"Medicine Container and Medicine Tablet" by Yinan Chen / Public Domain

Chloroquine hype is derailing the search for coronavirus treatments

Apr 27, 2020

By Heidi Ledford

People with COVID-19 who arrive at the Salvador Zubirán National Institute of Medical Sciences and Nutrition in Mexico City to search for treatment can choose from a menu of clinical trials, carefully presented by a worker trained to offer an unbiased portrait of the potential risks and benefits.

But neurologist Sergio Iván Valdés-Ferrer already knows which trial most will choose — and it’s not his. Instead, many people opt for one involving hydroxychloroquine, a malaria drug that has been touted by US President Donald Trump and other influential figures as an effective coronavirus treatment. High demand for the drug in Mexico has quickly depleted the country’s supply. Its use is now limited to hospitals, and patients are eager to ensure that they receive it.

“There’s a tremendous bias,” says Valdés-Ferrer, who is studying the effects of a dementia drug on COVID-19. “Studies of any other drug that are enrolling all ages and degrees of severity are in big trouble.”

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One comment on “Chloroquine hype is derailing the search for coronavirus treatments”

  • It’s ironic that Trump pushing HCQ without evidence is the very fact that is preventing a proper investigation of its efficacy. This man should be held to account for his insane ramblings that have cost lives. It’s interesting to note that his latest brainwave of injecting disinfectant has finally forced his handlers to rein him in. Before you try to excuse him by saying it was sarcasm be assured it wasn’t. I watched him spout this nonsense live during the press briefing- he was deadly serious.
    It’s also interesting that properly conducted trials have shown no sign of efficacy – and increased mortality of patients taking HCQ.

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