UK Study Deems Donald Trump’s ‘Game-Changer’ COVID-19 Drug, Hydroxychloroquine, Ineffective

President Donald Trump looks on during an event recognizing the Wounded Warrior Project Soldier Ride in 2018.
Drew Angerer / Getty Images

A major clinical trial in the United Kingdom has concluded that hydroxychloroquine — which President Donald Trump once touted by as a “game-changer” in the fight against COVID-19 — offers “no clinical benefit” as a treatment for infection, according to preliminary findings published by the Randomised Evaluation of COVID-19 Therapy (RECOVERY) Trial on Friday.

In a joint statement, Chief Investigators and Oxford Professors Peter Horby and Martin Landray concluded that hydroxychloroquine was ineffective in treating the virus in hospitalized patients, and indicated that they would cease enrolling new participants in that arm of the RECOVERY Trial.

“We have concluded that there is no beneficial effect of hydroxychloroquine in patients hospitalized with COVID-19. We have therefore decided to stop enrolling participants to the hydroxychloroquine arm of the RECOVERY Trial with immediate effect. We are now releasing the preliminary results as they have important implications for patient care and public health.”

Of the 11,000 total participants in the RECOVERY Trial, 1,542 patients were randomized to hydroxychloroquine treatment, compared to 3,132 who were randomized to standard care without the drug. After 28 days in the hospital, nearly 26 percent of patients receiving the hydroxychloroquine had died, while standard-care patients registered a 23.5-percent mortality rate.

According to Landray, the preliminary results of the trial should effectively rule out hydroxychloroquine as a viable COVID-19 treatment.

“Today’s preliminary results from the RECOVERY Trial are quite clear – hydroxychloroquine does not reduce the risk of death among hospitalised patients with this new disease… This result should change medical practice worldwide and demonstrates the importance of large, randomized trials to inform decisions about both the efficacy and the safety of treatments.”

In the U.S., President Trump introduced the anti-malarial drug into the national COVID-19 discussion via Twitter in March, espousing its benefits as a treatment for the novel coronavirus. In the tweet, he said that hydroxychloroquine — specifically taken in tandem with the antibiotic azithromycin — had a chance to be a historical achievement in medicine. The president implored the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to approve the treatment.

More recently, Trump revealed that he had actually been taking the drug himself — a move that has been criticized by certain health experts and political rivals alike — in spite of the fact that multiple studies had shown it to be ineffective as a treatment for the virus. Some such studies cited a risk of serious, potentially fatal cardiovascular complications related to use of the drug.

As reported by The Inquisitr on May 27, Dr. Anthony Fauci — the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director, and a key member of Trump’s coronavirus task force — made remarks similar to those of the RECOVERY Trial’s chief investigators, saying that hydroxychloroquine was an ineffective and perhaps even dangerous treatment.