An anti-malaria drug repeatedly touted by President Donald Trump as a “game-changer” in the coronavirus pandemic didn’t work on patients recently treated by the Department of Veterans Affairs.
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There were more deaths among those patients who were given the drug, hydroxychloroquine, than patients who received standard care, researchers found.
Hydroxychloroquine had no effect on whether patients needed a ventilator, researchers found.
“In this study, we found no evidence that use of hydroxychloroquine, either with or without azithromycin, reduced the risk of mechanical ventilation in patients hospitalized with COVID-19,” the researchers wrote. “An association of increased overall mortality was identified in patients treated with hydroxychloroquine alone.”
The information they collected represents the largest data set in the world regarding coronavirus patients who’ve been treated with hydroxychloroquine. The drug is used for rheumatoid arthritis and lupus but is an unproven treatment for the coronavirus.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the top infectious disease doctor in the United States, said on Fox News this month it would be a “majestic leap” to consider hydroxychloroquine a miracle cure.
The public spotlight on the drug has led to its “soaring” use to fight the coronavirus and stockpiling by the U.S. and other countries, the researchers said.