3 May Chloroquine and diagnosis

Sun, 05/03/2020 - 20:34

Dear colleagues,

A brief update of what I found today

  1. Chloroquine:
  • A brief systematic review (only abstract available to me) shows no conclusive benefit, but larger studies are awaited.
  • An warning against the uncontrolled use, especially in LMIC, where drug quality is poor.  Interesting also to be reminded of drug interactions with antivirals (Efevirenz, Kaletra), TB drugs (Rifa, Bedaquiline) and antibiotics (fluoroquinolones)


  1. Children: Nice review.  Still not clear what importance  children have in transmission


  1. Diagnosis:
  • Very comprehensive review on all variations used to overcome practical issues, such as long procedures, shortage of reagents etc…
  • Pooling samples as an interesting suggestion to allow mass PCR screening in the context of exit strategy.  I would think you could pool ten samples and use saliva (if properly produced first thing in the morning).
  • Obviously, PCR should be combined with serology to identify those with past (asymptomatic) disease.
  • Interesting paper showing that serology could also be used to diagnose acute cases
    • False PCR(-) COVID patients: since antibodies (IgM) become positive within  days after onset of symptoms
    • False PCR(+): will not develop antibodies: i.e. non-COVID 


  1. A colleague draws our attention for an interesting website from the Norwegian Institute of Public Health: very well ordered, according to topic,  with lots of very clear reviews  https://www.fhi.no/en/qk/systematic-reviews-hta/map/


In the coming week, I will be busy with studying and judging files for the FWO (Flemish Research Fund) and less active for these updates.


Best wishes,