The anti-malaria drug hydroxychloroquine was effective in treating COVID-19 patients in China, according to early data from a small clinical trial.
The study in 62 diagnosed COVID-19 patients admitted to Wuhan University’s Renmin Hospital found that those receiving hydroxychloroquine treatment experienced significantly shorter recovery times for fever and cough.
The anti-malaria drug helped treat pneumonia in most patients — 25 of 32 — who received treatment and only two patients experienced mild adverse effects.
“Among patients with COVID-19, the use of hydroxychloroquine could significantly shorten time to clinical recovery and promote the absorption of pneumonia,” the researchers said, although they noted the limited trial data.
The FDA is considering off-label uses of hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine as it evaluates various drugs for their potential effectiveness in treating COVID-19. Chloroquine has already been approved by the agency for treatment of malaria, lupus and rheumatoid arthritis (DID, March 20). — James Miessler