A clinical trial conducted in February by doctors from Wuhan (China) confirmed the statements of the Marseille infectious disease specialist. In addition, the researchers confirm the interest of using chloroquine as soon as possible and not in serious cases.
As everyone knows, treatment with chloroquine is at the heart of a major controversy. Pr Raoult's statements leave no one indifferent since some support him and others decry him. In this special context, a study conducted by researchers from Renmin Hospital in Wuhan (China) was launched on the MedRXiv prepublication platform on March 31, 2020. However, it is a clinical trial proving Professor Raoult right.
The study in question took place from February 4 to 28, 2020 in a total of 62 patients affected by Covid-19. The researchers formed two similar groups of 31 patients (mean age 45, same male/female distribution). Patients in the first group received treatment with hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) at 200mg twice daily and for five days. Patients in the second group received standard treatment regarding symptoms (fever, cough) and the risk of bacterial superinfection.
By day 5, researchers observed a reduction in symptoms in 80.6% of patients of the HCQ group. This is a much faster improvement than for patients in the control group (54.8%). It should also be noted that patients in serious condition did not participate in the study. Indeed, Professor Raoult has always stressed that administering this treatment to serious cases was very ineffective.
Since the study is only present on a pre-publication platform, it has therefore not yet been approved by other researchers. In other words, the study must be the subject of a certain caution since at the present time, nothing is certain. In addition, the results of the European Discovery trial that included chloroquine treatment are expected in a few weeks.
Shortly after the publication of the study, Professor Raoult reacted in a video from the IHU Méditerranée Infection in Marseille:
“The study shows that in our target group, who are moderately ill people, diagnosed at the beginning, hydroxychloroquine has significant success. Be careful, when it's too late, it's too late. That is to say when people are in intensive care, when they have respiratory distress syndromes, when we have to intubate them, in reality it is no longer the time for antivirals.
We know that for the flu for example. Medicines that work for the flu, it works in the first two days of the flu. (…) It is at the beginning that we have to fight against viruses, once the lesions are done, they are somewhat irreversible, and we can no longer stop them. »