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W. Glen Pyle, PhD is a Professor in the Department of Biomedical Sciences at the University of Guelph and an Associate Member of the IMPART Team Canada Investigator Network at Dalhousie Medicine... Read More »

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As the search for an effective COVID19 treatment goes on, one therapy keeps re-appearing in the headlines: hydroxychloroquine. Early, observational studies on the use of hydroxychloroquine to treat patients with COVID19 failed to show any real benefits of the drug. The ability of hydroxychloroquine to prevent the development of COVID19, however, remained largely untested. But a study on the effectiveness of hydroxychloroquine to prevent COVID19 has been published and the results are not what anyone was hoping for.

The Set-Up

The antimalarial drug hydroxychloroquine, touted as a miracle cure for COVID-19, appeared to have had it’s Titanic moment, at least according to a study published in the Lancet. The retrospective study analyzed the records of patients from 6 continents and found that not only was hydroxychloroquine not an effective treatment, its cardiac side effects were potentially dangerous. But this was just the tip of the iceberg, and the results were disastrous.

The Study

Co-authored by by Lauren Philippi, Department of Human Health and Nutritional Sciences, University of Guelph

In late December 2019 an outbreak of pneumonia cases arose in Wuhan, China. Patients presented with an acute respiratory illness linked to the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19). COVID-19 is a betacoronavirus, similar to Human Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) and Middle Eastern Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) coronaviruses. SARS and MERS both cause severe respiratory disease. Although COVID-19 is primarily considered a respiratory virus, there is a strong link to cardiovascular disease.

COVID-19 — by the numbers