Last updated by The POOG on October 15, 2020.

Background to the Debate

The safety and efficacy of hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) has been under vitriolic attack for purely political and economic reasons.

The first reason is that President Trump came out in support of it. This meant that the Democrats and all interests that want to see Trump defeated this fall have to oppose it immediately and create the impression that it was dangerous and ineffective.

The second and bigger reason is that Big Pharma that pays the representatives to do their bidding, must oppose it because they can’t make any money off of it. HCQ is a generic drug that sells for pennies a dose. Big Pharma wants to peddle a vaccine of questionable efficacy and safety that can potentially be sold for $100 a dose or more to a global population. That amounts to trillions in revenues.

Finally, there are interests that we identify elsewhere on this site, that gain by keeping the pandemic going and using the fear generated, to take legislative steps that allow the control of the population and the reduction of civil liberties.

The Claim

It is important to frame the argument correctly. The claim is that clinical use of HCQ has shown a high efficacy – as much as 90-100% – if:

  1. it is used in combination with azithromycin (brand name Z-Pak) and/or zinc;
  2. it is administered early, either as a prophylaxis before the onset of symptoms, or within the first couple of days after symptoms emerge; and
  3. it is administered in dosage levels commonly used in those clinical applications reporting high efficacy.

No claim of efficacy is made for treatment begun late in the infection for patients who are critically ill.

For a study to invalidate this claim, the study must meet all three conditions. Otherwise such a study is inapplicable to the debate.

In this article, references used will be identified by a number in square brackets, e.g. [1]. Papers cited will be referenced by lead author as in Arshad (2020). Emphasis may be added in quotes to highlight key points.

The following video sums it up if you’re short of time and don”t want to read further.

References [1],[3], and [5] collect many of the reported results and we will not try and reproduce their work here. There are simply too many reports. We will, however, discuss specific papers that we have found and try and summarize reported results.

The History of HCQ

HCQ and its progenitors have been in use for more than four centuries[4]. Early modern use has been as an antimalarial drug[2]. In recent years it has found

routine use in lupus, in patients with an autoimmune coagulopathy, in patients with rheumatoid arthritis, as well as those with a low-level inflammatory arthropathy.

Gold, reference [3]. Also, [2].

It enjoys the endorsement of the ACR and EULAR.

Most recently, it has been used in clinical settings by numerous doctors who can attest to its efficacy. This paper identifies many of the studies and reported results to date.

The efficacy of Chloroquine against coronavirus was recognized in research by Vicent et al. (2005). When this paper was written, Dr. A. S. Fauci was director of the NIAID institute of NIH specially in HIV research. As such he would have been familiar with this research.

Side Effects

under construction

Expert Interviews

Studies Not Supporting the Claim

Some prominent studies were produced that appeared to refute the claim.

Remember Those Studies Linking Hydroxychloroquine to Higher Mortality? They Were Based on Possibly Bogus Data

Conclusion

The clinical evidence is that, used as in the claim for the drug in this article, it is highly effective as a treatment for the disease. This is supported by the large number of reported positive results. as well as by several review studies.

Anyone who states otherwise should be challenged to produce the relevant studies or data. Repeating something attributed to “authorities”, “experts”, or “science” carries no weight without the primary verifiable studies underlying the claim. Unfortunately, this is exactly the approach used by those suffering from ignorance and a lack of critical thinking. For a final word:

Unprocessed References

  1. The Hydroxychloroquine Controversy Is A Reminder That Prescription Laws Are A Government Racket
  2. Lancet Study That Caused WHO To Drop Hydroxychloroquine Trials Falls Under Scrutiny
  3. Observational Study of Hydroxychloroquine in Hospitalized Patients with Covid-19
  4. Treatment with Hydroxychloroquine Cut Death Rate Significantly in COVID-19 Patients, Henry Ford Health System Study Shows
  5. Hydroxychloroquine And Fake News
  6. Veteran Virologist Slams Mainstream Media’s “Misinformation” About An Effective COVID Treatment
  7. Another Highly-Touted Hydroxychloroquine Study Turns Out To Be A Joke
  8. Vindicated? Trump-Touted COVID-19 Drug Hydroxychloroquine Works, New Study Funds
  9. Global Hydroxychloroquine Study To Resume After Positive Trial Results
  10. In Second Blow To Hydroxychloroquine, FDA Warns Against Combining With Remdesivir
  11. The Mysterious Missing Link – Anti-Malaria Drug & Zinc
  12. Yale Epidemiologist: Hydroxychloroquine Should Be ‘Widely Available And Promoted Immediately’ As Standard Treatment
  13. Observational Study of Hydroxychloroquine in Hospitalized Patients with Covid-19
  14. Hydroxychloroquine works in high-risk patients, and saying otherwise is dangerous
  15. FDA cautions against use of hydroxychloroquine or chloroquine for COVID-19 outside of the hospital setting or a clinical trial due to risk of heart rhythm problems
  16. Coronavirus: drug touted by Donald Trump could cause death and heart problems, hydroxychloroquine study finds
  17. Coronavirus: India invites scepticism as it sticks by hydroxychloroquine, Covid treatment backed by Trump
  18. Review: Hydroxychloroquine and Chloroquine for Treatment of SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19)
  19. A Randomized Trial of Hydroxychloroquine as Postexposure Prophylaxis for Covid-19
  20. Open letter to Dr. Anthony Fauci regarding the use of Hydroxychloroquine for treating COVID-19
  21. Countries which Primarily Use Antimalarial Drugs As COVID-19 Treatment See Slower Dynamic of Daily Deaths
  22. Safety of Hydroxychloroquine among Outpatient Clinical Trial Participants for COVID-19
  23. Hydroxychloroquine is Effective and Safe for the Treatment of COVID-19, and May be Universally Effective When Used Early Before Hospitalization: A Systematic Review

References

  1. Global HCQ studies.
  2. Hydroxychloroquine. Drugs.cm.
  3. Medical Studies Support MDs Prescribing Hydroxychloroquine for Early Stage COVID-19 and for Prophylaxis. Vladimir Zelenko, M.D., Harvey A., Risch, M.D., PH.D. and George C. Fareed, M.D.
  4. The Nine Lives of Hydroxychloroquine. Martin J. Bergman, MD, May 11, 2015.
  5. White Paper on Hydroxychloroquine. Dr. Simone Gold, MD, JD.
  6. An Effective COVID Treatment the Media Continues to Besmirch. Steven Hatfill, Real Clear Politics.

Citations

  1. Arshad, S., Kilgore, P., Chaudhry, Z.S. et al. Treatment with hydroxychloroquine, azithromycin, and combination in patients hospitalized with COVID-19. Int. J. Inf. Dis., Volume 97, P396-403, August 01, 2020, DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijid.2020.06.099
  2. Boulware, D.R., Pullen, M.F., Bangdiwala, A.S., et al. Randomized Trial of Hydroxychloroquine as Postexposure Prophylaxis for Covid-19. N Engl J Med June 3, 2020; DOI: 10.1056/NEJMoa2016638.
  3. Carlucci, P., Ahuja, T., Petrilli, C.M., et al. Hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin plus zinc vs hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin alone: outcomes in hospitalized COVID-19 patients. doi: https://doi.org/10.1101/2020.05.02.20080036.
  4. Mikami, T., Miyashita, H., Yamada, T. et al. Risk Factors for Mortality in Patients with COVID-19 in New York City. J GEN INTERN MED (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11606-020-05983-z.
  5. Modjarrad, K., Roberts, C.C., Mills, K.T., et al. Safety and immunogenicity of an anti-Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus DNA vaccine: a phase 1, open-label, single-arm, dose-escalation trial. Lancet Inf Dis Volume 19, ISSUE 9, P1013-1022, September 01, 2019; DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/S1473-3099(19)30266-X
  6. Scholz, M.; Derwand, R.; Zelenko, V. COVID-19 Outpatients – Early Risk-Stratified Treatment with Zinc Plus Low Dose Hydroxychloroquine and Azithromycin: A Retrospective Case Series Study. Preprints 2020, 2020070025 (doi: 10.20944/preprints202007.0025.v1).
  7. te Velthuis, A.J.W., van den Worm, S.H.E., Sims, A.C., et al. Zn2+ Inhibits Coronavirus and Arterivirus RNA Polymerase Activity In Vitro and Zinc Ionophores Block the Replication of These Viruses in Cell Culture. Plos Path. November 4, 2010; DOI 10.1371/journal.ppat.1001176.
  8. Martin J Vincent, Eric Bergeron, Suzanne Benjannet, et al. Chloroquine is a potent inhibitor of SARS coronavirus infection and spread. Virol J. 2005 Aug 22;2:69. doi: 10.1186/1743-422X-2-69.