Reply to Gautret et al: hydroxychloroquine sulfate and azithromycin for COVID-19: what is the evidence and what are the risks?
Machiels JD., Bleeker-Rovers CP., Ter Heine R., Rahamat-Langendoen J., de Mast Q., Ten Oever J., Bousema T., van Crevel R., Wertheim HF.
The severity of COVID-19 has resulted in a global rush to find the right antiviral treatment to conquer the pandemic and to treat patients. This requires reliable studies to support treatment. In a recently published study by Gautret et al. the authors concluded that hydroxychloroquine monotherapy and hydroxychloroquine in combination with azithromycin reduced viral load. However, this trial has several major methodological issues, including the design, outcome measure and the statistical analyses. In this paper we discuss the background, clinical evidence, pharmacology and methodological issues related to this clinical trial. We understand the rush to release results, however in case conclusions are far reaching the evidence needs to be robust.