Hydroxychloroquine reduces in-hospital COVID-19 mortality by 30 percent

Intubated ICU patient, mechanical ventilation
Hydroxychloroquine reduces in-hospital COVID-19 mortality by 30 percent. Credit: © kirirurisu.gmail.com - Depositphotos

An Italian observational study contributes to the ongoing debate regarding the use of hydroxychloroquine in the treatment of COVID-19. The research, conducted on 3,451 patients treated in 33 hospitals throughout Italy, shows that the use of this drug reduces by 30 percent the risk of death in hospitalized COVID-19 patients.

Published in the European Journal of Internal Medicine, the study was coordinated by the Department of Epidemiology and Prevention of the IRCCS Neuromed, Pozzilli, in collaboration with Mediterranea Cardiocentro, Naples, and the University of Pisa, with the participation of 33 hospitals forming the CORIST collaboration (COvid-19 RISk and Treatments). Researchers analyzed data regarding current and previous COVID-19 cases, therapies followed before the infection and drugs administered in the hospital specifically for the treatment of COVID-19. All this information was compared with the clinical evolution of the disease and the final in-hospital outcomes

Dr. Augusto Di Castelnuovo, epidemiologist at the Neuromed Department of Epidemiology and Prevention, currently at Mediterranea Cardiocentro in Naples explains, “We observed that patients treated with hydroxychloroquine had a 30 percent lower in-hospital mortality rate compared to those not receiving this treatment. Our data were subjected to extremely rigorous statistical analysis, taking into account all the variables and possible confounding factors that could come into play. The drug efficacy was evaluated in various subgroups of patients. The positive results of hydroxychloroquine treatment remained unchanged, especially in those patients showing a more evident inflammatory state at the moment of admission to hospital.”

Dr. Licia Iacoviello, Director of the Department of Epidemiology and Prevention at Neuromed and professor of Public Health at the University of Insubria at Varese says, “While waiting for a vaccine, identifying effective therapies against COVID-19 is an absolute priority. We hope that our research will make an important contribution to the international debate on the role of hydroxychloroquine in the treatment of hospitalized patients for coronavirus. Further observational studies and ongoing clinical trials will of course be needed to better assess the role of this drug and the most appropriate administration methods. However, data from the CORIST collaboration support the use of hydroxychloroquine. At variance with some studies carried out in other Countries, where efficacy of the drug was not observed, it is interesting to note that the doses of hydroxychloroquine adopted in Italy (200 mg, twice a day) are lower than the ones used in those researches.”

Dr. Giovanni de Gaetano, President of Neuromed, comments, “In past months the World Health Organization recommended a stop to the use of hydroxychloroquine on the basis of an international observational study, subsequently retracted. Now the new data from the CORIST study, resulting from a ‘real life’ national collaboration, might help Health Authorities better clarify the role of this drug in the treatment of COVID-19 patients.”

The CORIST Collaboration

CORIST (COvid-19 RISk and Treatments) is a collaboration between 33 Italian clinical centers devoted to collection and study of data relating to COVID-19 patients. It is a study carried out in the “real life” of Italian National Health System, bringing together the different experiences of large and small clinical centers, from Lombardy to Sicily.


Materials provided by the Istituto Neurologico Mediterraneo Neuromed IRCCS. Content may be edited for clarity, style, and length.


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