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0 0.5 1 1.5 2+ Case -56% Improvement Relative Risk HCQ for COVID-19  Laplana et al.  Prophylaxis Is pre-exposure prophylaxis with HCQ beneficial for COVID-19? Retrospective 638 patients in Spain More cases with HCQ (not stat. sig., p=0.24) Laplana et al., PLOS ONE, September 2020 Favors HCQ Favors control

Lack of protective effect of chloroquine derivatives on COVID-19 disease in a Spanish sample of chronically treated patients

Laplana et al., PLOS ONE, doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0243598
Sep 2020  
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Survey of 319 autoimmune disease patients taking CQ/HCQ with 5.3% COVID-19 incidence, compared to a control group from the general population (matched on age, sex, and region, but not adjusted for autoimmune disease), with 3.4% incidence.
It not clear why authors did not compare with autoimmune patients not on CQ/HCQ. Other research shows that the risk of COVID-19 for systemic autoimmune disease patients is much higher overall, Ferri et al. show OR 4.42, p<0.001 Ferri, which is the observed real-world risk, taking into account factors such as these patients potentially being more careful to avoid exposure. If we adjust for the different baseline risk, the result becomes RR 0.36, p<0.001, suggesting a substantial benefit for HCQ/CQ treatment (as shown in other studies).
There may also be significant survey bias - those experiencing COVID-19 may be more likely to respond to the survey.
Authors note that they "could not eliminate completely the possibility of some bias due to the intrinsic condition of the individuals within the treatment group that are undergoing chloroquine or derivative drug treatment due to other diseases that alter their health status and may have different comorbidities", however they could account for one significant bias by comparing with matched autoimmune disease patients. This study is excluded in the after exclusion results of meta analysis: not fully adjusting for the different baseline risk of systemic autoimmune patients.
risk of case, 56.0% higher, RR 1.56, p = 0.24, treatment 17 of 319 (5.3%), control 11 of 319 (3.4%).
Effect extraction follows pre-specified rules prioritizing more serious outcomes. Submit updates
Laplana et al., 9 Sep 2020, retrospective, Spain, peer-reviewed, survey, 3 authors.
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Lack of protective effect of chloroquine derivatives on COVID-19 disease in a Spanish sample of chronically treated patients
Marina Laplana, Oriol Yuguero, Joan Fibla
PLOS ONE, doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0243598
Background The search for a SARS-CoV-2 treatment has emerged as a worldwide priority. We evaluated the role of chloroquine and its derivatives in COVID-19 in Spanish individuals. Methods We performed a survey addressed to patients regularly taking chloroquine and its derivatives for the control of their autoimmune diseases. The survey was distributed with special attention to Spanish patient associations centred on autoimmune diseases and rheumatology and to the general population. A sample of untreated subjects was matched to the treated group according to sex, age range and incidence region. COVID-19 disease prevalence was compared between treated and untreated-matched control sample. Results A total of 319 surveys of patients regularly taking chloroquine and its derivatives were recovered for further analysis. The prevalence of declared COVID-19 status in the treated group was 5.3% and the mean prevalence among the untreated-matched groups was 3.4%. A community exposition to COVID-19 was associated with a greater prevalence of COVID-19 in both, treated (17.0% vs. 3.2%; p-value<0.001) and untreated groups (13.4% vs. 1.1%; pvalue = 0.027). Conclusion We did not find differences of reported COVID-19 cases between treated and untreated groups, indicating a lack of protection by regular administration of chloroquine and its derivative drugs on COVID-19 infection. Of relevance, data indicates that patients that regularly take chloroquine derivatives are exposed to SARS-CoV-2 infection and must take the same protection measures as the general population.
Actualizacio ´n, Centro de Coordinacio ´n de Alertas y Emergencias Sanitarias. Direccio ´n general de salud pu ´blica, calidad e innovacio ´n
Boulware, Pullen, Bangdiwala, Pastick, Lofgren et al., A Randomized Trial of Hydroxychloroquine as Postexposure Prophylaxis for Covid-19, N Engl J Med
Devaux, Rolain, Colson, Raoult, New insights on the antiviral effects of chloroquine against coronavirus: what to expect for COVID-19?, Int J Antimicrob Agents, doi:10.1016/j.ijantimicag.2020.105938
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Please send us corrections, updates, or comments. Vaccines and treatments are complementary. All practical, effective, and safe means should be used based on risk/benefit analysis. No treatment, vaccine, or intervention is 100% available and effective for all current and future variants. We do not provide medical advice. Before taking any medication, consult a qualified physician who can provide personalized advice and details of risks and benefits based on your medical history and situation. FLCCC and WCH provide treatment protocols.
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