20 March 2020
Paris: Amid the novel coronavirus scare around the world, a French researcher has reported successful trial of a new treatment line for COVID-19, with early tests suggesting it can stop the virus from becoming contagious in just six days.
According to connexionfrance.com, Professor Didier Raoult from hospital l'Institut Hospitalo-Universitaire (IHU Mediterranee), put up a video to explain the trials held earlier this week.
Raoult, an infectious diseases specialist, was tasked by the French government to research possible treatment for the novel coronavirus.
According to the professor, the first COVID-19 patients he treated with drug chloroquine saw rapid and effective speeding of their healing process, and a sharp decrease in the amount of time they remained contagious.
Chloroquine -- which is normally used to prevent and treat malaria -- was administered via drug Plaquenil.
"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," Raoult was quoted as saying by connexionfrance.com.
According to the media report, the treatment was offered to 24 patients, who were among the first to become infected in the southeast of France, and who had voluntarily admitted themselves to hospital for the process.
Patients were given 600mcg per day for 10 days. They were closely monitored, as the drug can interact with other medication, and cause severe side effects in some cases, it added.
"We were able to ascertain that patients who had not received Plaquenil (drug containing hydroxychloroquine) were still contagious after six days, but of those who received Plaquenil, only 25 per cent were still contagious after the given period," he added.
Chloroquine phosphate and hydroxychloroquine have previously been used to treat coronavirus patients in China, in ongoing COVID-19 clinical trials.
Kaletra, a US-based antiviral drug used to treat HIV, is another medicine that is being tested in the fight against the deadly virus.