Study: Treatment with hydroxychloroquine cut death rate significantly in COVID-19 patients

In a followup to our coverage of COVID-19 treatments, a new study published recently by Henry Ford Health System shows that treatment with hydroxychloroquine cut the death rate significantly in sick patients hospitalized with COVID-19 – and without heart-related side-effects.

The news comes after earlier studies that raised alarms about the safety of hydroxychloroquine were retracted by The Lancet and The New England Journal at the request of the authors of the studies due to flaws.

Closeup of COVID-19 coronavirusAccording to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, hydroxychloroquine (also known as hydroxychloroquine sulfate) is a U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA)-approved arthritis medicine that also can be used to prevent or treat malaria. It is available in the United States by prescription only. The drug is sold under the brand name Plaquenil and it is also sold as a generic medicine. It is commonly used by patients with arthritis, lupus or other rheumatic conditions.

In a large-scale retrospective analysis of 2,541 patients hospitalized between March 10 and May 2, 2020 across the system’s six hospitals, the study found 13% of those treated with hydroxychloroquine alone died compared to 26.4% not treated with hydroxychloroquine. None of the patients had documented serious heart abnormalities; however, patients were monitored for a heart condition routinely pointed to as a reason to avoid the drug as a treatment for COVID-19.

The study was published last week in the International Journal of Infectious Diseases, the peer-reviewed, open-access online publication of the International Society of Infectious Diseases.

Patients treated with hydroxychloroquine at Henry Ford met specific protocol criteria as outlined by the hospital system’s Division of Infectious Diseases. The vast majority received the drug soon after admission; 82% within 24 hours and 91% within 48 hours of admission. All patients in the study were 18 or over with a median age of 64 years; 51% were men and 56% African American.

“The findings have been highly analyzed and peer-reviewed,” said Dr. Marcus Zervos, division head of Infectious Disease for Henry Ford Health System, who co-authored the study with Henry Ford epidemiologist Samia Arshad. “We attribute our findings that differ from other studies to early treatment, and part of a combination of interventions that were done in supportive care of patients, including careful cardiac monitoring. Our dosing also differed from other studies not showing a benefit of the drug. And other studies are either not peer reviewed, have limited numbers of patients, different patient populations or other differences from our patients.”

Zervos said the potential for a surge in the fall or sooner, and infections continuing worldwide, show an urgency to identifying inexpensive and effective therapies and preventions.

“We’re glad to add to the scientific knowledge base on the role and how best to use therapies as we work around the world to provide insight,” he said. “Considered in the context of current studies on the use of hydroxychloroquine for COVID-19, our results suggest that the drug may have an important role to play in reducing COVID-19 mortality.”

The study also found those treated with azithromycin alone or a combination of hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin also fared slightly better than those not treated with the drugs, according to the Henry Ford data. The analysis found 22.4% of those treated only with azithromycin died, and 20.1% treated with a combination of azithromycin and hydroxychloroquine died, compared to 26.4% of patients dying who were not treated with either medication.

“Our analysis shows that using hydroxychloroquine helped saves lives,” said neurosurgeon Dr. Steven Kalkanis, CEO, Henry Ford Medical Group and Senior Vice President and Chief Academic Officer of Henry Ford Health System. “As doctors and scientists, we look to the data for insight. And the data here is clear that there was benefit to using the drug as a treatment for sick, hospitalized patients.”

Overall, hospital system patients in the study experienced an 18.1% in-hospital mortality rate. Regardless of treatment, mortality was highest in:

• Patients older than 65,
• Patients who identified as Caucasian,
• Patients admitted with reduced oxygen levels,
• Patients who required ICU admission.

Patients who died commonly had serious underlying diseases, including chronic kidney and lung disease, with 88% dying from respiratory failure. Globally, the overall mortality from SARS-COV-2 is estimated to be approximately 6% to 7%, with mortality in hospitalized patients ranging between 10% and 30%, according to the study. Mortality as high as 58% has been seen among patients requiring ICU care and mechanical ventilation.

Dr. Zervos also pointed out, as does the paper, that the study results should be interpreted with some caution, should not be applied to patients treated outside of hospital settings and require further confirmation in prospective, randomized controlled trials that rigorously evaluate the safety and efficacy of hydroxychloroquine therapy for COVID-19.

“Currently, the drug should be used only in hospitalized patients with appropriate monitoring, and as part of study protocols, in accordance with all relevant federal regulations,” Dr. Zervos said.

Henry Ford Health System, as one of Michigan’s major academic medical centers with more than $100 million in annual research funding, is involved in numerous COVID-19 trials with national and international partners.

Henry Ford Health System is currently also involved in a prophylactic hydroxychloroquine study: “Will Hydroxychloroquine Impede or Prevent COVID-19,” or WHIP COVID-19. The study is a 3,000-person, randomized, double-blinded look at whether hydroxychloroquine prevents healthcare and frontline workers from contracting the COVID-19 virus. The WHIP COVID-19 team is working on expanding study sites while there is a lull in the number of COVID-19 cases in Southeast Michigan. This is in preparation for a potential increase of COVID-19 cases as Fall flu season approaches, with additional sites available for convenient enrollment of healthcare workers and first responders. The WHIP COVID-19 team is also taking this gift of time to reach out to other areas of the world that are seeing a blossoming of cases: Brazil and Argentina. There are currently 619 people enrolled in the study, out of a target of 3,000.

MacDailyNews Take: Until we get a vaccine, this study’s finding is obviously very promising news of an effective treatment for COVID-19. The existence of such treatments helps everyone, of course, not to mention the macroeconomy and certainly Apple, which currently has a number of retail stores closed in various locations due to COVID-19 outbreaks. Good news on COVID-19 treatments is good news for people, for the economy, and, ultimately, for Apple.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Readers too numerous to mention for the heads up.]


  1. I wonder who benefitted from denying people this life-saving treatment and increasing the death toll? Will they be arrested and tried? At worst it would have had no effect. Criminals.

  2. CNN and the Democrats who root for America to fail have blood on their hands. The media lied about hydroxychloroquine to undermine President Trump. They got people killed. Literally criminal disinformation.

    By the way, Fauci knew hydroxychloroquine worked all along. Fauci needs to be hauled before a congressional committee to explain himself.

  3. Enjoy the 2020 Trump-Pence landslide, TDS’ers!

    I’m still not tired of winning! Don’t you anti-American Dem/Lib/Progs ever get tired of losing?

    The Democrats and the media have been trying to destroy this drug for months, putting politics over people’s lives.

    How many people might be alive today if the media had simply done their actual job? Treatments for a virus shouldn’t be a political football, but it shows the Democrats and the media simply have no shame. They’ll literally sacrifice grandma to try to spite Trump.

    1. Wait and see. You will be eating crow. The dems will have a landslide as most normal, sane and intelligent people (yourself excluded) realize the immense threat to democracy and our country the Trump is and has been and will vote Biden. Drump is toast.

  4. The U.S. media is broken and, now, literally contributing to the deaths of Americans.

    The U.S. media’s hypocrisy on nearly everything they cover today is unmistakable:

  5. Something Democrat voters should consider:

    Even though you’re constantly told you’re right, you are actually on the wrong side. Stop being such pathetic pawns to your globalist overlords.

  6. Oh Gawd…

    Could we please have ALL the staff here, STAT! We’re expected numerous exhibits of TDS, patients with breathing, emotional and thinking problems.

    Screams of “it can’t be true,” “what happened to the other report,” “but, he’s a Russian agent” and others are being heard up and down the hallways.

    Yes, I know ma’am, he is a little orange, but what was the other point? No, he’s not planning to make it a required vaccination to get us to accept a 10 year presidential term. I agree, he’s hair is strange…no ma’am, I don’t believe he wears it that way for Mr. Putin.

  7. Interesting that this study disagrees with every other study done around the world that shows it does nothing, and is harmful.

    But ok, the dumb ‘trumpets can jump all over this study.

    1. Uh… “The news comes after earlier studies that raised alarms about the safety of hydroxychloroquine were retracted by The Lancet and The New England Journal at the request of the authors of the studies due to flaws.”

      How in your face does the blatant lying and bias have to be? Are you just that insane? AT this point the media and the left are complicit in the deaths of people where hydroxychloroquine might have been used.

    2. Trump haters, please continue to ignore reality and go back to your bricks and bashing windows and blocking roads and burning building and shooting people and trashing neighborhoods, and being the absolute most utterly racist people on the face of the planet.

    1. Repeating lies is lying, liar.

      President Trump did not say people should inject themselves with bleach or alcohol to treat the coronavirus. He was asking officials on the White House coronavirus task force whether they could be used in potential cures.PolitiFact, April 24, 2020

    1. “IPOTUS is Stupid and Dumb.”

      Yeah, you have to be really stupid as a successful billionaire businessman who does not need the job — amazingly running for your first political office the most important position in the world — against impossible odds to numerous to mention and score the UNPRECEDENTED HISTORICAL PRESIDENTIAL WIN of all time!!!

      Yeah, you have to be pretty dumb…🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣

        1. Trump has always been an egomaniac, but he was not always mentally challenged. He is now. Listen to a Trump speech from as recently as 2016. Then listen to a recent Trump speech. It sounds like two different people, and the current one comes across as being as sharp as a bowling ball, driven only but emotion and self-interest.

          1. “Trump has always been an egomaniac”

            TRUE. What is your

            Clinton, Obama, Biden are meek altar boys and unassuming public servants of honor and integrity without huge egos? HA!

            Certainly, President Trump a first time remarkable historic winning politician with RELENTLESS media and Democrat attacks 24/7 has moderated his strategy as he learns on the job and approaches a LANDSLIDE re-election over the Dementia Buffon.

            You imply that’s a bad thing, well, as a detractor that’s to be expected and fine.

            We shall see in November…

      1. So successful, such an amazing businessman, that he ALMOST managed to turn a profit on FOUR casinos. Not too many others can make that claim. Though he was a VERY successful reality TV star.

          1. You got me there. But to be fair, I wasn’t given 100s millions of dollars by my rich dad. Which I lost. Then tried to cut my dad out of the business when he wouldn’t give me any more money. Followed by lengthy legal battles and confidentiality agreements. Maybe if I’d had the same opportunities, I could have lost 100s of millions of dollars of other people’s money just like the president did.

            BTW, are name calling, sniping, and personal insults required to be a Trumpist? Your only defense seems to be personal attacks. I guess you work with what you have. Funny thing, I’m not even a liberal.

          2. “But to be fair, I wasn’t given 100s millions of dollars by my rich dad.”

            Tony, what is “100s millions?” If you are saying he got $100 million, you are only off by $86 million or slightly more — depending on accounting and conflicting media stories with different amounts.

            If you are saying hundreds of millions, you are epically WRONG! But don’t let facts get in your way dishonest liberal…



          3. Still unable to respond without calling me a (not accurate) name. Just because I think the president is a churlish dolt, a buffoon, a clown, an imbecile, doesn’t mean I’m liberal.

          4. In response to @Tony Aroma (stinks) Wednesday, July 8, 2020 at 7:59 pm

            Hey Tony, I have a life and not accountable to responding to you smart ass. In my own time, got it? But since you asked, here it is.

            So, New York Times is your source?!?!? 🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣

            The newspaper that went totally liberal in the Clinton presidential years defending the scum bag sexual predator and his wife destroying multiple woman accuser lives.

            Guess you don’t understand half-truths, extrapolation, opinion DISGUISED as news as they daily pedal their hate for President Trump to the ill informed.

            You do know the Managing Editor, Number 2 Manager in the newsroom, resigned out of protest and wrote a scathing editorial in WSJ blasting the NYT month’s ago for their selective facts and focus on smearing President Trump — essentially abandoning the bedrock and tenets of serious journalism.

            You do know they won Pulitzer Prizes for FAKE stories and fired other people for making up national award winning stories.

            I think not.

            Even the liberal Washington Post which is no friend of President Trump strives for a fairer more balanced perspective. That would be my links if you bothered to read them.

            Enjoy the Pravda newspaper of distorted record as your brain is wide shut…

        1. Trump was a minority partner in those casinos, idiot. The extent of his casino munagement was nil, as they were managed by professional casino managers with years of resort and gaming experience in las Vegas and Nevada. They were hit with an severe economic turn-down that hit EVERY resort in the area. They, like every new venture in Atlantic City was hit hard and went into a debt restructuring under Federal bankruptcy laws, they are now fully solvent and never “went bankrupt,” contrary to the talking points. Debt was restructured. That’s a normal practice in business, big business, when the economy changes. A time out is permitted to renegotiate terms.

          Trump’s investment was essentially licensing his name and brand to the resorts. He did not manage them.

          You have no clue.

      2. First, Trump is not a billionaire. Why do you think he’s fighting so hard to keep his tax information private. Best estimates put Trump around a net worth of $250 million. He’s maybe worth about as much as his father gave him. Not what I would call successful.

        Second, interesting that you’re talking about Trump’s first campaign in such glorious terms. I guess that’s how you and Trump are going to save face when he loses in November. Buh buh buh his first term was “the UNPRECEDENTED HISTORICAL PRESIDENTIAL WIN of all time!!!” it doesn’t matter that he got beat like a rented mule in 2020.

        Are you aware that some Republicans are saying Trump shouldn’t even run? People who know politics inside and out understand Trump is going down big time in November.

        1. WOW! You also have no clue. Do you know the Donald Trump has over 500 distinct companies, of which he is the sole owner? For your claim to be true, each would have to average only $500,000 in value, eleven of those are wholly owned, top of the marque luxury hotels, each worth north of $250,000,000. Right there is value of more than a billion dollars. He licenses his name and has minority interest in dozens of other Trump hotels. Leveraging his worth, while not being at risk of loss. His yacht alone is worth more than your guesstimate.

          Come into the real world. Trump doesn’t have the tens or dozens of billions or the hundreds of billions of dollars some of his enemies have, but he owns one hell of a lot of New York real estate where they measure not by the square foot but by the square inch.

          He gave Melania a 25 carat emerald cut, D flawless, solitaire diamond engagement ring. Even multimillionaires would blanch at that bauble.

          I don’t know what idiot has been filling your head with nonsense, but stop listening to him. You’re being fed rotting fish and abandoned rat turds.

  8. This is an observational study, not controlled, but it raises some interesting aspects fro continued study. It’s positive results are that it’s administered in a hospital setting under supervision, early in the onset of the disease (before certain critical stages).

    It’s NOT a “miracle”, should not be taken in cavalier fashion. It HAS killed people when misused, and they remain dead.

    To those bringing up Trump, he is irrelevant. Give him a Sharpie and a map so he can’t hurt himself or others.

    1. Yes, doctors “observe” that when they give someone suffering from COVID-19 hydroxychloroquine, the patient has a 50% less chance of dying.

      Of course, CNN says Orange Man Bad, so cheap, plentiful life-saving drugs must be BAD, too!

  9. Trying not to get into the pro or anti-Trump camp:

    It is important to state that this study is not a randomized double-blind control trial (which is the gold standard as far as medical trials go). There have been several other studies (not counting the retracted Lancet study) that have shown that hydroxychloroquine is not effective against Covid-19. These were randomized double blind control trials. Due to a lack of benefits, both the WHO as well as NIH have halted their trials of this drug.

    Henry Ford is doing a randomized double-blind trial – but that is to evaluate the use of hydroxychloroquine as a prophylactic treatment. Perhaps we will see good luck there.

    It should be noted that no trial other than the retracted Lancet study showed any significant increased risk of mortality due to side effects of hydroxychloroquine.

    On the flip side, it should be noted that the Henry Ford trial was looking at use of hydroxychloroquine in early stage patients whereas many of the others were looking at effectiveness in serious cases. Perhaps more work is needed on early-stage treatment using hydroxychloroquine but a randomized double-blind control trial has to be done to demonstrate effectiveness or lack thereof.

    1. Normally you shouldn’t have to worry about politics on this specific topic, but we have rabid supporters of a science averse and truth averse chief executive.

  10. Interesting that no one has mentioned Dexamethasone which is safe, has been shown to give around a 30% improvement in survival chances for those most seriously ill with the virus and and on ventilators. I presume it might have something to do with it having nothing to do with Trumps self serving PR network, can’t be trumpeted as a US world leading discovery or isn’t going to make millions for the US pharmatceutical sector and thus hasnt become a pathetic political football kicked around in persuit of childish and insane electoral advantage. So damned embarrassing.

  11. Absolutely never thought I would say this but you talk total common sense on this subject which stands out from many others on here. One study is never enough to determine the final solution to questions of this nature no matter how well respected or organised the study. Science is always updating our knowledge this one has added to previous reports and new ones will no doubt further add to that knowledge over tine which is why claims of conspiracy on here by the media or political parties truly are pathetic in their misunderstanding of the processes involved. Deliberately so I suspect. So just try to calm down people and show some objectivity for once as pointless as no doubt it is to request it from some.

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