Hydroxychloroquine does NOT prevent people from catching COVID-19, a new study finds.
(Picture from nydailynews.com )
The study, published Wednesday, June 3, in the New England Journal of Medicine, found that taking the antimalarial drug: hydroxychloroquine, did not prevent people from contracting COVID-19 after being exposed to the disease.
According to The Washington Post, this study was the first to examine the drug as a way to prevent COVID-19, rather than to treat those already ill.
The post reports on Donald Trump having drawn attention to hydroxychloroquine after stating it was a "game-changer" and stating that he had been taking it to protect himself against COVID-19 infection, despite the lack of evidence to support the successful use of the drug for this purpose.
The new study, from researchers at the University of Minnesota, refers to 821 people who were exposed to COVID-19 through work or living with a person who had tested positive for the disease. Each participant was randomly assigned to receive hydroxychloroquine or a placebo within 4 days of being exposed. Because neither the patients or doctors knew which group they were assigned to, the study is referred to as "double-blind".
After two weeks, about 12% of the participants in the hydroxychloroquine group had developed symptoms of the COVID-19 virus, compared to the 14% of participants in the placebo group. This difference was too insignificant to be meaningful, statistically.
The study also reports that 40% of the people in the hydroxychloroquine group experienced side effects, compared to 16% in the placebo group.
Additionally, a similar study was reported from the U.K. that, according to Oxford epidemiologist Martin Landray, concludes that "hydroxychloroquine does not reduce the risk of death among hospitalized patients with this new disease."
In this second study, a total of 1,542 received hydroxychloroquine, and 3,132 received usual care. Following 28 days of treatment, 25.7% of those from the hydroxychloroquine group and 23.5% from the group receiving usual care had died. According to which, would mean those who were on hydroxychloroquine, were 11% more likely to die. The results of which have been shared via a press release, but have not yet been peer-reviewed or published in a medical journal.