A new study has found that the antimalarial drug hydroxychloroquine – the one President Trump touted – helped patients better survive in the hospital.
CNN reports that a team at Henry Ford Health System in Southeast Michigan found that its study of 2,541 hospitalized patients found that those who were given hydroxychloroquine were much less likely to die.
Dr. Marcus Zervos, division head of infectious disease for Henry Ford Health System, said 26% of those not given hydroxychloroquine died, compared to 13% of those who got the drug. The team looked back at everyone treated in the hospital system since the first patient in March.
“Overall crude mortality rates were 18.1% in the entire cohort, 13.5% in the hydroxychloroquine alone group, 20.1% among those receiving hydroxychloroquine plus azithromycin, 22.4% among the azithromycin alone group, and 26.4% for neither drug,” the team wrote in a report published in the International Journal of Infectious Diseases.
The Henry Ford team also monitored patients carefully for heart problems, he said.
“The combination of hydroxychloroquine plus azithromycin was reserved for selected patients with severe COVID-19 and with minimal cardiac risk factors,” the team wrote.
The Henry Ford team said they believe their findings show hydroxychloroquine could be potentially useful as a treatment for coronavirus.
“It’s important to note that in the right settings, this potentially could be a lifesaver for patients,” Dr. Steven Kalkanis, CEO of the Henry Ford Medical Group, said at a news conference.
Kalkanis said that their findings do not necessarily contradict those of earlier studies. “We also want to make the point that just because our results differ from some others that may have been published, it doesn’t make those studies wrong or definitely a conflict.
What it simply means is that by looking at the nuanced data of which patients actually benefited and when, we might be able to further unlock the code of how this disease works,” he said.
“Much more work needs to be done to elucidate what the final treatment plan should be for Covid-19,” Kalkanis added. “But we feel … that these are critically important results to add to the mix of how we move forward if there’s a second surge, and in relevant other parts of the world.
Now we can help people combat this disease and to reduce the mortality rate.”
Zervos said hydroxychloroquine can help interfere with the virus directly and also reduces inflammation.
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