EXPERT REACTION: How reliable is a review suggesting Hydroxychloroquine works for early COVID-19?

Embargoed until: Publicly released:
Peer-reviewed: This work was reviewed and scrutinised by relevant independent experts.

Systematic review: This type of study is a structured approach to reviewing all the evidence to answer a specific question. It can include a meta-analysis which is a statistical method of combining the data from multiple studies to get an overall result.

People: This is a study based on research using people.

A systematic review suggests that Hydroxychloroquine is effective against COVID-19 when used early in the outpatient setting, however, an Australian expert says the results of this review are not trustworthy

Journal/conference: New Microbes and New Infections

Link to research (DOI): 10.1016/j.nmni.2020.100776

Organisation/s: Bond University, Illinois Sportsmedicine and Orthopaedic Center, USA

Funder: The authors of this paper have no conflict of interest- financial, personal, or other in regards to COVID19 or hydroxychloroquine usage. This research has received no external funding


Expert Reaction

These comments have been collated by the Science Media Centre to provide a variety of expert perspectives on this issue. Feel free to use these quotes in your stories. Views expressed are the personal opinions of the experts named. They do not represent the views of the SMC or any other organisation unless specifically stated.

Professor Paul Glasziou is Professor of Evidence-Based Practice at Bond University and the Director of the Institute for Evidence Based Healthcare.

The results of this review are not trustworthy, as it used the weak methods to find, select and combine studies; and their main conclusions are based mostly on non-randomized trials.  The reviews methods of analysis give the same weight to the RECOVERY trial – with 4,686 patient randomized – and the Paccoud study – with 89 patients and no randomization.  

Last updated: 13 Oct 2020 5:13pm
Declared conflicts of interest:
None declared.

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