Hydroxychloroquine is nothing new, as having been around for the better part of fifty years, and has seen use in the treatment of malaria and lupus. However, with the recent coronavirus pandemic, we have heard mention of it more and more in the news, gathering it a somewhat notorious reputation.
When it was first suspected that hydroxychloroquine might prove useful in the battle against COVID-19, researchers and doctors jumped headlong into trails. Even our president, Donald Trump, was on board with the drug and continually touted the potential benefits it may offer.
However, now after months of trials, the results are in, and they are not good. It would appear from the data gathered that hydroxychloroquine might not only be ineffective against COVID-19, but there are indications that it is potentially risky as well.
Hydroxychloroquine, and its close cousin in chemical composition chloroquine, are both medications that were devised for the treatment of malaria. Malaria is a mosquito-based ailment, that consists of a microorganism that the drugs act on—that of the plasmodium parasite.
However, these medications tend to act on the immune system when taken, so much so that they have proven successful in treating autoimmune ailments such as lupus and rheumatoid arthritis.
In the early weeks of June, after concerns based on the safety of the drug were raised, several countries, including France, Belgium, and Italy banned the medications used in conjunction with COVID-19 treatment. It wasn’t long after that the World Health Organization (WHO) dropped an international trail looking into the drug effects and usefulness.
Although researchers across the globe continued their studies on hydroxychloroquine, the results were not quite what they were expecting or hoping for.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) went so far as to pull its Emergency Use Authorization that had been in place for its use, and now strongly cautions that it is unsafe to be administered to any patients. Researchers and physicians are convinced by the data collected, that they are urging President Trump to stop in his touting of the drug.
We still do not have any definite choices for the treatment of COVID-19. However, in recent months, the drug remdesivir has been in the news as showing great promise. However, it has also suggested that more trials and data need to be collected on this newest drug to make sure that we do not fall into the same misconception that we did with hydroxychloroquine.
Will remdesivir prove to be the answer, or will it suffer the same fate as hydroxychloroquine did?