KEY POINTS

  • The French government had consulted Professor Didier Raoult to research on possible treatments for the deadly virus
  • The professor announced that he used drug chloroquine, normally used to treat malaria, to treat 24 patients who volunteered for the process
  • Biopharma company Bayer is preparing a large donation of chloroquine to help fight COVID-19

A French researcher announced that his COVID-19 drug trial was successful.

The French government had consulted Professor Didier Raoult, the head of l'Institut Hospitalo-Universitaire Méditerranée Infection, to research on possible treatments for the deadly virus.

On Monday, the professor announced that he used drug chloroquine, normally used to treat malaria, to treat 24 patients who volunteered for the process. The drug was administered via the drug Plaquenil for 10 days and the patients were closely monitored. He announced that the trial was successful as the drug helped in speeding up the healing process. The drug also decreased the amount of time the virus remained contagious.

“We included everyone who was in agreement [to be treated], which was almost everyone. Two towns in the protocol, Nice and Avignon, gave us [infected] patients who had not yet received treatment,” Professor Raoult said.

“We were able to ascertain that patients who had not received Plaquenil were still contagious after six days, but of those that had received Plaquenil, after six days, only 25% were still contagious,” he added.

Meanwhile, reports stated that Biopharma company Bayer was preparing a large donation of chloroquine to help fight COVID-19.

On the other hand, the World Health Organization on Wednesday announced that it will launch a multinational trial to search for drugs that can treat coronavirus. A total of 10 countries including Spain, Switzerland, Iran and Canada have already signed on for the trial.

Ana Maria Henao-Restrepo, the unit head for the WHO’s research and development “blueprint” group, said, “This trial focuses on the key priority questions for the public. Do any of these drugs reduce mortality? Do any of these drugs reduce the time a patient is in hospital and whether or not the patients receiving any of the drugs needed ventilation or intensive care units.”