Correspondence published in the journal Lancet Global Health March 19 reported on a Chinese clinical trial of hydroxychloroquine, presenting it as "Having shown positive preliminary results (although not conclusive due to the small sample size)".
On closer inspection, the results in question are far from convincing. This clinical trial was carried out by researchers from Shanghai on 30 patients with mild symptoms of Covid-19. The objective was to compare the presence or absence of virus seven days after the start of treatment, consisting of 400 mg / day of hydroxychloroquine – the molecule recommended in France by Professor Didier Raoult (IHU Méditerranée Infections, Marseille), in combination with an antibiotic, to treat Covid-19.
In France, "The High Council recommends not to use this treatment in the absence of a recommendation, except for severe, hospital forms on the collegial decision of doctors and under strict medical supervision", recalled the Minister of Health, Olivier Véran.
Difficult to interpret results
The results of the Chinese clinical study, published in the Journal of Zhejiang University, show that if the virus has disappeared in 87% of treated patients, this percentage rises to 93% in the control group who did not receive this molecule. The median length of hospital stay until disappearance of the virus in the samples is considered to be statistically comparable in the two groups, but it was four days (in a range of one to nine) in patients who received hydroxychloroquine, against two (range from one to four days) in untreated people.
The only advantage of hydroxychloroquine compared to the absence of specific treatment: the development of pulmonary involvement, which was observed on radiography only in 33% of treated patients, against 47% in controls. Five cases against seven, which remains difficult to interpret.
These results lead Chinese researchers to conclude that the prognosis in patients "Common" (non-severe cases) is " Well ", regardless of treatment. But they admit that it will take a larger study to assess the value of hydroxychloroquine against Covid-19.
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