Hydroxychloroquine in the COVID-19 pandemic era: in pursuit of a rational use for prophylaxis of SARS-CoV-2 infection

Marco Infante, Camillo Ricordi, Rodolfo Alejandro, Massimiliano Caprio, Andrea Fabbri

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Introduction: Over the last few months, coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic caused by the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 has posed a serious threat to public health on a global scale. Given the current lack of an effective vaccine, several drugs have been repurposed for treatment and prophylaxis of COVID-19 in an attempt to find an effective cure. Areas covered: The antimalarial drug hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) initially garnered widespread attention following the publication of preliminary results showing that this drug exerts an anti-SARS-CoV-2 activity in vitro. Expert opinion: To date, clinical evidence suggests lack of benefit from HCQ use for the treatment of hospitalized patients with COVID-19. In such patients, HCQ also appears to be associated with an increased risk of QT interval prolongation and potentially lethal ventricular arrhythmias. Therefore, FDA has recently revoked the Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) for emergency use of HCQ and chloroquine to treat COVID-19. Conversely, whether HCQ use may represent an effective prophylactic strategy against COVID-19 is a separate question that still remains to be answered. In addition, relevant aspects regarding the potential risks and benefits of HCQ need to be clarified, in pursuit of a rational use of this drug in the COVID-19 pandemic era.

Original languageEnglish
JournalExpert Review of Anti-Infective Therapy
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • COVID-19
  • Drug repositioning
  • Hydroxychloroquine
  • Post-exposure prophylaxis
  • Pre-exposure prophylaxis
  • Prophylaxis
  • Remdesivir
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • Treatment
  • Vitamin D

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Virology
  • Infectious Diseases


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