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In this publication 36 patients, 16 in control group (31,25% were kids (!!!!) 10-16 y.o., 25% asymptomatic, 62,5% URTI and 12,5% LRTI), 14 in HCQ (14,3% were asymptomatic, 71,4% with URTI and 14,3% with LRTI), 6 in AZ+HHQ (66,67% had LRTI).

What was the reason to include kids in this trial?

What for they prescribed HCQ for asymptomatic cases and URTI?

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This study was pretty much worthless as anything but a case series, and has been criticized all over (see some references below, but these hardly even scratch the surface of the criticism...).

They also excluded patients from the treatment group after the study started if they worsened (so the treatment group patients couldn't have suffered any negative consequences).

It's really probably best to stop worrying about all the individual things wrong with this paper, and have a broader discussion of how this sort of information got disseminated and into the eyes of the public without the caveats being sufficiently presented.


Dahly, D., Gates, S., & Morris, T. (2020). Statistical review of hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin as a treatment of COVID-19: results of an open-label nonrandomized clinical trial. Preprint. Posted online, 23.

Kim, A. H., Sparks, J. A., Liew, J. W., Putman, M. S., Berenbaum, F., Duarte-García, A., ... & Ugarte-Gil, M. F. (2020). A rush to judgment? Rapid reporting and dissemination of results and its consequences regarding the use of hydroxychloroquine for COVID-19. Annals of internal medicine.

Batra, U., Sharma, M., & Redhu, P. (2020). Chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine: Clutching at straws in the time of COVID-19?. Cancer Research, Statistics, and Treatment, 3(5), 3.

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Apart from the fact that the study in question has been widely panned such that Elsevier, the publisher, is even investigating it, the answer to your questions are:

A. The children were part of the control group to see how quickly the virus clearly naturally ( even though that is problematic since children respond differently to the virus than adults ). The study wasn't randomized so all the children were in the control group.

B. They weren't prescribing HCQ for URTI and asymptomatic cases. They were prescribing HCQ to confirmed cases of COVID-19, some of whom had URTI symptoms, to see how quickly viral clearance was achieved.

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