Objective In this study, we evaluated the efficacy of hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) against coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) via a randomized controlled trial (RCT) and a retrospective study. Methods Subjects admitted to 11 designated public hospitals in Taiwan between April 1 and May 31, 2020, with COVID-19 diagnosis confirmed by pharyngeal real-time RT-PCR for SARS-CoV-2, were randomized at a 2:1 ratio and stratified by mild or moderate illness. HCQ 400 mg twice for 1 d and HCQ 200 mg twice daily for 6 days were administered. Both study group and controlled group received standard of care (SOC). Pharyngeal swabs and sputum were collected every other day. The proportion and time to negative viral PCR were assessed on day 14. In the retrospective study, medical records were reviewed for patients admitted before March 31, 2020. Results There were 33 and 37 cases in the RCT and retrospective study, respectively. In the RCT, the median times to negative rRT-PCR from randomization to hospital day 14 were 5 days (95% CI; 1-9 days) and 10 days (95% CI; 2-12 days) for the HCQ and SOC groups, respectively (p = 0.40). On day 14, 81.0% (17/21) and 75.0% (9/12) of the subjects in the HCQ and SOC groups, respectively, had undetected virus (p = 0.36). In the retrospective study, 12 (42.9%) in the HCQ group and 5 (55.6%) in the control group had negative rRT-PCR results on hospital day 14 (p = 0.70). Conclusions Neither study demonstrated that HCQ shortened viral shedding in mild to moderate COVID-19 subjects.
medrxiv Subject Collection: Infectious Diseases