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Biggest Study to Date Says Virus Deaths Spiked With Use of Malaria Drugs

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Biggest Study to Date Says Virus Deaths Spiked With Use of Malaria Drugs

A chemist displays hydroxychloroquine tablets in Mumbai, India, on Tuesday. (AP Photo/Rafiq Maqbool) WASHINGTON (CN) — The largest study so far on using hydroxychloroquine to treat Covid-19 was published Friday in the Lancet: It found that patients showed no benefit and, worse, were more likely to die or develop an irregular heartbeat.

Funded by the William Harvey Distinguished Chair in Advanced Cardiovascular Medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, the study involved 81,144 patients in the control group and 14,888 people in a treatment group. Most of the treatment group received hydroxychloroquine, either alone or with an antibiotic. Just over a third were treated with the related antimalarial drug chloroquine, either by itself or with an antibiotic.

Counting 10,698 deaths total, the study determined that “mortality was higher in the treatment groups compared with the control population.”

All combination of protocols resulted in higher risk of death in the hospital or development of heart arrhythmia. Some 671 hospitals were included in the study, with data culled from six continents, covering patients who were hospitalized from mid-December to mid-April.

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“Although generally safe when used for approved indications such as autoimmune disease or malaria, the safety and benefit of these treatment regiments are poorly evaluated in Covid-19,” according to the study, whose lead author is Dr. Mandeep Mehra, a heart specialist.

President Donald Trump, one of the more visible proponents of hydroxychloroquine to treat Covid-19, has yet to tweet any response. Just days earlier, he claimed during a press conference at the White House that he was taking the drug for “a couple of weeks,” despite warnings from the Food and Drug Administration suggesting high […]

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