The malaria drugs touted by President Trump as potentially “the biggest game changers in the history of medicine” have received a decidedly more sober assessment of their coronavirus-fighting potential from researchers in China, France and Brazil.
Both chloroquine and its close relative hydroxychloroquine offered signs that they may ease some of the hallmark symptoms of coronavirus infection in patients who were hospitalized with COVID-19. But the drugs largely failed to deliver improvements on other key measures when evaluated in rigorous research studies.
In research done in France, hydroxychloroquine reduced neither deaths nor admissions to intensive care units among patients who received it. In a study conducted in China and another in Brazil, the two drugs failed to help patients clear the coronavirus faster.