PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Findings from a study out of the University Washington released Saturday showed the antiviral medication hydroxychloroquine offers no benefit in preventing people from developing COVID-19.
Despite the drug being touted as an effective treatment for and prophylactic against COVID-19 by a number of physicians and public figures, results showed otherwise. People who took hydroxychloroquine and had close contact with coronavirus patients were just as likely to catch the coronavirus as were those who received a placebo, according to a preliminary data analysis from a large randomized, controlled trial.
The trial, called the Hydroxychloroquine for COVID-19 Post-Exposure Prophylaxis (PEP Study), featured roughly 800 participants. All test subjects had a family member or close contact who had recently tested positive for the virus. Participants were randomly assigned to take a daily tablet of hydroxychloroquine or a placebo. Both groups collected daily nasal swabs. Prevention was defined as a negative daily test for COVID-19 within 14 days of exposure to a close contact who had been infected with the pandemic coronavirus.
At the end of the study, researchers determined that those taking the drug were just as likely to test positive as were those taking the placebo. Additionally, participants reported no significant side effects.
Read the full study here
Hydroxychloroquine has traditionally been used for treating malaria and for autoimmune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis. It is considered safe and well-tolerated.
In March, the FDA granted Emergency Use Authorization for the use of hydroxychloroquine in treating some COVID-19 hospitalized patients, but rescinded the authorization in June over safety concerns and the lack of evidence of effectiveness.