In a newly published study, the antimalarial drug hydroxychloroquine was shown to help speed up recovery times in patients infected with coronavirus
In a study published online this week, Chinese researchers found that patients who were administered the drug saw their cough, fever and pneumonia go away faster than in a group that did not receive it, according to The New York Times.
The illness also appeared less likely to become severe among those who were treated with hydroxychloroquine, according to the small study posted on the preprint server medRxiv before undergoing peer review.
However, the hydroxychloroquine study did not include data on severely ill patients.
The authors said the findings were promising, but that more research was needed on how hydroxychloroquine might work in treating COVID-19 and how to best use it.
“It’s going to send a ripple of excitement out through the treating community,” Dr. William Schaffner, an infectious disease expert at Vanderbilt University, told The Times.
But the findings offer strong support for prior studies suggesting a role for the medication, Schaffner added.
“I think it will reinforce the inclination of many people across the country who are not in a position to enter their patients into clinical trials but have already begun using hydroxychloroquine,” he said.
President Trump has touted hydroxychloroquine as a possible drug to be used to prevent the coronavirus – and also said chloroquine, another antimalarial and autoimmune disease drug, “could be a game changer.”
The latest study – which was conducted at the Renmin Hospital of Wuhan University in the city where the virus originated — included 62 patients with an average age of about 45 and had a control group, according to the newspaper.