Hydroxychloroquine study: New York researcher says preliminary results are ready, but state hasn’t released them

"We have reviewed hundreds of medical records of Covid patients at this time in over 20 hospitals and have done a preliminary analysis," David Holtgrave, the lead researcher, said Wednesday.

Doctors and patients are eagerly awaiting the results of studies such as this one to guide them toward the most effective treatments for Covid-19.

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The New York study was particularly expected because of its size – 1,600 subjects – and because it is sponsored by the state and done by a respected group of epidemiologists at the University of Albany.

On April 12, New York Prime Minister Andrew Cuomo said, "About April 20, we think we're going to get results."

4 ways Trump was wrong about hydroxychloroquine studies

When the results were not announced Monday, CNN asked why not.

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Cuomo responded that the hospitals "must send the results" to the US Food and Drug Administration and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The CDC has not received results from New York hospitals, according to agency spokeswoman Kristen Nordlund.

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CNN did not receive an immediate response from an FDA spokesman.

The New York Department of Health did not respond to CNN's inquiries as to when it plans to release the study results.

On Tuesday, after Cuomo met with Trump in the White House, a reporter asked Cuomo if he had "any indication of what the state's results have been." Cuomo replied that he did not know.

Holtgrave, dean of the University of Albany School of Public Health, said he plans to complete his study analysis by the middle of next week, and publish it within a few days.

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"We continue our work every day with this study and expect to have the final analysis in place by the end of April," he said, adding that "it is very important that the final results are studied as soon as possible" so that doctors and patients can make decisions about whether hydroxychloroquine should be used.

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For more than a month, the president has been a cheerleader for the drug, though doctors have questioned whether it is safe or effective for coronavirus patients.

Heart risk worries mounting use of chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine for Covid-19 treatment

"I think it's going to be great," Trump said March 19.

"It will be amazing. It will be so beautiful. It will be a gift from heaven if it works," he added two weeks later.

In the University at Albany study, researchers plan to analyze 1,600 Covid-19 patients divided equally into four groups: those taking hydroxychloroquine; those taking chloroquine, a similar drug; those taking hydroxychloroquine with antibiotic azithromycin; and those who do not take any of the medicines, as a comparison group.

Study finds no benefit, higher death rate in patients taking hydroxychloroquine for Covid-19

It is an observational study that looks back at patients' hospital admissions, not a randomized clinical trial.

Hydroxychloroquine, which has been used for decades for people with malaria, lupus and rheumatoid arthritis, has been associated with heart problems.
Tuesday new guidelines from a national institute for health panel recommended against by using the combination hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin due to potential toxic side effects.

The panel said there was not enough evidence to recommend for or against the use of hydroxychloroquine on its own.

Last week, a French study looking at 181 patients found no statistically significant differences in death rates between Covid-19 patients who had taken the drug and those who had not. A few of the patients on the drug developed abnormal heart rhythms.

Due to similar experiences, doctors in Brazil and Sweden have warned about Covid-19 patients taking the drug.

This week, a study of 368 patients at VA medical centers "There was no evidence that hydroxychloroquine use, with or without azithromycin, reduced the risk of mechanical ventilation in patients admitted to Covid-19 hospitals," the authors said. This study, like the French one, was published on pre-print servers and was not peer reviewed or published in medical literature.

CNN's Devon Sayers, Wesley Bruer and Dr. Minali Nigam contributed to this report.

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