This keeps coming up again and again. I wanted to provide you all with a timeline of the scientific evidence. Because, honestly, I was curious too…
May 2005: Scientists found chloroquine was protective against SARS among PRIMATES (this is what prompted that viral doctor video). This is a good start but does not have ANY bearing on the impact of hydroxychloroquine on COVID19 among humans.
April 2020: There were two small studies conducted…
- France: 20 patients were given hydroxychloroquine. This was NOT a randomized control trial, but they found a beneficial effect of hydroxychloroquine.
- China: 62 patients were randomly placed in control and treatment groups. The treatment group (i.e. hydroxychloroquine) did better than the control group.
April 2020: FDA authorized emergency use of hydroxychloroquine. This drug started to became a household name.
May 2020: Two large randomized studies (1446 patients in NYC and 1438 patients in 25 hospitals in NY state) found no beneficial effect of hydroxychloroquine. The NIH to recommend that hydroxychloroquine NOT be used in routine care (only for research).
May 2020: A Lancet article was published (96,000 patients across the US) which found no beneficial effect of hydroxychloroquine. However, the veracity of the data and analyses was questioned. So, Lancet attempted to conduct a third-party review to replicate the findings. The data source (Surgisphere Corporation) would NOT share their data for this “double check”. Lancet retracted the paper.
June 2020: Four large studies were conducted…
- Nashville: A randomized trial (470 patients) was told to STOP because there was no beneficial effect of hydroxychloroquine. Continuing the study would unethical to study participants.
- UK: (11,000 patients in 175 hospitals) No beneficial effect of hydroxychloroquine. They also had to STOP the study.
- US and Canada: A large randomized study (821 patients) tested whether this drug prevented COVID19 BEFORE infection compared to a placebo. No beneficial effect of hydroxychloroquine
- China: 150 patients randomized to hydroxychloroquine. No beneficial effect of hydroxychloroquine.
June 15: FDA deauthorized emergency use of hydroxychloroquine
July 2020: In the US, a large randomized study (491 patients) found no beneficial effect of hydroxychloroquine.
There are some scientific principles that are certain. They are called scientific laws (think the law of thermodynamics). EVERYTHING ELSE IS FLUID. Science if ever-changing and extends itself. The virus doesn’t change, but our understanding of the virus changes. Because of this, scientific and medical recommendations adapt. ESPECIALLY when there is a novel disease like COVID19. If this WASN’T happening, then we wouldn’t be doing our job.
Everyone needs to have a more realistic expectations of what science can and can’t do.
Love, your local epidemiologist
Data sources: Peer-review articles are linked throughout the post above.