Recently, a group of Saudi Arabian researchers from King Abdulaziz University and other academic medical centers in the nation investigated both Hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) and Favipiravir as possible COVID-19 treatments. Both drugs are used in many countries, including Saudi Arabia, during the pandemic for early-onset SARS-CoV-2 infection. Seeking to compare the effectiveness and safety of the two drugs, the investigational team, led by Aziza Al-Rafiah, conducted a retrospective cohort study evaluating the drugs’ impact on 508 patients admitted to King Faisal Medical Complex in Tarif, Saudi Arabia, from June 2020 to August 2020. The study authors indicate that both HCQ and Favipiravir appear to decrease mortality and need for oxygen, but a retrospective study such as this one has limitations. The safety signal for HCQ was stronger.
During the first part of the pandemic in Saudi Arabia, health systems needed a rapid response, leveraging treatments that were thought to provide some benefit, including both HCQ and Favipiravir. Health care professionals used these treatments without collecting baseline data, from C-reactive protein (CRP) to D-dimer and lymphoc...
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