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Scientific result | Highlight | Infectious diseases | Virus
For their study published in Nature Communications, the group of scientific experts reviewed the various tests done with these compounds in in vitro and in vivo models of SARS-CoV-2. Despite earlier in vitro results determined in cell lines, the international team found that neither CQ nor HCQ were efficacious against the infection.
As part of the global response to the COVID-19
pandemic, the World Health Organization called upon a number of scientific
experts, including Roger Le Grand (IDMIT/CEA-Jacob), to create an international
work group for sharing scientific data, mutualizing R&D efforts,
accelerating the development and production of novel COVID-19 diagnostics,
therapies and vaccines, and ensuring equal access to them1.
Among the work group's initial reflections was to
reconsider a range of medicines authorized at least temporarily for COVID-19
treatment. Among those treatments, chloroquine (CQ) and hydroxychloroquine
(HCQ) stood out for the numerous in vitro and in vivo tests done
HCQ and CQ are both
used to prevent and treat malaria in world regions where the disease is
endemic. Because of their anti-inflammatory properties, these compounds are
also used to treat autoimmune disorders such as lupus or rheumatoid arthritis.
During the Ebola virus disease (EVD) epidemic in western Africa, they garnered
a great amount of media attention after several studies reported a possible
association between CQ treatment and improved EVD symptomatology. With the
COVID-19 pandemic, CQ and HCQ again entered the limelight as possible treatments
against SARS-CoV-2 infection, leading to a number of clinical trials either
completed or underway.
In their article published in Nature Communications,
the work group's scientists underlined the results of multiple studies
suggesting that CQ and HCQ should have never been considered as efficacious
treatments for COVID-19. Some of those studies were supervised by laboratories
for which the experts worked. The associated projects deployed various
experimental models of SARS-CoV-2 infection :
The data reviewed by the team indicated that chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine likely provide no clinical benefit against COVID-19. The authors of the article proposed thus to move on and explore new options within the strategy of repositioning specific treatments to find new possibilities for COVID-19 therapeutics.
1 : WHO : Public statement for collaboration on COVID-19 vaccine development
Emerging preclinical evidence
does not support broad use of hydroxychloroquine in COVID-19 patients I Nature Communications
CEA is a French government-funded technological research organisation in four main areas: low-carbon energies, defense and security, information technologies and health technologies. A prominent player in the European Research Area, it is involved in setting up collaborative projects with many partners around the world.