An Italian study found that hospitalized coronavirus patients who took anti-malaria drug hydroxychloroquine combined with azithromycin were 66% less likely to die.
Science Direct reports that the study also indicates a “larger effectiveness of hydroxychloroquine in patients with less severe COVID-19 disease.”
The study involved 539 coronavirus patients who were hospitalized in Milan between Feb 24-May 17. Of those patients, the study noted that 174 died in the hospital.
Some of the patients were divided into groups. One group of patients received hydroxychloroquine one day after they were admitted to the hospital. Another group received hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin. A third group received neither drug. The percent of death in the 3 groups was 27%, 23% and 51%, respectively, according to the study results.
Mechanical ventilation was used in 4.3% of the patients who took hydroxychloroquine, 14.2% of patients who took both drugs and 26.1% of the control group of patients, the study reports.
The study excluded people who were taking other medications that could have biased the effect of hydroxychloroquine.
Researchers write that they “question whether hydroxychloroquine should be further tested.”
They also state that additional studies should look into when it is best to start treatment.
The use of the drug has been heavily debated. Some studies have shown the drug to be effective in treating the virus while others have halted studies after finding it is ineffective and can be dangerous and lead to cardiovascular issues. The Food and Drug Administration revoked its emergency use authorization for hydroxychloroquine on June 15.