The End of Hydroxychloroquine as a Treatment for COVID-19: Year of Madness Capped by Trial Showing Drug Has No Benefit

Doctor Hydroxychloroquine

A year after the treatment trial commenced in five cities, it is concluded that hydroxychloroquine had no impact on treating individuals with COVID-19.

Study published in E Clinical Medicine shows the drug has no benefit, and the researcher reflects on a year of hydroxychloroquine madness.

A year ago, infectious disease doctor Christine Johnston was leading a study on the use of hydroxychloroquine for the treatment of people with COVID-19.

The trial launched at the end of March, when the disease was putting the world on pause and killing thousands.

Hydroxychloroquine showed promise in studies done in test tubes rather than in animals or humans. If the drug worked, it would be cheap, safe, and available. As the trial got going in April, however, hydroxychloroquine was being touted as a treatment without any rigorous evidence.

“The world was at a desperate moment and people were jumping to conclusions,” Johnston said.

A year after the treatment trial launched in five cities, Johnston can say hydroxychloroquine had no effect in treating people with COVID-19. The results of the remote randomized, placebo-controlled trial were published on February 26, 2021, in E Clinical Medicine.

The trial was seeking 630 participants, but trial enrollment was stopped in August at 231 participants due to very few people having progressive COVID-19. The primary clinical outcome of the study was progression of COVID-19 to pneumonia or hospitalization, and time to symptom resolution was a secondary outcome.

“There was no faster resolution of symptoms among people receiving hydroxychloroquine or hydroxychloroquine/azithromycin compared to placebo,” Johnston said.

The data are consistent with multiple other randomized trials that have shown that hydroxychloroquine has no benefit in the outpatient or inpatient setting for treatment of COVID-19.   

Between April and August, Johnston and colleagues were thrust into the world spotlight. They were interviewed by every major media outlet, including a Turkish talk show. Their message was always that they were conducting a rigorous clinical trial for definitive answers. Smaller trials and observational studies were having mixed results. Some showed it worked, others showed it had no effect.

Johnston said what the last year taught everyone is how quickly science has been able to provide definitive answers.

“Science has led the way to get these studies up and running. And science has provided the evidence-base to treat these infections well,” she said.

One of the upsides of the trial was it pushed remote research. Researchers were able to enroll participants without seeing them in person. The participants could obtain their own vital signs and nasal swabs to provide study information.

“This was a really effective way to include many people, and we didn’t have to expose any staff,” she said.

Reference: “Hydroxychloroquine with or without azithromycin for treatment of early SARS-CoV-2 infection among high-risk outpatient adults: A randomized clinical trial” by Christine Johnston, Elizabeth R. Brown, Jenell Stewart, Helen C.Stankiewicz Karita, Patricia J. Kissinger, John Dwyer, Sybil Hosek, Temitope Oyedele, Michael K. Paasche-Orlow, Kristopher Paolino, Kate B. Heller, Hannah Leingang, Harald S. Haugen, Tracy Q. Dong, Anna Bershteyn, Arun R. Sridhar, Jeanne Poole, Peter A. Noseworthy, Michael J. Ackerman, Susan Morrison, Alexander L. Greninger, Meei-Li Huang, Keith R. Jerome, Mark H. Wener, Anna Wald, Joshua T. Schiffer, Connie Celum, Helen Y. Chu, Ruanne V. Barnabas and Jared M. Baeten for the COVID-19 Early Treatment Study Team, 26 February 2021, E Clinical Medicine.
DOI: 10.1016/j.eclinm.2021.100773

The trial was funded by The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

12 Comments on "The End of Hydroxychloroquine as a Treatment for COVID-19: Year of Madness Capped by Trial Showing Drug Has No Benefit"

  1. The study you reference seems to show an average overall 50% reduction in hospitalization for those taking hydroxychloroquine,and also for those taking hydroxy + azith, Perhaps I misread it. There were no deaths so no comparison there.

  2. Victor Walker | March 10, 2021 at 8:26 am | Reply

    Disappointing that this major study only had 231 participants. Doesn’t seem sufficient especially when we know there is such a big difference in outcomes depending on age, obesity, and other risk factors.

    Also….funded by The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

  3. The study noted that hydroxychloroquine reduced SARS-CoV-2 viral shedding, but downplayed it. Then they didn’t even mention it in this article.

    However, it showed it reduced viral shedding from 8 days down to 5, a reduction of 3 days. This other study showed how even a single day reduction in the contagious period would have a significant effect in reducing the number of COVID cases:

  4. Adding to the above, this study doesn’t seem to actually be “the end” as hydroxychloroquine wasn’t given early enough. From my understanding, other research has shown that it must be administered early to be effective.

  5. If the Bill & Melinda Gates are funding this study a negative outcome is guaranteed.

  6. Phony Tony Facci saw no money coming to him so he spun the parameters of such trials to ensure failure tt has been alleged.

  7. Finally this medication hoax trumpeted by Trump ends!

    • Glad you point out the logical fallacy in the argument ignorant people tend to make.

    • Did u read the last sentence? “This trial was funded by Bill and Melinda gates foundation” u honestly think Bill gates who made MILLIONS of the vaccine is going to truthfully say that other options besides the deadly COVID shot work? U Dems are so clueless

  8. I wonder how much they pay to the pseudo corrupt scientists to go along with set for failure studies and then for the corrupt authors to write fake reports on top of the fake study. You have no principles, your parents and ancestors must be proud!

  9. John D. Horton | March 11, 2021 at 5:37 pm | Reply

    The 5 day viral clearance period is interesting. If I recall correctly, when I translated Didier Raoults study last April(google translate) the 5 day clearance period for the hydroxy group is exactly what he saw. In fact, it was this “tanking” of the viral loads using hydroxy/azith that really got me looking into this treatment. Wow-a double blind randomized study coming up with the exact same results. Fascinating!

  10. Hydroxymectin | March 12, 2021 at 3:45 pm | Reply

    Ridiculous. Those that paid for and promoted the vaccine paid for this study.

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