(Reuters) – A malaria drug taken by US President Donald Trump to prevent COVID-19 has shown no benefit over placebo in reducing coronavirus infection among healthcare professionals, according to published clinical trial results. Wednesday.
The study largely confirms the results of a clinical study in June that showed hydroxychloroquine was ineffective in preventing infection among people exposed to the new coronavirus.
Trump began supporting hydroxychloroquine at the start of the pandemic and told reporters in May that he began taking the drug after two White House staff members tested positive for COVID-19. Studies have found that the drug offers little benefit as a treatment.
In the study of 125 participants, four who had taken hydroxychloroquine as a preventive treatment for eight weeks contracted COVID-19 and four with placebo tested positive for the virus.
All eight were asymptomatic or had mild symptoms that didn’t require hospitalization, according to findings published in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine.
Research shows that routine use of the drug cannot be recommended to healthcare professionals to prevent COVID-19, University of Pennsylvania researchers said.
The authors of the study said it is possible that a study conducted in a community with a higher prevalence of the disease could detect a greater benefit from the drug.
In the latest study, which ended before it could reach the enrollment goal of 200 participants, mild side effects such as diarrhea were more common in participants taking the malaria drug than placebo.