Hydroxychloroquine no better than placebo, study finds

Video credit: Reuters - Politics
Published on June 4, 2020 - Duration: 01:56s

Hydroxychloroquine no better than placebo, study finds

The malaria drug promoted by U.S. President Donald Trump as a treatment for COVID-19 was ineffective in preventing infection in people exposed to the coronavirus, according to a widely anticipated clinical trial released on Wednesday.

Libby Hogan reports.

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Hydroxychloroquine no better than placebo, study finds

The first major study of hydroxychloroquine as a treatment for COVID-19 found it did not protect against the infection.

The malaria drug has not only been touted by Trump as a solution to treat COVID-19, but also one he said he took himself.

University of Minnesota researchers tested over 800 people who had recently been exposed to the virus or lived in high-risk households and were given hydroxychloroquine.

The high-profile study found nearly 12 percent of subjects given the malaria drug developed symptoms compatible with COVID-19 compared with 14 percent who got a placebo.

The results showed the drug were not only ineffective at preventing the coronavirus and it was in fact no better than a placebo.

The trial's lead researcher, Dr David Boulware, said, "our data is pretty clear that for post exposure, this does not really work." The trial also found there were no serious side effects or heart problems from using the drug, despite the U.S. Food and Drug Administration cautioning in late April against the use of hydroxychloroquine in patients with heart disease.

Some European governments have already banned hydroxychloroquine for COVID-19 patients, and U.S. hospitals have significantly cut back its use.

Vocal support from Trump kicked off a heated debate and raised expectations for the decades-old drug.

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That could be a cheap and widely available tool in fighting the pandemic that has infected more than 6 million people worldwide.

In the background, the World Health Organization (WHO) is also continuing its own trial of hydroxychloroquine for potential use against the new coronavirus

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