International Hydroxychloroquine ineffective at preventing COVID-19: trial

Hydroxychloroquine ineffective at preventing COVID-19: trial

The medicine has been touted by US President , who has said he used it as a prophylaxis against the novel coronavirus.

Author

Date

Category

- Advertisement -

Taking hydroxychloroquine shortly after being exposed to COVID-19 does not help prevent infection in a statistically meaningful way, scientists reported Wednesday following a clinical trial.

The medicine has been touted by US President Donald , who has said he used it as a prophylaxis against the novel coronavirus.

But an experiment involving 821 people across the United States and Canada showed it did not work significantly better than a placebo for this purpose.

The study was led by a team at the University of Minnesota, and their paper was published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

- Advertisement -

Researchers enrolled adults who had come into contact with someone who had a confirmed case of COVID-19 for more than 10 minutes at a distance of six feet (about two meters) or less.

The majority of them — 719 — were deemed to have had “high-risk” exposure because they wore neither a face mask nor an eye shield at the time, while the rest were “moderate-risk” because they covered their face but did not have goggles.

All participants were randomly assigned to receive either hydroxychloroquine — which is certified for use against malaria, rheumatoid arthritis and lupus — or a placebo, within four days.

The researchers then looked at how many patients went on to develop COVID-19 over the next two weeks, which was confirmed either by a laboratory test or by clinical signs.

They found that 49 of the 414 given the medicine got the disease caused by the coronavirus, compared to 58 of the 407 on the placebo.

This translates to 11.83 percent on the drug were infected, versus 14.25 percent on the placebo.

The absolute difference of about 2.4 percentage points in favor of the medicine was not considered statistically significant given the sample size, meaning it could have occurred because of chance.

Side effects were more common with hydroxychloroquine than with the placebo — 40.1 percent versus 16.8 percent — but no serious adverse reactions were reported.

“This randomized trial did not demonstrate a significant benefit of hydroxychloroquine as postexposure prophylaxis for COVID-19,” wrote the authors.

The results of the study were eagerly awaited because it was a randomized controlled trial (RCT), a carefully designed experiment that is considered the gold standard for investigating clinical outcomes.

Several previous studies on the drug that have made headlines were “observational,” meaning they looked back at what had already happened. As such, more variables are left to chance and it is generally harder to draw firm conclusions.

Nevertheless, Martin Landray, a professor of medicine and epidemiology at the University of Oxford, said more research was needed to know for sure whether hydroxychloroquine might have a moderately positive effect.

“The study is too small to be definitive,” said Landray, who was not involved in the trial.

The results “makes it very unlikely that there is a large effect (e.g. a halving in the risk of infection) but cannot rule out a more modest difference (e.g. a reduction of one-quarter or one-third) which would still be very valuable,” he added.

ia/sst

© 1994-2020 Agence France-Presse

/AFP

Please follow and like us:
Tweet
Share
- Advertisement -

K Shanmugam: In Singapore, the right to speak freely goes with the duty to act responsibly

Singapore—Speaking at the 16th Religious Rehabilitation Group Seminar at Khadijah Mosque on Monday (Nov 24), K Shanmugam, the Minister for Law and Home Affairs, said that the threat of terrorism has not gone away though its “shape and nature” have changed. Citing...

Parliament receives 61 NMP proposal forms from the general public, groups

The Office of the Clerk of Parliament said yesterday (24 Nov) that Parliament has received 61 Nominated Member of Parliament (NMP) proposal forms. This is higher than the 48, 41 and 36 proposal forms that Parliament received in 2018, 2016 and...

No state acknowledgement for former President Yusof Ishak on his 50th death anniversary

Although 23 November 2020 marked half a century since Singapore's first President Yusof Ishak passed away, there was no state acknowledgement to commemorate the former President's 50th death anniversary. Neither current President Halimah Yacob, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong nor any other...
Please follow and like us:
Tweet
Share
Follow Me
Tweet