There is no strong scientific evidence that hydroxychloroquine prevents, treats, or heals COVID-19.

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Hydroxychloroquine, a malaria drug that has been used for decades to treat autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, is not a cure for COVID-19. A number of studies that are less than a week old and published in the renowned journal Nature have shown that the drug has no significant antiviral activity. And as more and more data from clinical studies are received in humans, hydroxychloroquine is always neglected. Very short. It does not protect against COVID-19 and does not cure it.

Why is it in the news again?

It seems that this is mainly due to a number of viral videos published by the right-wing Breitbart publication that are widely used on social media, especially on Facebook and Twitter.

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On Monday, a contingent of doctors dressed in white coats called "America & # 39; s Frontline Doctors" held a summit on the steps of the US Supreme Court in Washington. The summit was organized by the right "Tea Party Patriots Foundation" and should last two days.

Videos of "Frontline Doctors" appeared on Monday afternoon, advocating the use of hydroxychloroquine as a "cure" outside the Supreme Court. We have chosen not to link to them, but analysis by an NBC internet reporter shows that they have garnered over 20 million views on Facebook.

One of the Houston doctors and preachers Stella Immanuel has drawn the lion's share of attention and has made a passionate argument about their use of hydroxychloroquine in 350 patients who visited their clinic. It has been viewed on Facebook a million times and even tweeted by Donald Trump Jr. The President of the United States, Donald Trump, has also retweeted the video.

As a result, Immanuel's personal Twitter followers grew by about 30,000 in a matter of hours. Twitter has started removing videos related to the summit, including Immanuels, and Facebook has also consistently removed the video from its platform. According to Facebook's Insight tool CrowdTangle, it was one of the most powerful posts on the platform at the time of its removal.

According to Andrew McLachlan, director of the Sydney Pharmacy School at the University of Sydney, Immanuel's speech has been put in the spotlight, but unsanitary language is used to argue that hydroxychloroquine can cure COVID-19.

"Passion and anecdotes do not provide convincing evidence of the safety and effectiveness of hydroxychloroquine in the treatment and prevention of COVID-19," he says.

"Good evidence of good practice is carefully controlled studies, review of results, and peer review to ensure that the results and claims are robust and accurate."

McLachlan also notes that hydroxychloroquine is the most studied drug for COVID-19 based on the number of active studies. He points to the Oxford University-led RECOVERY process as one of the strictest. No significant difference in mortality was found and no benefit was shown for patients hospitalized with COVID-19. Nevertheless, it continues to be promoted by various parts of the media, including Breitbart, as a viable treatment option.

Scientists say arguments have been masked by rampant politicization.

"It is extraordinary to see how the hydroxychloroquine agenda is being pushed against it despite the overwhelming evidence," said Gaetan Burgio, a geneticist at the Australian National University in Canberra. "It reminds me a lot of anti-Vaxxer movements."

In June the Food and Drug Administration revoked the emergency use of hydroxychloroquine Due to increasing evidence, it has no clinical benefit for COVID-19 patients and in some cases can cause heart problems. There was also a high profile study published in The Lancet in MayThis suggests that hydroxychloroquine causes increased mortality. It even convinced the WHO to pause his hydroxychloroquine trials. However, the study was controversial after it was determined that much of the data used in the study was fabricated. It was later withdrawn.

Aside from the withdrawal, the arguments against the use of hydroxychloroquine go back to the beginning of the pandemic. The idea that it could be a useful drug for the prevention or treatment of COVID-19 has been increasingly questioned in more powerful, significant clinical trials.

In short, there is overwhelming evidence that hydroxychloroquine is not working. Going viral on the Internet doesn't change that.

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