A new study has found that the use of weight-adjusted hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) and azithromycin (AZM) improved the survival of ventilated COVID-19 patients by nearly 200 percent.
The researchers found that when the HCQ–AZM combination was given at higher dosages to treat ventilated COVID-19 patients, the risk of death was about three times lower.
"We found that when the cumulative doses of two drugs, HCQ and AZM, were above a certain level, patients had a survival rate 2.9 times the other patients," the authors of the study noted.
"By using causal analysis and considering of weight-adjusted cumulative dose, we prove the combined therapy, >3 g HCQ and > 1g AZM greatly increases survival in COVID patients on IMV and that HCQ cumulative dose > 80 mg/kg works substantially better."
While the authors acknowledged that patients with higher doses of HCQ had higher doses of AZM, they "cannot solely attribute the causal effect to HCQ/AZM combination therapy."
"However, it is likely AZM does contribute significantly to this increase in survival rate. Since higher dose HCQ/AZM therapy improves survival by nearly 200 [percent] in this population, the safety data are moot," they added.
Hydroxychloroquine—an anti-inflammatory and anti-malarial drug—has been one of the most contested treatments for COVID-19 throughout the pandemic.
The drug was approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 1955 to treat and prevent malaria. It's also prescribed for lupus and rheumatoid arthritis.
The FDA's turnabout came on the heels of a study by Oxford University in the United Kingdom that found HCQ underperformed its routine treatment protocols.