After conducting the first-ever randomized clinical trial in the United States of hydroxychloroquine against COVID-19, a team of researchers at the University of Minnesota says its effects were chimeric at preventing development.
Commonly known under the trade name Plaquenil, it is used by physicians because of its antimalarial, enzyme inhibiting, and anti-rheumatic properties.
But in a recent study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, the antimalarial treatment was tested alongside a placebo in an effort to combat the virus’ effects. The research team found that hydroxychloroquine lacked the efficacy to reduce the possibility of infection, no better than a placebo.
The findings from the Minnesota team vindicate a study released by the University of Oxford around the same timeframe, indicating no beneficial effects in reducing the spread of the novel coronavirus.
During the double-blind, placebo-controlled trials, the results from the Minnesota study showed that 40 percent of participants exhibited mild side effects, such as upset stomach and diarrhea, but no serious complications or neuropsychiatric symptoms, as a result of taking the drug treatment.
“We enrolled adults who had household or occupational exposure to someone with confirmed Covid-19 at a distance of less than 6 ft for more than 10 minutes while wearing neither a face mask nor an eye shield (high-risk exposure) or while wearing a face mask but no eye shield (moderate-risk exposure),” the co-authors explained in the findings.
“Within 4 days after exposure, we randomly assigned participants to receive either placebo or hydroxychloroquine. The primary outcome was the incidence of either laboratory-confirmed Covid-19 or illness compatible with Covid-19 within 14 days,” the co-authors added.
“After high-risk or moderate-risk exposure to Covid-19, hydroxychloroquine did not prevent illness compatible with Covid-19 or confirmed infection when used as postexposure prophylaxis within 4 days after exposure,” they concluded.
Although the findings did not provide the assurance needed to produce the first effective treatment for coronavirus, as researchers hoped, it did provide a conclusory outcome in determining its potential effects against COVID-19.