New Study Confirms 'Efficacy' of Chloroquine Against Coronavirus

The study, released online on Friday night but has not yet been published in any scientific journal, concerns 80 patients, 80% of whom had a "favorable course"

The controversial French doctor Didier Raoult published a new study on a chloroquine derivative that, according to him, confirms the 'efficacy' of this treatment against the new coronavirus, contrary to what is defended by numerous experts. The study, released online on Friday night but has not yet been published in any scientific journal, concerns 80 patients, 80% of whom had a 'favorable course'
New Study Confirms 'Efficacy' of Chloroquine Against Coronavirus

Paris.- The controversial French doctor Didier Raoult published a new study on a chloroquine derivative that, according to him, confirms the "efficacy" of this treatment against the new coronavirus, contrary to what is defended by numerous experts.

The study, released online Friday night but has not yet been published in any scientific journal, involves 80 patients, 80% of whom had a "favorable course." It follows a previous one made with about twenty patients, which generated criticism for the methodology used. 
"We confirmed the efficacy of hydroxychloroquine (derived from chloroquine, an antimalarial drug) associated with azithromycin (an antibiotic) in the treatment of Covid-19," said Raoult, an infectious disease specialist, and his team at the conclusion of the new study.
However, many scientists consider that it is impossible to draw such a conclusion based solely on that study, because of the way it was done.

Experts criticize that the study does not include any control group (or control group, that is, patients who are not given the studied treatment) and that, therefore, it is impossible to establish a comparison to determine whether the treatment is the causing improvement.

"No, it's not a huge thing, I'm scared," Professor François Balloux of University College London reacted on Twitter in response to an enthusiastic tweet that called the study's conclusions "huge".
This is an experiment without a control group "that follows 80 patients with fairly mild symptoms. Most of the patients recover from COVID-19 with or without hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin treatment," he added, in the same line in the other scientists expressed themselves on social networks.
The patients "did not actually show signs of severity when they were admitted. But our strategy is precisely to try at that stage to avoid progress towards criteria of severity," one of the signatories of the study, Philippe Gautret, a physician at the study said. Raoult's team at the Méditerranée Infection University Hospital in Marseille. 
For his part, Raoult claimed on Twitter the absence of a control group, explaining that his team proposes the protocol "to all patients who do not have contraindications."
"The doctor can and should reflect as a doctor and not as a methodologist," he defended himself in a tribune published in the Le Monde newspaper. 

World debate

The study involved 80 patients, half of them under the age of 53, who were followed for 6 to 10 days at the aforementioned hospital in Marseille. All received a treatment with hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin.
According to the study, 65 patients (81%) had "a favorable evolution" and left the hospital after five days, on average, while a 74-year-old patient was still in intensive care at the end of the study and another, 86-year-old, passed away.

The study states that the majority of patients recorded a "rapid decrease" in less than a week of their viral load.
But that too aroused misgivings among the most skeptical scientists.
Two Chinese studies recently showed that "10 days after the onset of symptoms, 90% of people with a moderate form (of the disease) have a controlled viral load," epidemiologist Dominique Costagliola, director of research at the National Institute of Health and Medical Research (Inserm, France).
That there are similar results with hydroxychloroquine "does not mean that hydroxychloroquine has a significant effect on viral load," he said.
"This new study will most likely only convince the convinced," said Heidi. 
French is at the center of a global debate on the use of chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine to combat the coronavirus.
Some doctors and some leaders called for the use of this drug to be generalized, which US President Donald Trump called a "godsend."
But a large part of the scientific community and healthcare organizations require rigorous prior scientific validation before administration, warning of the risk that patients may be at risk. 
A European-wide trial, called "Discovery", has been started on four treatments, including hydroxychloroquine.

While the results arrive, France authorized the administration of hydroxychloroquine in the hospital only and exclusively for severe cases.
French Health Minister Olivier Verán said he based his decision on the "recommendations of academic societies", seven of which indicated that the "clinical and biological data we have are very insufficient to take the risk of prescribing treatment" in other different conditions.
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