By Damon Mitchell •
Published: 31 Mar 2020 • 15:10
CONTROVERSIAL French microbiologist Didier Raoult has managed to convince thousands, including US President Donald Trump, that a common antimalarial drug can save people infected by Covid-19.
In just a short time Raoult has become France’s best-known doctor after announcing the Coronavirus ‘endgame’ on YouTube.
The antimalarial chloroquine and its related compound, hydroxychloroquine, have been the focus of intense debate in France since Raoult, the head of a university hospital institute in Marseille, announced what he said were promising results on a small sample of patients.
Since then, people have been queuing outside his hospital to get treatment, the results of which were not reviewed by his peers prior to general publication.
Raoult’s team examined a small number of patients, choosing which received treatment with the malaria drug and which did not, breaking with standard practice in trials of randomly assigning patients to avoid any bias. The scientists also failed to collect full data from some patients and did not follow the study protocol originally outlined.
Raoult’s many social media followers have expressed outrage that health authorities are not freely allowing the use of the drug, forcing the government to publicly justify its strict guidelines on chloroquine.
Chloroquine and its compounds have been used to treat Covid-19 patients in several affected countries, including China, but Raoult’s comments contrast with his peers’ approach, who have treated it as one of several medications showing potential. It’s part of four treatments currently tested in an EU-wide clinical trial called Discovery.
Share this story
Subscribe to our Euro Weekly News alerts to get the latest stories into your inbox!
By signing up, you will create a Euro Weekly News account if you don't already have one. Review our
From the interviewed to the interviewer
As frontman of a rock band Damon used to court the British press, now he lives the quiet life in Spain and seeks to get to the heart of the community, scoring exclusive interviews with ex-pats about their successes and struggles during their new life in the sun.
Originally from Scotland but based on the coast for the last three years, Damon strives to bring the most heartfelt news stories from the spanish costas to the Euro Weekly News.
Share your story with us by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org, by calling +34 951 38 61 61 or by messaging our Facebook page www.facebook.com/EuroWeeklyNews
Download our media pack in either English or Spanish.