Benefit v. risk when using chloroquine in patients with severe COVID-19 disease
CITATION: Decloedt, E. H. et al. 2020. Benefit v. risk when using chloroquine in patients with severe COVID-19 disease. South African Medical Journal, doi.org/10.7196/SAMJ.2020.v110i5.14761.
The original publication is available at http://www.samj.org.za
ENGLISH ABSTRACT: Chloroquine (CQ) is widely advocated as treatment for coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), including the president of the USA publicly supporting the use of hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) as a ‘game-changer’ on the social media platform Twitter. CQ and HCQ are structurally similar, with HCQ having an N-hydroxyl-ethyl side-chain in place of the N-diethyl group. Currently only CQ is being marketed in South Africa. We encourage the development of curative directed therapy against severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) using appropriate designed trials and regulatory oversight, and caution against the indiscriminate use of CQ or HCQ. Careful patient selection is essential, including assessing prognosis, anticipated benefit and potential harms prior to initiating CQ/HCQ therapy.