The Journal of the American Medical Association published the results from the blinded, placebo-controlled, randomized trial.
The clinical trial, known as the “ORCHID” study, treated 479 symptomatic COVID-19 patients with hydroxychloroquine in 34 hospitals in the U.S. Clinical trial volunteers received either 10 doses of hydroxychloroquine or a placebo for five days. Researchers then evaluated their clinical status 14 days after the completion of the treatment phase.
Researchers found that the placebo and hydroxychloroquine arms had similar trial outcomes, which took place from April 2 and June 19, 2020. The findings “do not support the use of hydroxychloroquine for treatment of COVID-19 among hospitalized adults,” the study authors concluded.
Hydroxychloroquine, an anti-malarial drug, had come into prominence earlier this year after in vitro studies showed promise against the novel coronavirus. By April, U.S. President Trump began advocating hydroxychloroquine as a COVID-19 treatment.
Clinical evidence regarding the drug was less promising. One study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, for instance, found that hospitalized COVID-19 patients treated with the medication were slightly less likely to be discharged from the hospital than patients receiving the standard of care.
The White House would later order that HHS add 23 million hydroxychloroquine tablets to the Strategic National Stockpile as a potential COVID-19 treatment. The President reportedly pressured the FDA to grant an EUA for the drug, which the agency later revoked.