Hydroxychloroquine which has since been touted as a solution to coronavirus is not as effective after all, according to an observational study of nearly 100,000 coronavirus patients who received antimalarial drugs-including hydroxychloroquine.
The study found that the patients on whom the drug was applied had an increased risk of death or cardiac issue.
The findings, published yesterday in the medical journal, The Lancet, surveyed 96,000 coronavirus patients across six continents.
It is regarded as the biggest analysis yet of the use of antimalarial drugs to treat Covid-19
The report showed that the risk of death was 34% higher in patients who received hydroxychloroquine.
They also had a 137% higher risk of developing heart arrhythmia.
The risks rose higher for patients who took hydroxychloroquine with an antibiotic:45% risk of death and 411% risk of arrhythmia.
Experts said yesterday that although The Lancet findings emerged only from an analysis of medical records and not from a controlled study, the size of the analysis offers scientists a basis to conclude that the drug can cause more harm than good if used to treat coronavirus.
There is little evidence yet that hydroxychloroquine or chloroquine is effective in the treatment of coronavirus.
Some African countries including Nigeria have, however, warned against resorting to the use of hydroxychloroquine in treating the coronavirus.
The Chairman of the Presidential Task Force, Boss Mustapha, declared in Abuja that the drug had not been certified for use.
Mustapha, who doubles as Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), told reporters in Abuja that reports reaching it from its surveillance system that Nigerians had been purchasing hydroxychloroquine in large quantities to treat the virus.
He said:” We wish to reiterate that this drug has not been certified for use in treating COVID-19 in Nigeria by the relevant health and pharmaceutical authorities.
“Self-medication of any kind is fraught with the danger of increasing risks of avoidable casualties. We, therefore, strongly warn against self-medication.
“If you are sick, please seek medical advice and if you are confirmed positive, kindly self-isolate in an approved facility, the COVID-19 is highly infectious and dangerous.”