Did a new study just show that hydroxychloroquine lowers COVID-19 deaths?!
Take a look at the viral claim, and find out what the facts really are!
Claim : Study Shows Hydroxychloroquine Lowers COVID-19 Deaths!
Some people are sharing an article by The Epoch Times, which claimed / suggested that a new study showed that hydroxychloroquine is associated with lower COVID-19 deaths. Here is an excerpt from that article by The Epoch Times:
Truth : Study Does Not Show Hydroxychloroquine Lowers COVID-19 Deaths!
Let’s take a closer look at the new French study, and find out why it does not show that hydroxychloroquine really lowers COVID-19 deaths!
Fact #1 : Only First Study Was Withdrawn
First, I should point out that The Epoch Times article appears to be conflating two different studies of the same database of COVID-19 patients in France.
- Early Treatment with Hydroxychloroquine and Azithromycin: A ‘Real-World’ Monocentric Retrospective Cohort Study of 30,423 COVID-19 Patients
by Matthieu Million et. al. (archive link)
Preprint posted on 4 April 2023
Withdrawn on 7 June 2023
- Outcomes after early treatment with hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin: An analysis of a database of 30,423 COVID-19 patients
by Philippe Brouqui et. al. (archive link)
Article posted on 30 October 2023
The first study was not peer-reviewed and was withdrawn by its authors who said that it should not be cited as reference for the project. The second study is by a different set of authors (with some from the first study), but was not withdrawn.
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Fact #2 : Study Looked At All Cause Mortality
Despite claims that the French study showed that hydroxychloroquine was “associated” with lower COVID-19 mortality (deaths), that was not what the study actually showed.
Instead of looking at COVID-19 deaths (mortality), the study authors chose to look at “all-cause mortality”. This is odd, because they had access to their medical records and pharmacy files, and a wealth of information including :
- age range and gender
- whether the patient was treated as outpatient / inpatient, or had ICU treatment
- whether the patient received HCQ (hydroxychloroquine), AZ (azithromycin), or IVM (ivermectin)
- COVID-19 virus variant
- time of death
- vaccination status
- co-morbidities like obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, asthma, cancer, etc.
Why did this study look at “all-cause mortality” instead of “COVID-19 mortality”? Are we interested in whether hydroxychloroquine can cure COVID-19, or are we trying to see if it can cure common causes of death?
I’m sure it would be interesting to know that hydroxychloroquine may potentially be an elixir of immortality against common causes of death like heart disease, cancer, sepsis, stroke, accidents.
But the study, as it stands, does not tell us anything about hydroxychloroquine lowering the risk of COVID-19 deaths.
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Fact #3 : Study Only Looked At First Six Weeks
For some reason, the study authors chose to only look at all-cause mortality within the first six weeks of a COVID-19 diagnosis.
Why six weeks? Do COVID-19 infections magically disappear after that? Not that we know of…
Why set a cut-off point at all? Why not just look at whether the patient survived COVID-19 with hydroxychloroquine, ivermectin or regular treatment, period?
Fact #4 : RCTs Show Hydroxychloroquine Don’t Work
The study itself also pointed out that major randomised controlled trials (RCTs) like the RECOVERY and SOLIDARITY trials show that hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) does not reduce mortality in COVID-19 patients.
It attempts to dismiss both trials as “late treatment trials” as randomisation occurred upon hospital admission, and that they used very high doses of HCQ – four times higher than the “recommended dose”.
The problem is – the French study does not itself show that their patients were receiving HCQ much earlier, or that they were even receiving the “recommended dose” of 600 mg.
There is no recommended dose of hydroxychloroquine for COVID-19. Its use in the RCT and French studies were “off-label”. So I really have no idea where this 600 mg dose is based on. The study authors did not appear to justify the use of this 600 mg “recommended dose”.
Even though the study claims that all 30K+ patients took 600 mg of HCQ per day, there is really no way to be sure of that because it was a retrospective study, and not a randomised controlled trial. In fact, there’s no way to know if they even took the drugs regularly, if at all.
Fact #5 : Study Shows Ivermectin Don’t Work
Interestingly, the French study actually showed that ivermectin slightly increased the risk of dying from ALL-CAUSES of death. I wonder why the study authors did not point that out…
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