NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — Hydroxychloroquine became a very commonly used medication for COVID-19 in the spring without strong evidence that it would be beneficial, explained Dr. Wesley Self, Vice President of Clinical Research at Vanderbilt University Medical Center.
“When the COVID pandemic hit we were scrambling, as the whole world was, for the best way to treat patients. The first thing to do is really look at all the medication you already have access to,” said Dr. Self.
As lead investigator of the national Hydroxychloroquine study, he explained, “There was really good reason to believe Hydroxychlorquine could have been helpful. We know it decreases what we call systemic inflammation and that’s a big part of COVID-19.”
Thirty-four hospitals across the United States participated in the clinical trial.
“We studied 479 patients. Half of them had Hydroxychloroquine and half were given a placebo which basically has nothing in it. All of those patients had COVID-19. All were quite sick,” said Dr. Self.
The findings published today in the Journal of the American Medical Association found patients had the same clinical outcomes.
“The same number died, which is about ten percent, unfortunately, in both groups,” said Dr. Self. “It took the same length of time to recover and the same amount of oxygen was necessary in both groups.”
While Dr. Self says this news is disappointing, the team has shifted its focus to investigating the potential benefits of other treatments.
Stay with News 2 for continuing coverage of the COVID-19 Pandemic.
COVID-19 in Tennessee
(This reflects what the TDH is reporting each day at 2 p.m. CST )