Source: Zwolle News
The anti-malarial drug hydroxychloroquine leads to significantly better results in COVID-19 patients in the nursing ward than previously thought. The chance of transfer to the ICU is 53 percent lower than in patients who received no treatment. This is shown by national retrospective research among 1064 patients. Dr. Jolanda Lammers and Dr. Paul Groeneveld, researchers and internist infectiologists in Isala, Zwolle, speak of a surprising result.
When the COVID-19 pandemic broke out, clear guidelines for treating the virus were lacking. In some Dutch hospitals, patients were prescribed hydroxychloroquine, in other clinics chloroquine was chosen. Because the effectiveness of these agents had not been demonstrated, some doctors chose not to prescribe them.
This variation in medication policy was reason enough for Lammers and Groeneveld to review the three treatment strategies. Their national call to fellow infectiologists to share data from clinical COVID-19 patients received a striking response. As many as fourteen hospitals (from general and top clinical to academic and spread across the country) were willing to share their data. During the corona outbreak, every doctor was left empty-handed. Precisely because everyone wants the best for this patient category, we received full cooperation nationwide, ‘the researchers say.
The necessary data was collected in April and May. It concerns all relevant medical values, such as body temperature, lab results, amount of oxygen administered, treatment strategy, time to transfer to IC and mortality. All of this data was processed by two medical students and analyzed by senior research scientist Richard Brohet.
In June and July Lammers and Groeneveld studied the results and formulated conclusions based on them. Now the study has been accepted for publication in a scientific journal. First of all, it appears that an average of 18 percent of the COVID-19 patients on the ward died and that 14 percent were transferred to the ICU. Lammers and Groeneveld conclude that hydroxychloroquine – contrary to previous reports – is indeed effective against the COVID-19 virus. The patients treated with hydroxychloroquine went to the ICU significantly less often.
They expect that their remarkable research results, which have now been confirmed by American researchers, will lead to a new national or global treatment strategy. In addition, they argue for additional (prospective) research that can support their conclusions.
Lammers and Groeneveld managed to complete their research in a very short period of time. ‘We worked day and night to prepare a solid manuscript. That was top sport. ” emphasize the researchers, who are proud of the end result. Their motivation was and is the patient. “We would like to make a scientific contribution that gives direction to the treatment of COVID-19 patients, especially now that the second wave has started.”
They were only able to complete this study thanks to the generous cooperation of fourteen Dutch hospitals *. “Their input and feedback were invaluable.” The support from the Isala Academy also deserves a mention. ‘The help in the form of a research scientist and a statistician was indispensable. This research is a joint achievement. ”