First Study About Efficacy of Hydroxychloroquine With or Without Azithromycin for Treating COVID-19

The team of Professor Didier Raoult in Marseille, France, published the first study about the efficacy of hydroxychloroquine, alone or taken with azithromycin, for treating COVID-19 patients.

Here are details of the study.

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

The study shows a clear improvement of treated patients, especially with the two medications combined. Yet, it attracted instant criticism for its small sample size and the lack of randomization. 

There is a control group in the study, but these were patients who were not interested in trying the novel treatment. It was not a randomized administration of placebos.

Here is the treatment now recommended by Professor Didier Raoult according to a media release published on his hospital website.

– Hydroxychloroquine: 3 x 200 mg per day for 10 days

– Azithromycin: 500 mg the first day and 250 mg per day for the 5 following days

– A wide-spectrum antibiotic is added in the case of severe pneumonia

An electrocardiogram is recommended on Day 0 and Day 2, as a precautionary measure.

Chloroquine was discovered in 1934 by Hans Andersag and coworkers at the Bayer laboratories. It has been used for decades for the prevention of malaria. Hydroxychloroquine is a less toxic metabolite of chloroquine.

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Researchers at the pharmaceutical company Pliva in Croatia, — Gabrijela Kobrehel, Gorjana Radobolja-Lazarevski, and Zrinka Tamburašev, led by Dr. Slobodan Đokić — discovered azithromycin in 1980.

Both drugs, and their safety profiles, are extremely well known by the medical profession.

The Marseille researchers are already working on new studies, with larger samples, and which will focus on the hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin combination.