However, a study just published in a French medical journal provides new evidence that hydroxychloroquine does not appear to help the immune system clear the coronavirus from the body. The study comes on the heels of two others – one in France and one in China – that reported some benefits in the combination of hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin for COVID-19 patients who didn’t have severe symptoms of the virus.
I am a medicinal chemist who has specialized in discovery and development of antiviral drugs for the past 30 years, and I have been actively working on coronaviruses for the past seven. I am among a number of researchers who are concerned that this drug has been given too much of a high priority before there is enough evidence to show it is indeed effective.
There are already other clinical studies that showed it is not effective against COVID-19 as well as several other viruses. And, more importantly, it can have dangerous side effects, as well as giving people false hope. The latter has led to widespread shortages of hydroxychloroquine for patients who need it to treat malaria, lupus and rheumatoid arthritis, the indications for which it was originally approved.