A systematic review on the efficacy and safety of chloroquine for the treatment of COVID-19
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Purpose: COVID-19 (coronavirus disease 2019) is a public health emergency of international concern. As of this time, there is no known effective pharmaceutical treatment, although it is much needed for patient contracting the severe form of the disease. The aim of this systematic review was to summarize the evidence regarding chloroquine for the treatment of COVID-19. Methods: PubMed, EMBASE, and three trial Registries were searched for studies on the use of chloroquine in patients with COVID-19. Results: We included six articles (one narrative letter, one in-vitro study, one editorial, expert consensus paper, two national guideline documents) and 23 ongoing clinical trials in China. Chloroquine seems to be effective in limiting the replication of SARS-CoV-2 (virus causing COVID-19) in vitro. Conclusions: There is rationale, pre-clinical evidence of effectiveness and evidence of safety from long-time clinical use for other indications to justify clinical research on chloroquine in patients with COVID-19. However, clinical use should either adhere to the Monitored Emergency Use of Unregistered Interventions (MEURI) framework or be ethically approved as a trial as stated by the World Health Organization. Safety data and data from high-quality clinical trials are urgently needed.