Andrew Mark Miller
A new study shows that the controversial drug hydroxychloroquine touted by former President Donald Trump increased the survival rate of severely ill coronavirus patients.
The observational study, published by medRxiv, found that antimalarial drug hydroxychloroquine, along with zinc, could increase the coronavirus survival rate by as much as nearly 200% if distributed at higher doses to ventilated patients with a severe version of the illness.
“We found that when the cumulative doses of two drugs, HCQ and AZM, were above a certain level, patients had a survival rate 2.9 times the other patients,” the study’s conclusion states.
The study adds, “By using causal analysis and considering of weight-adjusted cumulative dose, we prove the combined therapy, >3 g HCQ and > 1g AZM greatly increases survival in Covid patients on IMV and that HCQ cumulative dose > 80 mg/kg works substantially better. These data do not yet apply to hospitalized patients not on IMV. Since those with higher doses of HCQ had higher doses of AZM, we cannot solely attribute the causal effect to HCQ/AZM combination therapy. However, it is likely AZM does contribute significantly to this increase in survival rate. Since higher dose HCQ/AZM therapy improves survival by nearly 200% in this population, the safety data are moot.”
The study was conducted by Saint Barnabas Medical Center in New Jersey on 255 patients.
Dating back to last spring, then-president Trump openly touted the effectiveness of the drug and even took it himself. It earned him pushback from medical experts, including his own White House coronavirus team member Dr. Anthony Fauci, and political pundits who dismissed his claims and maintained the drug was ineffective.
Last summer, Twitter restricted the account of Trump’s son, Donald Trump Jr., after he posted a video of doctors touting the effectiveness of the drug. The social media platform accused him of “spreading misleading and potentially harmful misinformation” related to the coronavirus.
In March of this year, the World Health Organization warned against using the drug to prevent the coronavirus, citing data suggesting it was ineffective.
Some conservatives have taken to social media and used the study to defend Trump, including Georgia Republican Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, who called out Fauci for his previous comments about the drug.
“How many people died bc Dr. Fauci said trust the science and Hydroxychloroquine isn’t effective?” Greene tweeted. “New study shows: Hydroxychloroquine + Azithromycin therapy at a higher dose improved survival by nearly 200% in ventilated COVID patients. Trump was right.”
Several other studies released since last year have come to the same conclusion that hydroxychloroquine can be effective in certain situations against the coronavirus, including a December study from the International Journal of Antimicrobial Agents showing 84% fewer hospitalizations among patients treated with the drug.
Another study, conducted by Hackensack Meridian Health, found encouraging results in patients with mild symptoms who were treated with the drug.