MAR 19, 2020 7:32 AM PDT

Could a 1949 Malaria Drug Treat COVID-19?

WRITTEN BY: Annie Lennon

In the race to halt the current coronavirus pandemic, scientists, health experts and even Elon Musk are considering chloroquine, a drug that has been used against malaria since 1949, to be a potential treatment. 

Although there is as of yet no peer-reviewed clinical data showing that chloroquine is effective against COVID-19, early laboratory research and anecdotal reports on its usage provide encouraging evidence that it may be able to fight off the virus. 

This comes in particular after an expert consensus from the Department of Science and Technology of Guangdong Province, China and the Health Commission of Guangdong Province discussing the usage of the drug. In particular, they recommended dosage of chloroquine phosphate tablets, 500 mg twice daily for patients diagnosed with mild, moderate and severe cases of COVID-19 pneumonia. 

On top of this, a paper published by French researchers also indicated that chloroquine may be able to effectively fight against COVID-19. Given the wide availability of the drug, the researchers, led by Professor Didier Raoult of the IHU Méditerranée Infection in Marseille, France, wrote that, “If clinical data confirm the biological results, the novel coronavirus-associated disease will have become one of the simplest and cheapest to treat and prevent among infectious respiratory diseases."

For the paper, Raoult and his team conducted a non-randomized, unblinded study of 25 patients diagnosed with COVID-19. Although the data from the study is yet to be published, and thus should be taken with caution, the researchers say that after 6 days of treatment, the percentage of patients testing positive for COVID-19 treated with hydroxychloroquine fell by 75%, whereas for those who did not receive the treatment, just 10% of patients no longer tested positive. 

The study went on to say that for those given a combination of both hydroxychloroquine and antibiotic azithromycin, after six days, the percentage of cases still testing positive for COVID-19 fell to just 5%. According to Raoult, “Everyone who died from COVID-19 were still carriers of coronavirus. To no longer have the virus changes the prognosis.”

Although promising results, whether the drug may really be able to treat COVID-19 is still unknown until more data from ongoing clinical trials emerge from various sites around the world. 



Sources: PubMed, Tech Times, Science Direct and Medscape

About the Author
  • Science writer with keen interests in technology and behavioral biology. Her current focus is on the interplay between these fields to create meaningful interactions, applications and environments.
You May Also Like
NOV 20, 2020
Drug Discovery & Development
Hyperbaric Oxygen Treatments Reverse Aging
NOV 20, 2020
Hyperbaric Oxygen Treatments Reverse Aging
Researchers from Israel have found that hyperbaric oxygen treatments (HBOT) in healthy aging adults can prevent blood ce ...
NOV 22, 2020
Cannabis Sciences
Public Believes CBD is Cure-All Despite Lack of Evidence
NOV 22, 2020
Public Believes CBD is Cure-All Despite Lack of Evidence
Many people think that cannabidiol (CBD), a non-psychoactive compound in cannabis, can reduce symptoms from various cond ...
NOV 26, 2020
Drug Discovery & Development
Sestrin Increases the Lifespan of Fruit Flies
NOV 26, 2020
Sestrin Increases the Lifespan of Fruit Flies
Reduced food intake, known as dietary restriction, leads to a longer lifespan in many animals and can improve health in ...
DEC 15, 2020
Clinical & Molecular DX
Who Should Get the COVID Vaccine First?
DEC 15, 2020
Who Should Get the COVID Vaccine First?
Drug developers’ frantic hunt for vaccines against SARS-CoV-2 has finally begun to bear fruit, with several vaccin ...
JAN 05, 2021
Drug Discovery & Development
Promising Epigenetic Treatment for Depression Works After One Dose
JAN 05, 2021
Promising Epigenetic Treatment for Depression Works After One Dose
Researchers affiliated with the University of Sao Paulo in Brazil have used epigenetic modulators to reduce stress-induc ...
JAN 11, 2021
Cell & Molecular Biology
Ginger May Help Slow Lupus or Antiphospholipid Syndrome Progression
JAN 11, 2021
Ginger May Help Slow Lupus or Antiphospholipid Syndrome Progression
Naturally occurring chemicals make more appealing medicines for many people, but there is not always evidence that they' ...
Loading Comments...