A study in the hospitals of Brazil found hydroxychloroquine is effective in COVID-19 treatment, and it might show adverse effects on people.
In a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, clinical trials on people were done in 55 hospitals across Brazil. The purpose was to determine the effectiveness of hydroxychloroquine (alone or with antibiotic azithromycin) in the treatment of COVID-19 patients in mild condition.
The government of Brazil, President Jair Bolsonaro, advised the public health care systems to prescribe hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin drugs to the people at the onset of symptoms of coronavirus. President of the United States, Donald Trump, had also advised the use of hydroxychloroquine for coronavirus patients.
However, the randomized controlled trials investigated the drug and found that it does not work for COVID-19 and has potentially damaging side effects. The researchers and doctors from the Coalition COVID-19 Brazil group study said,
“Among patients hospitalized with mild to moderate COVID-19, the use of hydroxychloroquine, alone or with azithromycin, did not improve clinical status at 15 days compared with standard care.”
The study was done in collaboration with six hospitals and two research institutes, including the Latin America hospital, Albert Einstein, in Sao Paulo. The clinical trials were done on 667 patients, and the use of hydroxychloroquine increased the risk of liver and heart problems (irregular heart rhythms), with no positive effect on coronavirus treatment.
However, the authors acknowledged there are limitations in the study and assured that patients were aware of the research, and it was not a ‘blind’ procedure. They said,
“The trials cannot definitively rule out either a substantial benefit of the trial drugs or a substantial harm”
Currently, Brazil has recorded the second-highest number of coronavirus infections (2.3 million) and deaths (84,000) due to the pandemic.