The race for cures: “caution” with the chloroquine

La course aux remèdes: «prudence» avec la chloroquine

Even if Donald Trump and a French scientist are promoting it for weeks now, there is no indication yet that chloroquine, a drug used to treat malaria, it is really effective to treat patients with the COVID-19, prevents a key advisor to the government of Quebec.

“When you look at the scientific data, as of today, we do not have sufficient data to enable us to conclude and recommend to the minister and to the quebec physicians to use hydroxychloroquine or chloroquine for the treatment or prevention of patients with the COVID,” explains Dr. Luc Boileau.

This physician directs the Institut national d’excellence en santé et en services sociaux (INESSS), the authority to recommend to the minister of Health to register a drug to treat a medical condition.

At most, the use of chloroquine is it now permitted in research protocols or in ” very special cases “, in a hospital, after assessment by the teams of care, ” says Dr. Boileau.

It also heals arthritis

INESSS has come to this conclusion after a review of the scientific literature by professionals and consultation to many medical experts.

“History is filled with promising success, which vanished. It doesn’t mean that it disqualifies everything. But you have to be diligent, ” advises Dr. Boileau. He even calls it an “extreme caution” regarding the conclusions.

Chloroquine and its cousin, hydroxychloroquine, have been known for a long time and used against malaria or to treat rheumatic diseases like lupus and arthritis.

But the recent crusade by the famous professor Didier Raoult, France, and its echo on this side of the Atlantic, in the mouth of the president of the United States, Donald Trump, have put the spotlight on the chloroquine.

Not yet enough studies

“There is a wind of positivism, which is installed around this molecule “, should be the parton of INESSS, ” but robust studies are not yet at the rendezvous “. The results of various researches conducted recently, including one published in the New England Journal of Medicine, point rather to the absence of positive effects on patients with the COVID-19.

Serious side effects have also been identified, the most serious being cardiac arrest and death.

In these circumstances, Dr. Boileau regretted the words of Donald Trump, who believes that chloroquine ” is changing the rules of the game “.

“We can not propose solutions to the cookie-cutter people, and send a signal simplistic like that without having a pullback to see whether or not there is a strength in science,” he said.

Current studies are in the 4 corners of the world

Some countries prescribe, Donald Trump has spoken of a “gift of God” ; chloroquine is now studied in all its seams, while the world hopes for a solution to the health crisis of the COVID-19.

Research is accelerating, everywhere on the planet, to try to determine if the drug, an antimalarial drug that was relatively common and inexpensive, can help treat the symptoms of the disease coronavirus.

The Quebec “hope” that future studies will demonstrate its effectiveness and efficiency and ” will bring a solution that works for some people “, but considers that it does not have data enough evidence for the moment, said the CEO of the national Institute of excellence in health care and social services, Dr. Luc Boileau.

The drug has been projected to the forefront thanks to the studies – criticised – by Dr. Didier Raoult, France, which led to the conclusion that he could assist the patients to wear better. But the low sampling of the first study, and the lack of a control group (placebo) in the second, have raised doubts within the scientific community.

Dead in Brazil

Recently, a clinical trial carried out in Brazil has been halted due to the emergence of a significant side effect in patients receiving a high dose : severe arrhythmia which led to the death of over 15 people.

Among the countries that allow the use of chloroquine, include China, Korea, Italy, Belgium and France. Other, Countries such as the netherlands, Quebec and the United States, to regulate strictly its use in the hospital environment.

In the United States, the decision of the Food and Drug Administration to issue a notice authorizing the emergency use of chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine for some hospitalized patients has raised some eyebrows.

Experts have suggested that the FDA would have been able to bend to political pressure, then that the president Trump made the apology of the treatment for several days.

At the end of march, a couple from Arizona has been hospitalized after ingesting too high a dose of chloroquine. He had heard from the president at a press conference to boast the drug. The man is dead.

Chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine



Trade names

  • Nivaquine or Resochin and Plaquenil


  • Malaria, lupus, rheumatoid arthritis

According to several studies, the drug to exert its antiviral effects by limiting the multiplication of several viruses, including coronavirus

Side effects

  • Hypoglycemia
  • Degeneration visual
  • Heart rhythm disorders

This thinks of that the doc Béliveau

Chloroquine : ” A good example of the importance of letting the science take its course. The side effects of treatment can be very serious (sudden cardiac death) and it is necessary to take the time to study the medicine with clinical trials well supervised. “

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