Europe has started to conduct clinical tests on existing medications that can help in the coronavirus treatment. The tests are conducted in France, Spain, Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg and the United Kingdom, and involve 3,200 patients at once. In particular, drugs for malaria – chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine, the antiviral drug remdesivir, which was used for the treatment of Ebola, and the drug lopinavir/ritonavir for the treatment of HIV infection are being tested.

The head of research in France, Florence Adair, said that these drugs are in the list of priority of experimental drugs of the World Health Organization developed for COVID-19 therapy. Hydroxychloroquine was used to treat 24 patients at the University of Marseille hospital. Preliminary results were published on March 20 in the International Journal of Antimicrobial Agents. The results of a clinical study showed that after 6 days of treatment, 75% of patients completely recovered, and other participants significantly improved their condition within two days.

But despite these successes, experts do not recommend jumping to conclusions.

Medical expert Michel Simes noted that the number of participants in the experiment in Marseille was too small to draw conclusions about the effectiveness of antimalarial drugs in the treatment of coronavirus.  

The Director-General of the World Health Organization also warns against the use of untested drugs, because they can, first: provoke negative consequences, and secondly, lead to a shortage of these drugs for the treatment of other diseases.

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