President Donald Trump claimed to take the malaria drug, hydroxychloroquine, at the beginning of the pandemic to prevent himself from getting covid-19. However, with little evidence of its effectiveness in treating covid-19, this claim was met with obvious skeptisim,
Scientist since then have gone back and forth over whether hydroxychloroquine can actually provide any benefit during this pandemic.
Now, researchers at the University of Pennsylvania found that hydroxychloroquine offers no protection.
On Tuesday they reported that around 6.3 per cent of hospital workers who took the drug regularly caught Covid-19, compared to 6.6 per cent of people who didn’t.
The effect, they said, was ‘negligible’ and although a slightly higher proportion of people without the drug became sick, it was not a big enough difference to suggest hydroxychloroquine worked.
On the other side of the world however, Dr Marc Pelligrini, co-lead of the COVID SHIELD trial in Melbourne, Australia told The Australian were holding out hope for the drug claiming;
‘If the drug did have a role in preventing people from getting COVID-19, it has to be even before they were exposed to SARS-CoV-2.’
Whether or not the medicine could help treat people who already had Covid-19 was not studied, but US regulators revoked emergency approval for the drug to treat coronavirus, and trials of it as a therapeutic have been dropped by the NIH and WHO.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued a warning against taking the drug because it could trigger heart problems.
In Britain, trials of the drug on coronavirus patients had to be halted because of concerns about its safety, but the University of Oxford is currently researching to see whether hydroxychloroquine can prevent Covid-19.
The final answer, as is the case with many scientific studies, won’t be a resounding one but the majority of current research suggest that hydroxychloroquine does not prevent people from catching covid-19.