Big study casts more doubt on malaria drugs for coronavirus

FILE - In this Tuesday, May 19, 2020 file photo, a chemist holds a pack of hydroxychloroquine tablets in Mumbai, India. A Friday, May 22, 2029 report in the journal Lancet shows malaria drugs pushed by U.S. President Donald Trump as treatments for the coronavirus not only did not help but were tied to a greater risk of death and heart rhythm problems in a study of nearly 100,000 patients around the world. (AP Photo/Rafiq Maqbool)

A large new study suggests that malaria drugs pushed by President Donald Trump as treatments for the coronavirus not only do not help but also are tied to a greater risk of death and heart rhythm problems. Friday’s report in the journal Lancet involved nearly 100,000 patients around the world. It was not a rigorous test of hydroxychloroquine or chloroquine, but is by far the largest look at their use in real world settings, spanning 671 hospitals on six continents. Researchers estimate that the death rate attributable to use of the drugs, with or without an antibiotic, is roughly 13% versus 9% for patients not taking them.