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Studies explained in pics: Drugs that can help, hurt you in Covid fight

Here's a look at fresh studies about what treatments do or don't work for Covid-19, with high-quality methods that give reliable results

Hydroxychloroquine, coronavirus, covid-19, drug, drugs, pharma, pharmaceutical

AP| PTI & BS Web Team New Delhi
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The drug reduced deaths by 36 per cent for patients sick enough to need breathing machines. It curbed the risk of death by 18 per cent for patients needing just supplemental oxygen. However, it seemed harmful at earlier stages or milder cases of illness: 18 per cent of those on the drug died versus 14 per cent of those given usual care.

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Studies suggest, after 28 days, about 25.7 per cent patients given hydroxychloroquine had died versus 23.5 per cent given usual care -- a difference so small it could have occurred by chance. Now, details published on a research site for scientists show that the drug may have done harm. Besides, patients given hydroxychloroquine were less likely to leave the hospital alive within 28 days -- 60 per cent on the drug versus 63 per cent given usual care. Those not needing breathing machines when they started treatment also were more likely to end up on one or to die.

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The only other therapy that's been shown to help Covid-19 patients is remdesivir, an antiviral that shortens hospitalisation by about four days on average. The role of remdesivir in severe Covid is now what we need to figure out, Memorial Sloan Kettering's Bach wrote in an email, saying the drug needs to be tested in combination with dexamethasone now.

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Meanwhile, Gilead Sciences, the company that makes Remdesivir, which is given as an IV now, has started testing an inhaled version that would allow it to be tried in less ill Covid-19 patients to try to keep them from getting sick enough to need hospitalisation. Gilead also has started testing Remdesivir in a small group of children.

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First Published: Jul 18 2020 | 3:52 PM IST

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