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Drug to treat Covid-19 stolen from French hospital

A major hospital in France has had its stocks of hydroxychloroquine stolen by persons unknown.

Published: March 26, 2020, 9:21 am

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    Hydroxychloroquine is a drug that is used to treat malaria. Recent trials have tentatively shown that it is effective against the Coronavirus. Since it is a long-established drug, it can be immediately prescribed against the disease too, without testing.

    Professor Christian Perronne, chief of infectious diseases at Raymond Poincaré university hospital in Garches, confirmed the theft of the drug in an interview with LCI.

    “Unfortunately, the central hospital pharmacy announced today that  it’s totally out of stock, that the stocks have been looted. It’s lamentable, and it’s been looted.”

    On March 9, a team of researchers in China published results showing that hydroxychloroquine was effective. The authors suggested a five-day treatment consisting of two 200-milligram tablets twice a day on the first day followed by one tablet twice a day for four more days.

    A more recent French study used the drug in combination with azithromycin, generally prescribed for upper respiratory infections. The drug alone does not appear to help, and the findings of combination treatment are preliminary.

    But researchers in France treated a small number of patients with both hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin, and 100 percent of them were cured by day six of treatment. Compare that with 57,1 percent of patients treated with hydroxychloroquine alone, and 12,5 percent of patients who received neither.

    On a more positive note, most patients were cured in three to six days rather than the 20 days observed in China. That reduces the time a patient can spread the virus to others.

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