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The controversial French doctor Didier Raoult has dismissed a study suggesting the drug he hails as a miracle treatment for the coronavirus is ineffective at best and possibly life-threatening at worst.
Raoult, who is regarded as either a saviour or a charlatan in France, remains convinced the anti-viral drug hydroxychloroquine can help treat patients with Covid-19. The scientist said the latest study suggesting otherwise was “messy” and dismissed it as done with “big data” by “people who have not seen any patients”.
The study, published in the Lancet, looked at the records of 96,000 patients in hundreds of hospitals. It found giving coronavirus patients hydroxychloroquine increased the risk of them dying.
Raoult says his hands-on experience at a hospital in Marseille shows otherwise. “We’ve had 3,600 come through our hospital. You don’t think I’m going to change because there are people who do ‘big data’, which is a form of delusional fantasy … Nothing will change what I have seen with my own eyes,” he said in a video on his hospital website.
The World Health Organization has announced it is suspending trials of the drug on Covid-19 patients over safety concerns. French president Emmanuel Macron met Raoult at his hospital in April but insisted the visit was not formal “recognition” of the doctor’s methods. “I’ve no idea if elsewhere, hydroxychloroquine kills, but here it’s saving people,” Raoult added in the video.
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