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New Treatment for Coronavirus

Read about the successful use of hydroxychloroquine (Plaquenil) and azithromycin (Zithromax) in the treatment of Coronavirus (COVID-19) in an open label non-randomized French clinical trial.

Gautret et al. (2020) Hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin as a treatment of COVID‐19: results of an open‐label non‐randomized clinical trial. International Journal of Antimicrobial Agents – In Press 17 March 2020 – DOI : 10.1016/j.ijantimicag.2020.105949.



Methods: Patients with COVID-19 infection defined by two primary criteria: i) age >12 years; and ii) PCR documented SARS-CoV-2 carriage in nasopharyngeal sample at admission were studied for the efficacy of hydroxychloroquine in removing carriage of virus at day 6 post inclusion. Patients were grouped into 3 categories: asymptomatic, upper respiratory tract infection when presenting with rhinitis, pharyngitis, or isolated low-grade fever and myalgia, and lower respiratory tract infections when presenting with symptoms of pneumonia or bronchitis.

Results: Patients treated with 600 mg of hydroxychloroquine show significant reduction of the viral carriage at day 6 post-inclusion compared to controls. There is a synergistic effect of the combination of hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin. The limitations of this study were the small sample size and limited long-term outcome follow-up.

Conclusion: Hydroxychloroquine is efficient in clearing viral nasopharyngeal carriage of SARS-CoV-2 in COVID-19 patients in only 3 to 6 days, in most patients.

Implications: These results are of great importance because the mean duration of viral shedding in patients suffering from COVID-19 is up to 37 days (average 20 days). Affected patients should treat with hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin to cure their infection and to limit the transmission of the virus to others. These compounds may be used as chemoprophylaxis to prevent the transmission of the virus, especially for healthcare workers.