The director of the IHU, however, persists in supporting the effectiveness of his treatment combining the drug with an antibiotic, azithromycin.
Has hydroxychloroquine lost its main promoter? In a letter published on January 4 on the National Center for Biotechnology Information website, the team of Professor Didier Raoult admitted that the antimalarial drug did not reduce the mortality of Covid-19. Conclusion to which the WHO had already arrived six months ago, justifying at the time the cessation of all the clinical trials in progress.
The director of the Institut hospitalo-universitaire (IHU) Méditerranée Infection in Marseille thus looks back on his trial carried out last March on 42 patients. Among them, 16 of whom had been treated with hydroxychloroquine, 8 with the hydroxychloroquine-azithromycin combination, the other 18 having received nothing. “The oxygen therapy needs, transfer to intensive care and death did not differ significantly between the groups”, wrote the team of the Marseille professor in its new note.
Some of his detractors wanted to see this sentence as an admission of failure. Like the epidemiologist Thibault Fiolet of the University of Paris-Saclay who, in a tweet widely relayed throughout the weekend, exclaimed: “Unbelievable ! Professor Raoult who himself writes that their first non-randomized clinical trial (patients chosen by lot, Editor’s note) shows that hydroxychloroquine has NO efficacy on mortality or in reducing referral to intensive care. ”
We never changed our mind
Professor Didier Raoult
Far from there. The person quickly attracted the wrath of close collaborators of the Marseille professor on the social network. Yanis Roussel, in charge of communications for the IHU in Marseille, reminded him that the conclusions of the study in question did not relate to mortality but to viral load. “Those who use this letter to make believe that Didier Raoult would have changed his mind know very well that this is not what is written there. Once again, they are showing bad faith in the political struggle they have been leading, God knows why, for a year “, he adds.
Although opposed to the use of the drug against Covid-19, David Hajage, biostatistician at La Pitié Salpêtrière Hospital, himself acknowledged, still on Twitter, that his colleague’s conclusion was a little hasty: “I am a little divided on this presentation. Didier Raoult neither concludes nor admits the ineffectiveness of his association. ” The latter persists and signs. “We never changed our mind”, he reaffirmed this Monday in a tweet.
Professor Raoult has made public several studies which, according to him, prove the effectiveness of hydroxychloroquine, a derivative of chloroquine usually used to treat autoimmune diseases such as lupus, associated with an antibiotic, azithromycin, administered as early as the onset of symptoms. But many scientists and the World Health Organization criticized them, saying the studies had not been conducted according to standard scientific protocols.
According to the Recovery clinical trial carried out last spring by the British University of Oxford, hydroxychloroquine “No beneficial effect” in matters of Covid-19. Another study, conducted more recently by the Angers University Hospital on a sample of 250 patients, reached the same conclusion. The study was initially to include 1,300 patients with Covid-19, in order to “Close the debate” on the effectiveness of hydroxychloroquine.
The use of the drug has largely gone beyond the scientific field to become the subject of a political debate throughout the world divisive in public opinion, giving rise to violent clashes, especially on social networks.
SEE ALSO – After supporting Didier Raoult, Michel Onfray explains why he did not treat his Covid-19 with hydroxychloroquine