Big study casts more doubt on malaria drugs for coronavirus

Dr. Robin Armstrong holds a bottle of hydroxychloroquine while posing outside The Resort at Texas City nursing home, where he is the medical director, Tuesday, April 7, 2020, in Texas City, Texas. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)
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(AP) 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.