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Current Affairs

Hydroxychloroquine does not reduce viral load

Date: 19 April 2020 Tags: Miscellaneous

Issue

Results of a randomised, control trial using hydroxychloroquine drug in 150 COVID-19 patients show that the drug does not reduce the viral load even on day 28. 

 

Background

Seventy-five patients got the drug and standard of care while the remaining got only standard of care. Patients were given 1,200 mg of the drug for three days followed by 800 mg daily for two and three weeks in patients with mild/moderate and severe symptoms, respectively.

 

Details

  • Researchers say that in contrast to other trials that have shown good results, the randomised trial did not show that hydroxychloroquine drug was able to suppress viral replication.

  • This is the first trial using hydroxychloroquine where patients have been randomised to receive either the drug or just standard of care.

  • However, patients who got the drug did show quicker alleviation of clinical symptoms, possibly through anti-inflammatory properties and improvement in white blood cell count.

  • The drug did not cause any serious adverse effects in patients. But some patients did experience adverse effects.

  • During the trial, specimens were taken from the upper and/or lower respiratory tract on the day of screening and during treatment and post-treatment follow-up.

  • The authors say that the dosage used in the trial was meant to reach the 50% effective concentrations of hydroxychloroquine against the virus. 

  • In the case of COVID-19, systemic inflammation or cytokine storm is the driver of disease progression and death. Substantial reduction in white blood cell count and increase in inflammatory response have generally been observed in patients who have eventually progressed and died.

  • The results suggest clinical benefits of adding hydroxychloroquine into the current standard management to limit inflammatory response, which is the key to prevent systemic inflammation and subsequent multiple organ failure and death.