On March 19, we published a story about a trial study conducted by French researchers which showed a combination of Hydroxychloroquine (plaquenil) and Azithromycin to be effective in the treatment of COVID-19 patients. The study, which was led by renowned Didier Raoult M.D/Ph.D, et. al in France, showed that 100% of patients that received a combination of the two anti-malaria drugs tested negative and were virologically cured within 6 days of treatment. The first preliminary trial involved a total of 36 COVID-19 patients. However, U.S. health agencies like FDA and CDA, are still very cautious about the effectiveness and safety of the two drugs due to small trial size and lack of sufficient data.
Today, Prof. Didier Raoult and his team published results of their new study. The study was supported by the Institut Hospitalo-Universitaire (IHU) Méditerranée Infection. Unlike the previous small study trial, the new observation study has a larger sample size of 80 COVID-19 patients. The objective of the study was to find an effective treatment to cure COVID-19 patients and to decrease the virus carriage duration.
In 80 in-patients receiving a combination of hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin, the team found a clinical improvement in all but one 86 year-old patient who died, and one 74-year old patient still in intensive care unit. The team also found that, by administering hydroxychloroquine combined with azithromycin, they were able to observe an improvement in all cases, except in one patient who arrived with an advanced form, who was over the age of 86, and in whom the evolution was irreversible, according to a new paper published today in IHU Méditerranée Infection.
“For all other patients in the cohort of 80 people, the combination of hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin resulted in a clinical improvement that appeared significant when compared to the natural evolution in patients with a definite outcome, as described in the literature. In a cohort of 191 Chinese inpatients, of whom 95% received antibiotics and 21% received an association of lopinavir and ritonavir, the median duration of fever was 12 days and that of cough 19 days in survivors, with a 28% case-fatality rate (18),” the team said.
The team went on to say: “Thus, in addition to its direct therapeutic role, this association can play a role in controlling the disease epidemic by limiting the duration of virus shedding, which can last for several weeks in the absence of specific treatment. In our Institute, which contains 75 individual rooms for treating highly contagious patients, we currently have a turnover rate of 1/3 which allows us to receive a large number of these contagious patients with early discharge. Chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine are extremely well-known drugs which have already been prescribed to billions of people.”
“In conclusion, we confirm the efficacy of hydroxychloroquine associated with azithromycin in the treatment of COVID-19 and its potential effectiveness in the early impairment of contagiousness. Given the urgent therapeutic need to manage this disease with effective and safe drugs and given the negligible cost of both hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin, we believe that other teams should urgently evaluate this therapeutic strategy both to avoid the spread of the disease and to treat patients before severe irreversible respiratory complications take hold,” the team concluded.
In a Twitter post, Prof. said: “New results from the IHU Méditerranée Infection: 80 patients treated with a hydroxychloroquine / azithromycin combination.”
💥 Hydroxychloroquine et Azithromycine est un traitement efficace du #Covid_19fr , Comme vous pouvez le constater, les résultats sont spectaculaires à J+6 avec une baisse très importante de la charge virale. Bravo Pr #Raoult #COVID19france #COVID19 #CoronavirusFrance #COVID19fr pic.twitter.com/IdVjoCR9Xq
— L'infirmier 💎 (@Infirmier0) March 27, 2020