Summary of New IHU Marseille Research on 3,737 Patients

The summary of the largest clinical study in the world on the treatment of COVID-19 patients was released on May 27 by the IHU Marseille.

This study follows a range of studies by the institute about therapies for COVID-19, starting with the very first trial about the use of hydroxychloroquine, and the hydroxychloroquine – azithromycin combination, on March 23.

A major milestone in the research by Professor Didier Raoult and his team was the study over 1061 patients, with preliminary results released on April 9, on the occasion of a visit by French President Emmanuel Macron at the institute. The full study was published on May 5 on ScienceDirect, an online service of Elsevier.

The new study, of which the summary was released on May 27, is titled: “Early diagnosis and management of COVID-19 patients: a real-life cohort study of 3,737 patients, Marseille, France.”

As background, the summary reads: 

“In our institute in Marseille, France, we proposed early and massive screening for coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). Hospitalization and early treatment with hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin (HCQ-AZ) was proposed for the positive cases.”

65,993 individuals were tested for COVID-19 and 6,836 patients (10.4%) were diagnosed, including 3,737 patients covered by the new study. 

The overall fatality rate was 0.9%.

Out of the 3,737 patients, 3,054 (81.7%) were treated with the combination hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin.

The study finds that this treatment was associated with a decreased risk of transfer to the ICU or death, decreased risk of hospitalization ≥10 days and shorter duration of viral shedding). 

Regarding cardiac aspects, the summary notes:

“QTc prolongation (>60 ms) was observed in 25 patients (0.67%) leading to the cessation of treatment in 3 cases. No cases of torsade de pointe or sudden death were observed.”

The summary conclusion reads as follows:

“Early diagnosis, early isolation and early treatment with at least 3 days of HCQ-AZ result in a significantly better clinical outcome and contagiosity in patients with COVID-19 than other treatments.” 

“Long-term follow-up to screen for fibrosis will be the next challenge in the management of COVID-19.”