Hydroxychloroquine, a malaria drug touted by President Trump as a possible coronavirus treatment, was no more effective than regular treatment in a small study in China, Bloomberg News reports.
The study, published by the Journal of Zhejiang University in China, showed that patients were just as likely to recover from the coronavirus with the drug as they were without it.
The study, which only looked at 30 patients, found that 13 of 15 people that were given the malaria drug tested negative for the coronavirus after a week of treatment.
But 14 of the 15 patients who were not given the drug also tested negative for the virus after one week.
Patients who were not given the drug simply received bed rest, oxygen, and anti-viral drugs like lopinavir and ritonavir.
Previous study suggested drug could be effective:
The small Chinese study follows a small French study that found that the drug, when mixed with the antibiotic azithromycin (think Zithromax), could be an effective treatment.
The study found that 26 of 40 patients who received the treatment tested negative for the virus after taking the drugs.
“Experts have criticized the design of the study, calling it interesting but far from definitive,” Bloomberg noted.
Trump hypes anyway:
The questions about the treatment have not stopped Trump from touting it as a possible miracle cure.
“Doctors can now prescribe chloroquine for that off-label purpose of dealing with the symptoms of coronavirus,” Vice President Mike Pence announced on Sunday. “The president’s very optimistic.”
Anthony Fauci, the top infectious disease expert in the country, was less optimistic.
Asked whether he believed the drug was a promising coronavirus treatment, Fauci said, “the answer is no.”
“The evidence you’re talking about … is anecdotal evidence,” he said. “The information that you’re referring to specifically is antecdotal. It was not done in a controlled clinical trial. So you really can’t make any definitive statement about it.”