French Doctor Didier Raoult Claims Solid Results in Study of Hydroxychloroquine and Azithromycin

Chris Menahan
InformationLiberation
Apr. 11, 2020

French microbiologist Didier Raoult on Friday released some early results from his treatment of 1061 coronavirus patients with a combination of hydroxychloroquine and the antibiotic azithromycin.

Raoult says the treatment had a good outcome in 91.7 percent of patients, a poor virological
outcome in 4.4 percent (viral shedding persistence at day 10) and a poor clinical outcome in 4.3 percent (either death or transfer to intensive care unit or hospitalization for 10 days or more).

He says 98 percent were eventually cured.

There were 5 deaths.


From the paper:
ABSTRACT

Background In a recent survey, most physicians worldwide considered that hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) and azithromycin (AZ) are the two most effective drugs among available molecules against COVID-19. Nevertheless, to date, one preliminary clinical trial only has demonstrated its efficacy on the viral load. Additionally, a clinical study including 80 patients was published, and in vitro efficiency of this association was demonstrated.

Methods

The study was performed at IHU Méditerranée Infection, Marseille, France.

A cohort of 1061 COVID-19 patients, treated for at least 3 days with the HCQ-AZ combination and a follow-up of at least 9 days was investigated. Endpoints were death, worsening and viral shedding persistence.

Findings

From March 3rd to April 9th, 2020, 59,655 specimens from 38,617 patients were tested for COVID-19 by PCR. Of the 3,165 positive patients placed in the care of our institute, 1061 previously unpublished patients met our inclusion criteria. Their mean age was 43.6 years old and 492 were male (46.4%). No cardiac toxicity was observed. A good clinical outcome and virological cure was obtained in 973 patients within 10 days (91.7%). Prolonged viral carriage at completion of treatment was observed in 47 patients (4.4%) and was associated to a higher viral load at diagnosis (p < 10-2 ) but viral culture was negative at day 10 and all but one were PCR-cleared at day 15. A poor outcome was observed for 46 patients (4.3%); 10 were transferred to intensive care units, 5 patients died (0.47%) (74-95 years old) and 31 required 10 days of hospitalization or more. Among this group, 25 patients are now cured and 16 are still hospitalized (98% of patients cured so far). Poor clinical outcome was significantly associated to older age (OR 1.11), initial higher severity (OR 10.05) and low 2 hydroxychloroquine serum concentration. In addition, both poor clinical and virological outcomes were associated to the use of selective beta-blocking agents and angiotensin II receptor blockers (P<0.05). Mortality was significantly lower in patients who had received > 3 days of HCQ-AZ than in patients treated with other regimens both at IHU and in all Marseille public hospitals (p< 10-2 ).

Interpretation

The HCQ-AZ combination, when started immediately after diagnosis, is a safe and efficient treatment for COVID-19, with a mortality rate of 0.5%, in elderly patients. It avoids worsening and clears virus persistence and contagiosity in most cases.
Raoult on Friday was also visited by French President Emmanuel Macron.


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