What’s going on:
- Professor Didier Raoult, who works for the infection hospital l’Institut Hospitalo-Universitaire (IHU) Méditerranée Infection in Marseille, published a new video in which he explained that the COVID-19 patients who were treated “with the drug chloroquine had seen a rapid and effective speeding up of their healing process, and a sharp decrease in the amount of time they remained contagious,” according to The Connexion, an English site for French news.
- Chloroquine has previously been used to prevent and treat malaria.
- The drug was offered to 24 patients, who were among the first 24 to become infected in France’s southeastern region.
- Patients were given the drug for 10 days. Researchers monitored the patients since the drug can cause severe side effects.
- Raoult said those who did not receive the drug were still contagious after six days. Those who tried the drug were only 25% contagious, though.
Not so fast
- Janet Diaz, the head of clinical care for WHO’s emergency program, issued a statement in February about whether this drug could cure patients, saying it needs more trials.
At this moment in time there is no proven effective treatment for COVID-19 so that is clear at this moment in time. However there are ongoing clinical trials being done in China at this moment as well. The two that we’ve already discussed are testing the priority therapeutics that were prioritized by the WHO R&D blueprints and that includes lopinavir and ritonavir as well as remdesivir. For chloroquine there is no proof that that is an effective treatment at this time. We recommend that therapeutics be tested under ethically approved clinical trials to show efficacy and safety.