Publication date: Jul 21, 2020
Over the last few months, coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic caused by the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 has posed a serious threat to public health on a global scale. Given the current lack of an effective vaccine, several drugs have been repurposed for treatment and prophylaxis of COVID-19 in an attempt to find an effective cure.
The antimalarial drug hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) initially garnered widespread attention following the publication of preliminary results showing that this drug exerts an anti-SARS-CoV-2 activity in vitro.
To date, clinical evidence suggests lack of benefit from HCQ use for the treatment of hospitalized patients with COVID-19. In such patients, HCQ also appears to be associated with an increased risk of QT interval prolongation and potentially lethal ventricular arrhythmias. Therefore, FDA has recently revoked the Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) for emergency use of HCQ and chloroquine to treat COVID-19. Conversely, whether HCQ use may represent an effective prophylactic strategy against COVID-19 is a separate question that still remains to be answered. In addition, relevant aspects regarding the potential risks and benefits of HCQ need to be clarified, in pursuit of a rational use of this drug in the COVID-19 pandemic era.