Libyan International Medical University Journal

: 2020  |  Volume : 5  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 1--2

Chloroquine, hydroxychloroquine, and COVID-19, the Libyan prospective

Abdalla Salem Elhwuegi 
 Retired Professor of Pharmacology and Therapeutics, Chief Editor, Libyan International Medical University Journal, Aldol Street, Tripoli, Libya

Correspondence Address:
Abdalla Salem Elhwuegi
Retired Professor of Pharmacology and Therapeutics, Chief Editor, Libyan International Medical University Journal, Aldol Street, Tripoli

How to cite this article:
Elhwuegi AS. Chloroquine, hydroxychloroquine, and COVID-19, the Libyan prospective.Libyan Int Med Univ J 2020;5:1-2

How to cite this URL:
Elhwuegi AS. Chloroquine, hydroxychloroquine, and COVID-19, the Libyan prospective. Libyan Int Med Univ J [serial online] 2020 [cited 2021 Jun 15 ];5:1-2
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Full Text

Chloroquine (CQ) and its structural analog hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) were used as the primary and most successful drugs against malaria. They are also efficacious anti-inflammatory agents for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis and lupus erythematosus.[1]

CQ was reported in 2005 to be effective in preventing the spread of coronavirus (CoV) that caused severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) in cell culture.[2] It was also found to inhibit HIV replication and glycosylation in CD4 cell lines in a dose-dependent manner.[3] This broad-spectrum antiviral activity of CQ was suggested to be due to an increase in the endosomal pH required for virus entry and replication,[4] and as well as to the reduced glycosylation of ACE2 which is believed to be the entry point of COVID-19 into the cell.[5]

The interest in HQ and HCQ has been raised again by the emergence of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) in Wuhan, China, in December 2019. Because of its previously reported effectiveness against SARS CoV, CQ, and HCQ were suggested as a possible treatment of COVID-19-associated pneumonia. The first multicenter clinical trials conducted in China showed that CQ has apparent efficacy and acceptable safety against COVID-19-associated pneumonia.[5],[6] Another study conducted on 36 patients in France showed that patients treated with HCQ were significantly more likely to test negative for the virus on Day 6 than patients in the control group (70% vs. 12.5% virologically cured, P < 0.001).[7] These clinical studies suffer from many limitations; most important is the small number of patients included, which would lower the statistical power. Consequently, many other countries, including Britain, Canada, USA, Germany, and France, are conducting clinical trials on the use of CQ and HCQ in COVID-19 using a large number of patients and well-defined endpoints.[8] The results of these studies will be available in a few months. Up-to-date, there are no specific pharmacological treatments for COVID-19. Considering the current Libyan situation, HQ and HCQ, with their known clinical safety profile from long-time clinical use, would provide a rationale choice for patients with COVID-19. However, this off-label use should be done as a clinical trial through a certain framework ethically approved by the ministry of health and as stated by the World Health Organization.[9],[10]



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9International Standards for Clinical Trial Registries – Version 3.0. License: CC BY-NC-SA 3.0 IGO. Geneva: World Health Organization; 2018.
10World Health Organization. Monitored Emergency use of Unregistered and Experimental Interventions (MEURI). Available from: [Last accessed on 2020 Apr 13].