Malaria Drug Helps in Curing Coronavirus Patients with Mild Illness

Malaria Drug Helps in Curing Coronavirus Patients with Mild Illness 

Last updated on August 28th, 2020

According to a group of doctors in China, the malaria drug hydroxychloroquine has been able to help the patients recover from mild illness due to the coronavirus.

While the doctors said that the drug could be a life-saver, more research needs to be conducted on the malaria drug to label it as a saviour from coronavirus. The drug helped in easing out cough, fever and pneumonia – initial and major symptoms of the coronavirus.

The study was conducted on a small group of patients, who were moderately ill, none of the severe cases have been treated using hydroxychloroquine.

Previously also, reports of moderately ill people being cured by the malaria drug had emerged from France and China. But the reports were not taken seriously and were instead criticised for not including control groups to compare treated versus untreated patients.

However, this time, China studied 62 patients of an average age of 45 at the Renmin Hospital of Wuhan University, in Wuhan. The researchers carefully chose the patients, excluding the ones who could have shown negative reactions because of the malaria drug.

Half of the patients in the research group were given the usual care, which is given to other coronavirus patients, including oxygen, antiviral drugs, antibiotics and other treatments, and the others were given all this along with hydroxychloroquine.

With the malaria drug, coughing and fever improved quickly in the patients and pneumonia improved in 25 of 31, as compared to 17 of 31 in the group. However, two patients suffered from minor side effects from the drug, like headache and rashes.

Dr. William Schaffner, an infectious disease expert at Vanderbilt University, said, “We don’t know which of the pharmacologic aspects of hydroxychloroquine are most active, the antiviral part, or the immunomodulatory part. We don’t know, but it does reinforce the notion, as the authors say briefly, it reinforces the thinking about the nature of many of these pneumonias we are seeing, which seem to have an immune basis, as opposed to being secondary bacterial pneumonia, which we see so often in influenza.”

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