A new study found that hydroxychloroquine can’t prevent COVID-19

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The FINANCIAL — A new study published in the JAMA Internal Medicine journal shows that hydroxychloroquine shows no benefit in COVID-19 prevention. 132 full-time health care workers took part in the research. Of the 64 participants who took the drug, researchers found that four ended up testing positive for COVID-19 — the same number of people who tested positive out of the 61 workers who didn’t take it. Despite this discovery, Australian scientists will continue testing to see if taking hydroxychloroquine can prevent coronavirus.

Hydroxychloroquine, the drug President Trump said he was taking to ward off the novel coronavirus, does not reduce transmission of the contagious disease it causes, new research showed Wednesday. A study published in the JAMA Internal Medicine journal found the controversial anti-malarial drug hyped by the president earlier during the pandemic to be ineffective at preventing COVID-19. “There was no significant difference in infection rates in participants randomized to receive hydroxychloroquine compared with placebo,” the researchers who conducted the study concluded. Mr. Trump promoted hydroxychloroquine as a treatment for COVID-19 early on during the continuing novel coronavirus pandemic despite scientists being unsure of the drug’s actual efficiency if any. The president later announced in May he was taking hydroxychloroquine as a preventative measure against COVID-19 in light of hearing anecdotes about people who sang the drug’s praises, according to The Washington Times.

In an examination of 132 full-time health care workers exposed to the virus between April 9 and July 13, researchers found that participants taking hydroxychloroquine fared no better than ones who were given a placebo. During the study, which took place at two undisclosed urban hospitals, roughly half of the participants were given 600 mg doses of hydroxychloroquine per day for eight weeks, while the others were given a placebo. Of the 64 participants who took the drug, researchers found that four ended up testing positive for COVID-19 — the same number of people who tested positive out of the 61 workers who didn’t take it. Of the eight participants who contracted the virus, six developed viral symptoms, none were hospitalized and all recovered from the illness, New York Post reported.

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Overall, the findings in the new research are similar to what was reported in another study in the New England Journal of Medicine back in June. That previous study found that hydroxychloroquine did not prevent illness when used within four days of being exposed to the coronavirus that causes Covid-19. In June, Dr. David Boulware, an author of that previous study, told CNN that the President’s physician sent him an email on May 9, seeking his opinion about taking the drug preventatively and asking about the results of the study and the dose the study subjects were taking. Boulware said he advised Trump’s physician that there was no published research showing hydroxychloroquine worked preventatively and shared that the people in his study who took hydroxychloroquine had higher rates of side effects, mostly gastrointestinal problems such as nausea and vomiting.

However, Australian scientists have vowed to continue investigating whether taking hydroxychloroquine can stop people from becoming infected with the coronavirus. Researchers from the Walter & Eliza Hall Institute in Melbourne believe the drug could prevent people from catching SARS-CoV-2 – the virus that causes COVID-19. Hundreds of health workers in NSW and Victoria have been given the drug in the Institute’s COVID SHIELD trial in an effort to try and determine its effectiveness as a prophylactic, Daily Mail wrote.

Talking about the studies it is interesting to note that a new preliminary study by South Korea shows that 90% of COVID-19 recovered patients reported side-effects. There are 5,762 recovered patients in South Korea and 16.7% of them participated in the survey. 879 people said that they were suffering at least one side-effect from coronavirus disease. The study comes as health officials are raising concerns about the long-term side effects of the virus as there are almost 34 000 000 coronavirus cases in the world and more than 25 000 000 recovered patients.

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Also, it’s noteworthy that a retrospective study published in JAMA Network Open finds that people with untreated vitamin D deficiency, measured as less than 20 nanograms per milliliter, may be almost twice as likely to contract coronavirus compared to people who get sufficient doses of the sunshine vitamin. The study, out of UChicago Medicine, looked at 489 patients whose vitamin D levels were measured within the year before being tested for novel coronavirus. Those patients with levels categorized as deficient were found to be more likely to have a positive COVID-19 test result. Read more

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