It is amusing to watch professional conspiracy theorists touting the use of hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) for treating Covid-19 patients. They invite “scientists” who bemoan the fact that HCQ is being deliberately ignored by the globalists. The invitees are perfectly respectable people who have impeccable credentials but they are not into clinical medicine. Hence their declaration that the pandemic can be resolved by a few HCQ tablets is laughable.
Sadly a US company owned by an Indian doctor provided fraudulent data to the Lancet that suggested HCQ not only was not effective but actually harmful in patients with Covid-19. The discrepancies in the data did not go unnoticed and the paper had to be retracted by the authors. The first author unabashedly of the Lancet paper spoke to some journalists that he believed in the principles of Gandhiji ! This was of course before the cat got out out of the bag.
The conspiracy theorists have had a rollicking time pointing out the flaws and untruths of the Lancet paper. There is a constant “I told you so” being unleashed to the public. Even the mainstream media picked up the retraction. This was headlines news in most Indian newspapers as also American outlets.
But then all at once 2 “gold standard” randomised trials have come out with their numbers. One has already been published in the most prestigious journal , The are England Journal of Medicine. The researchers report no difference in prevention Covid-19 in 800 participants exposed to a confirmed case. Adverse effects such as loose motions and were significantly more common in the group given HCQ, but there were no deaths or arrhythmias. Only 2 participants had to be admitted in hospital.
The WHO must be in a dilemma as to what to do now. It had suspended the HCQ arm in its multi centre SOLIDARITY trial because of the Lancet paper. But resumed with HCQ soon after news of retraction of the paper.
Within days the Minnesota University randomised paper showing no evidence of efficacy got published. Now close on the heels of the NEJM paper we are informed by researchers in Oxford University that they are stopping the HCQ arm in the mammoth RECOVERY randomised trial. The British scientists have been urged by the regulatory committee to halt the HCQ trial as there has been no difference in clinical outcomes with HCQ as compared to placebo in patients admitted for Covid-19. RECOVERY assessed more than 1500 patients on HCQ with 3132 patients provided normal care.
The malaria pill did not help patients of Covid-19 admitted in hospital get better or survive more.
“These data convincingly rule out any meaningful mortality benefit of hydroxychloroquine in patients hospitalized with COVID-19,” said the researchers from Oxford. RECOVERY is a randomised trial. Mortality was 26% in the HCQ cohort as compared to 24% in the standard treatment group, after 28 days. The high mortality rate probably suggests that thesis patients were too far gone to have been helped by HCQ. But there is no escaping the fact that HCQ failed to deliver in this large randomised trial. Full results are still to be published.
Even hospital stay ws not reduced by HCQ. The researchers of RECOVERY are studying more than 11000 patients with Covid-19 who have been randomised to get 6 experimental treatments compared with usual care; the other arms of RECOVERY have lopinovir/ritonivir, azithromycin, a common steroid, convalescent plasma and an anti-inflammatory medicine called toclizumab. Results are awaited.
One has to to wait for the reaction of the WHO. Does it continue with its observational trial of HCQ ? Maybe it shall because of the fear of adverse trolling. And what about the more than 200 ongoing trials with HCQ. Do they modify or suspend their protocol ? HCQ is today known more than any other drug regarding treatment of Covid-19 treatment.
HCQ is touted as the “game changer” and the “magic drug.” The ICMR sans any shred of evidence touts it for post exposure prophylaxis. The directive is that all essential service personnel pop in the malaria pill, along with exposed people.
However Dr Martin Landray deputy chief investigator of the RECOVERY trial and professor of medicine and epidemiology told The Guardian “If you are admitted to hospital, don’t take hydroxychloroquine.”
“It doesn’t work,” he added.
There definitely will be scrutiny of the bank accounts of the Oxford researchers by you know who. They must be scrambling right now.