A team of doctors from the Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER) have published a meta-analysis study on the use of Hydrochloquine (HCQ) in treatment of Covid-19 patients.
Published in the Journal of Medical Virology, the peer reviewed study combined existing data on the efficacy of HCQ in treating Covid-19 patients to find that though the drug provides some symptomatic relief, it has no impact on the viral load in the body of the patient.
The study has been published in the backdrop of a raging global debate on the efficacy of HCQ. Most recently, a study which suggested that HCQ had no observable benefits and rather increased incidences of heart rate irregularities in patients was withdrawn by The Lancet after the legitimacy of the research conducted by the authors came under global scrutiny.
The meta-analysis conducted by PGIMER doctors, led by Dr Bikash Medhi from the Department of Pharmacology combined data from already published studies and analysed it to draw conclusions. The doctors concluded in the study that “we can expect benefits in terms of time to body temperature normalisation and a number of cough days” but no difference was made by the drug in terms of decreasing the virological load.
In medical terms, this means that the drug can potentially provide a clinical cure to the disease but not a virological one. Furthermore, the researchers also analysed data on the effect of using HCQ in combination with the antibiotic drug Azythromycin but found that they would need more data to determine something conclusive about its use.
However, the researchers also acknowledge the limitations of the study, stating that they had access to “a limited number of studies with a limited number of participants and three studies being reported from the same group.”
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