Am J Trop Med Hyg. 2020 Aug 14. doi: 10.4269/ajtmh.20-0873. Online ahead of print.
The COVID-19 pandemic is showing an exponential growth, mandating an urgent need to develop an effective treatment. Indeed, to date, a well-established therapy is still lacking. We aimed to evaluate the safety and efficacy of hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) added to standard care in patients with COVID-19. This was a multicenter, randomized controlled trial conducted at three major university hospitals in Egypt. One hundred ninety-four patients with confirmed diagnosis of COVID-19 were included in the study after signing informed consent. They were equally randomized into two arms: 97 patients administrated HCQ plus standard care (HCQ group) and 97 patients administered only standard care as a control arm (control group). The primary endpoints were recovery within 28 days, need for mechanical ventilation, or death. The two groups were matched for age and gender. There was no significant difference between them regarding any of the baseline characteristics or laboratory parameters. Four patients (4.1%) in the HCQ group and 5 (5.2%) patients in the control group needed mechanical ventilation (P = 0.75). The overall mortality did not differ between the two groups, as six patients (6.2%) died in the HCQ group and 5 (5.2%) died in the control group (P = 0.77). Univariate logistic regression analysis showed that HCQ treatment was not significantly associated with decreased mortality in COVID-19 patients. So, adding HCQ to standard care did not add significant benefit, did not decrease the need for ventilation, and did not reduce mortality rates in COVID-19 patients.