Malaria drug hydroxychloroquine Trump said he has been taking ‘tied to increased risk of DEATH’ in new study – The Sun

THE antimalarial drug touted and taken by President Donald Trump has been tied to an increased risk of death in hospitalized coronavirus patients, a new study has found.

Research published in the medical journal Lancet on Friday revealed that people treated with hydroxychloroquine or the related chloroquine were at a higher risk of death than patients who weren't given the medication.

The study, which wasn't a placebo-controlled trial, examined over 96,000 people hospitalized with COVID-19.

Its authors said they couldn't confirm whether taking the drug resulted in any benefit for coronavirus patients.

"Urgent confirmation from randomized clinical trials is needed," they wrote.

Hospitalized patients typically have a more severe version of the virus, according to Reuters.

Advocates of the drugs as treatment for the infectious disease argue that the medication would have to be taken at an earlier stage in order to be effective.

There are ongoing randomized, controlled clinical trials to study the drug's effectiveness in preventing infection by the coronavirus in addition to treating mild to moderate cases of COVID-19.

Some of these trials could yield results within weeks, according to Reuters.

The authors of the Lancet study suggested that the drugs shouldn't be used to treat coronavirus outside of clinical trials until those studies prove they're safe and efficient for virus-stricken patients to use.

Both hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine have shown signs of being effective against the virus in a lab setting, but studies of the medication in patients have been inconclusive.

The US Food and Drug Administration has warned against the use of the drugs without proper medical supervision.

The FDA has said hydroxychloroquine should only be used for hospitalized coronavirus patients or those in clinical trials because the drug has been associated with dangerous heart rhythm problems.

Trump revealed on Monday he has been taking the antimalarial every day for over a week to stave off the coronavirus.

The president said he'd been taking it for a "couple of weeks" after receiving a letter from a New York doctor who supposedly used it to treat more than 300 COVID-19 patients.

On Wednesday, Trump told journalists he'll finish his prescription for hydroxychloroquine in "about two days" amid concerns over the unproven drug.

He appeared to brush off the concerns and revealed he also took the drug with zinc and claimed that frontline workers and "a lot of doctors" take it.

"Frontline workers take it, a lot of doctors take it, I take it," Trump reasoned.

"I'm not going to get hurt by it, it's been around for 40 years for malaria, for lupus. I'm taking the two – the zinc and the hydroxyl. So far I seem to be okay."

"It's been on the market for 60 or 65 years for malaria, lupus, and other things. I think it gives you an additional level of safety," he insisted.

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Doses of ‘promising’ drug remdesivir to treat 140,000 coronavirus patients can be ‘ready by end of May’ – The Sun

DOSES of the promising drug remdesivir to treat 140,000 coronavirus patients could be ready by the end of May.

Gilead Sciences has said it has capacity to roll out a million doses by the end of the year.

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In a press release announcing Gilead's first quarter earnings they said they were massively expanding ability to manufacture the drug.

They said: "As Gilead continues to work with international partners to expand production…it anticipates more than one million treatment course will be manufactured by December 2020, with plans to be able to produce several million treatment courses in 2021."

The company added it has already begun to ramp up production and could make enough 10-day courses of the drug to treat 140,000 COVID-19 patients by the end of the month.

The drug has been labelled "promising" by UK's Chief Scientific advisor Sir Patrick Vallance.

Early results from a study by the US National Institute of Health suggests the drug could improve the odds of survival for very ill coronavirus patients by as much as 30 per cent.

It could also speed up recovery time from 14 days to 11 days.

Gilead CEO Daniel O'Day said the results were "hope at a time when it is badly needed" in a letter seen by Fox News.

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) plans to give emergency use authorisation for the drug to treat coronavirus patients, according to the New York Times.

Gilead has said the doses able to be manufactured might be even higher if people don't need to be on a 10-day course.

They said: "(The timeline) projections assume a 10-day dosing duration and the number of treatment courses expected to be available may actually be higher based on the recent (results)… which suggest the potential for certain patients to be treated with a shorter dosing duration."

In the study on remdesivir, half of the 397 trial patients sick enough to need oxygen treatment but not ventilation, improved within 10 days of a five-day treatment course.

Those on a 10-day course were better by day 11.

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According to Gilead, more than half the patients were discharged from hospital within two weeks.

But Sir Patrick said people should be cautious about getting too hopeful about the drug.

He said: "It absolutely does hit a particular part of the virus, there are some structures of proteins from the virus, you can show the drug is binding too.

"(The US study) showed a benefit in terms of recovery time by about four days, but did not have a statistically significant affect on deaths."

"There were fewer deaths but they were not statistically significant."

"This is a really promising first step, if you have a drug that binds to a bit of the virus and inhibits it you can get some effect but that effect isn't very large – but it could get bigger."

"It's definitely not a magic bullet."

Chief Medical Officer Chris Whitty echoed Sir Patrick's caution.

He said: "You should always wait to see the published paper that's been peer reviewed.

"Let's see the data and not over-interpret where we are, clearly this is an encouraging first step."

"People often imagine you move suddenly from where you have no treatment or no vaccine to suddenly having treatment or a vaccine

"It happens by incremental steps, you move forward with things steadily improving, sometimes with combinations of drugs."


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Arthritis drug may help fight severe coronavirus cases, study finds

An arthritis drug may actually save lives in severe cases of coronavirus, according to a report.

Tocilizumab — which is sold under the brand names RoAcemtra and Actemra to help treat rheumatoid arthritis — showed “clinical benefit” in patients who had the virus according to an unpublished study conducted by Paris university hospital trust, Canada’s CTV News reported.

The drug was used in a study of 129 patients who had moderate-to-severe viral pneumonia as a result of COVID-19. Half of the patients were given two shots of the medicine — which sells for $870 a dose — along with antibiotics, while the other half were given the normal antibiotic treatment, the outlet reported.

The patients who were given tocilizumab were less likely to die and less likely to need to be put on life support compared to the control group, researchers found.

Tocilizumab may prevent cytokine storms — severe reactions to foreign bodies that causes the immune system to attack healthy cells, researchers found. Cytokine storms occur in severe cases of COVID-19 and can be deadly, CTV News reported.

While the study has not yet been published and further research needs to be done on possible side effects, the hospital released the preliminary results “for public health reasons,” CTV reported.

On Monday, worldwide cases of COVID-19 reached three million. About one third of those are found in the US with cases topping 1 million Tuesday.

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