Expert immunologist Dr. Anthony Fauci (who is part of President Donald Trump’s coronavirus task force) and Peter Navarro (one of Trump’s top economic advisers) recently had a heated argument in the White House Situation Room over the benefits of hydroxychloroquine. Trump and Navarro have been aggressively touting that anti-malaria drug as a possible treatment for coronavirus, while Fauci is much more skeptical and has stressed that a lot more research needs to be conducted. And a new study by French doctors and scientists shows why Fauci remains skeptical: according to the study, hydroxychloroquine might have no benefits at all where COVID-19 is concerned.
The South China Morning Post’s Stephen Chen reports that the French scientists’ research “compared more than 180 patients — some receiving hydroxychloroquine treatment and others who were not treated with the drug — and found their outcomes were almost identical.” The study, according to Chen, was conducted by “doctors and scientists from 12 hospitals and public research institutes across France” and was the “most comprehensive” so far on the possible benefits of hydroxychloroquine as an anti-coronavirus treatment.
The website MedRxiv.org quotes the researchers as saying of the study, “These results do not support the use of hydroxychloroquine in patients hospitalized for documented Sars-CoV-2-positive hypoxic pneumonia.”
The COVID-19 outbreak has turned out to be the deadliest pandemic the world has suffered since the Spanish flu outbreak of 1918. According to researchers at John Hopkins University in Baltimore, COVID-19 had killed more than 129,000 worldwide as of early Wednesday afternoon, April 15. That included at least 26,119 people in the United States (now the coronavirus epicenter), 21,067 in Italy, 18,579 in Spain and 15,729 in France. And because COVID-19 is a new disease, there is no vaccination against it. Health experts have been estimating that a COVID-19 vaccine is at least a year away.
Chen, in his South China Morning Post article, explains why the French study was more “comprehensive” than previous ones.
“They pulled the medical records from four hospitals in France of 181 patients of similar gender, age and health conditions,” Chen observes. “All the patients required oxygen because of lung infections caused by the virus.”
According to the authors of the French study, “In conclusion, we found that hydroxychloroquine did not significantly reduce admission to ICU or death at Day Seven after hospital admission, or acute respiratory distress syndrome in hospitalized patients with hypoxemic pneumonia due to COVID-19. These results are of major importance and do not support the use of hydroxychloroquine in patients hospitalized for a documented Sars-CoV-2 pneumonia.”
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