Health Organization announced they were suspending trials of Hydroxychloroquine, an focusing their “Solidarity Clinical Trials” efforts on only three drugs: Remdesivir, Lopinavir/Ritonavir (currently used to treat HIV), and Interferon beta-1a (currently used to treat Multiple Sclerosis).

Update II: 2020-05-27: Dr. Anthony Fauci, head of  the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) and President Trump’s advisor on the COVID-19 virus, stated that “the scientific data is really quite evident now about the lack of efficacy” of the drug hydroxychloroquine in treating COVID-19.

Here is the one question I would ask Dr. Fauci:

“To date, are there any published, independent, peer-reviewed, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, large scale, human clinical trials assessing the effectiveness of aminochloroquines, either alone or in combination with other drugs, as a prophylactic or treatment for the SARS-CoV-2 virus?”

I’m betting his honest answer would be “No.”

Update III:2020-06-05:If Dr. Anthony Fauci, health advisor to President Trump, used this “research paper” to conclude Hydroxychloroquine was not effective in treating COVID-19…

“Interpretation: [After review] We were unable to confirm a benefit of hydroxychloroquine or chloroquine, when used alone or with a macrolide, on [96,032] in-hospital outcomes for COVID-19. Each of these drug regimens was associated with decreased in-hospital survival and an increased frequency of ventricular arrhythmias when used for treatment of COVID-19.”

Source: Mandeep R Mehra, Sapan S Desai, Frank Ruschitzka, Amit N Patel “Hydroxychloroquine or chloroquine with or without a macrolide for treatment of COVID-19: a multinational registry analysis” , The Lancet, May 22, 2020
doi: 10.1016/S0140-6736(20)31180-6

...then he’s in for a surprise: The paper, and its’ conclusion, was deemed “Fake” and RETRACTED by The Lancet: Click here to read why.

Thanks for Reading! (and, stay healthy!)

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