OHDSI collected data on nearly 1,000,000 cases of people on hydroxychloroquine. They released a research report on HCQ’s safety. However, I am dismayed they haven’t used this data to answer the key question: is hydroxychloroquine protective against COVID-19?
Back in March when the news first broke that HCQ might be curative or protective against COVID-19, there were only a few hundred COVID-19 deaths in the U.S. Now it’s a hundred times that. The key importance of the big-data approach for determining the effectiveness of a medication is that the question can be answered in a matter of days, whereas setting up and conducting a randomized, controlled drug trial would take months. And in the case of an emerging epidemic undergoing exponential growth, every day is vital.
Note the importance of this goes beyond just HCQ. For instance interferon also has been reported in some small trials to be effective against COVID-19. Interferon is in use by many people for treatment of several illnesses such as hepatitis and multiple sclerosis. Then big-data can also be used to determine if interferon is protective against COVID-19.
And if you think about it, you realize big-data can be used to find effective medications for any disease.
Dept. of Mathematics
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