INTRODUCTION: Chloroquine and its analogues are currently being investigated for the treatment and post exposure prophylaxis of COVID-19 due to its antiviral activity and immunomodulatory activity . MATERIAL AND
METHODS: Confirmed symptomatic cases of COVID-19 were included in the study . Patients were supposed to receive chloroquine (CQ) 500 mg twice daily for 7 days . Due to a change in institutional protocol, initial patients received chloroquine and subsequent patients who did not receive chloroquine served as negative controls . Clinical effectiveness was determined in terms of timing of symptom resolution and conversion rate of reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) on day 14 and day 15 of admission .
RESULTS: Twelve COVID-19 patients formed the treatment arm and 17 patients were included in the control arm . The duration of symptoms among the CQ treated group (6.3 ± 2.7 days) was significantly (p-value = 0.009) lower than that of the control group (8.9 ± 2.2 days). There was no significant difference in the rate of RT-PCR negativity in both groups . 2 patients out of 12 developed diarrhea in the CQ therapy arm .
CONCLUSION: The duration of symptoms among the treated group (with chloroquine) was significantly lower than that of the control group . RT-PCR conversion was not significantly different between the 2 groups.