Hydroxychloroquine in the prevention of COVID-19 mortality


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COVID-19 has affected tens of millions of individuals across the globe and upended the lives of countless others. Despite advances in supportive care and treatment, mortality remains high, and prevention of infection continues to be crucial. Early on in the pandemic, hydroxychloroquine was suggested as a possible prevention method or treatment for COVID-19, given evidence of in-vitro inhibition of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2),
propelling this mainstay treatment of rheumatic diseases to prominence and controversy. However, multiple high-quality studies subsequently showed no benefit of hydroxychloroquine use as post-exposure prophylaxis or as a COVID-19 treatment.

As enthusiasm for hydroxychloroquine as a treatment of SARS-CoV-2 infection rapidly declined, the possibility of the use of this medication to prevent COVID-19 remained, with multiple randomised clinical trials designed to address this possibility. Furthermore, with the spotlight shone on hydroxychloroquine with regard to COVID-19, patients with rheumatic diseases and their care providers have been highly interested as to whether this commonly used medication for systemic lupus erythematosus and rheumatoid arthritis could protect against adverse outcomes of COVID-19.

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On Dr, Zelenko:

His treatment was endorsed by then-president Donald Trump, who said in May 2020 that he had started taking hydroxychloroquine against the coronavirus after Zelenko had brought it to his attention.

Zelenko had developed the “Zelenko Protocol,” an experimental treatment for COVID-19 — consisting of the anti-malarial medication hydroxychloroquine, the antibiotic azithromycin, and zinc sulfate — and claimed to have successfully treated hundreds of patients using the three-drug combination over the course of five days.
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