The United States President Donald J. Trump touted hydroxychloroquine and Abbott's 5-minute COVID-19 as useful products to combat coronavirus. However, some health experts do not agree, and found both of them inconsistent and had no benefits.
Hydroxychloroquine Causes Higher Death Rate in COVID-19 Patients
According to CNN, the anti-malaria drug hydroxychloroquine did not benefit patients at the U.S. Veterans Health Administration medical centers, unlike what was initially perceived by experts.
Based on a study that was published at medrxiv.org, which means it's not yet peer-reviewed, it showed that COVID-19 patients that received the anti-malaria drug were no less likely to require ventilators.
Worse, the study showed that patients who were on the treatment had higher death rates compared to those who did not take it.
There were 368 coronavirus patients who took part in the study, with 97 people taking hydroxychloroquine and had a death rate of 27.8%, while the other 158 patients only had 11.4% death rate.
No Evidence Linked to Reduced Need of Ventilators
In addition, the researchers concluded that severely ill COVID-19 patients who were under the combination of the anti-malaria drug with or without antibacterial drug azithromycin still had to use ventilators to help them breathe.
"In this study, we found no evidence that uses of hydroxychloroquine, either with or without azithromycin, reduced the risk of mechanical ventilation in patients hospitalized with COVID-19," the authors wrote, who worked at the University of South Carolina, University of Virginia, and the Columbia VA Health Care System located in South Carolina.
Additionally, the researchers emphasized the importance of awaiting the results of ongoing studies about potential coronavirus treatments before widespread use.
The research was funded by the University of Virginia and the National Institutes of Health.
Is Abbott's Test-Kit Inaccurate?
In other news, the Abbott 5-minute COVID-19 rapid testing kit, which was also touted by the POTUS, is said to be producing false test results, according to a study.
In a report by the NPR, researchers from the Cleveland Clinic discovered that the Abbott testing kit produced false negatives 15% of the time when the group used it to confirm the coronavirus.
The study gathered 239 specimens of the SARS-CoV-2 virus that caused COVID-19, and they used five commonly used testing kits, including the rapid test kit from Abbott, which was supposed to show positive results in as fast as five minutes, and negative results within 13 minutes.
The study's lead author, Dr. Gary Procop of the Department of Laboratory Medicine of Cleveland Clinic, said that test kits should be 95% accurate most of the time.
The inaccuracy could be dangerous, since people who are actually positive of the coronavirus infection will be told they don't have and can freely get in touch with their families and the public, further spreading the disease.
However, Abbott assured their test kit is accurate and reliable.
"When the direct swab method is used, the test is performing as expected, and we are confident in its performance," the Illinois-based company told Daily Mail.
Procop did admit that the samples were stored in a viral transport media, which Abbott believes dilutes the sample, but the doctor found no evidence that it affected the coronavirus samples and test's accuracy.