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Does Hydroxychloroquine Treat Coronavirus?

06 Jun 2020

Coronavirus, or COVID–19, is a respiratory illness that is spread from person to person contact that has symptoms such as fever, cough, sore throat, runny nose, and chest pain. This disease can also come with serious complications that can result in hospitalization. More than three months have gone by since the first reported case of this illness was reported here and Coronavirus is quickly spreading throughout the United States with over 1.64 million confirmed cases thus far and over 96,000 deaths.

There have been many people out there claiming that hydroxychloroquine is successful in treating the coronavirus. Hydroxychloroquine is a medication that is used to treat or prevent malaria, a disease contracted through the bite of a mosquito. This drug is also used to treat symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis as well as symptoms of discoid or systemic lupus. Hydroxychloroquine has not been approved to treat the coronavirus at this time, however, the Food and Drug Administration has approved emergency use of the drug for those children and adults who have been hospitalized.

Treatment Options for COVID-19

It does look like a clinical trial sponsored by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health, has begun to evaluate whether or not this drug, when given with the antibiotic azithromycin, to prevent hospitalization and even death from the coronavirus. Some preliminary reports have advocated that hydroxychloroquine can benefit those with coronavirus. This study, called A5395, will administer to its participants the oral medications to take to their home.

Those who are assigned to the experimental treatment group will take 400 milligrams of hydroxychloroquine twice on the first day and 200 mg twice daily for an additional six days. They also will take 500 mg of azithromycin on the first day and 250 mg daily for an additional four days. The control group will receive the same amount of placebo pills. No one will know who received the experimental versus the placebo pills until the trial has completed. The participants will record any symptoms, etc for a total of 20 days, while a staff member checks in with them for updates.

The whole objective of this study is to see whether these two drugs, hydroxychloroquine, and azithromycin can prevent hospitalization and death from coronavirus.

How Does Hydroxychloroquine Work?

Hydroxychloroquine is known to block the coronavirus infection by blocking the virus from invading the cells, which is needed in order to replicate and invade the body. One study suggests that this drug is best effective when the case is mild.

One other reason some are saying this drug can be effective is that it can potentially rein in on an overactive immune system, which is why this drug is effective in treating lupus and rheumatoid arthritis. In more severe cases if this virus, the immune system will go into overdrive, causing inflammation and ultimately damage to the organs. They are hoping hydroxychloroquine with quiet down this immune system response.

It is important to reiterate that there is no concrete evidence that this drug can prevent or treat the coronavirus infection. There is currently no vaccine or prescription out there that is designed to treat or prevent the coronavirus. The best thing that can be done at this time is any and all preventative measures that can be taken.