Though a coronavirus vaccine is not a prospect in the near term, many therapies are under investigation to mitigate the symptoms of COVID-19, including chloroquine. Now, a recent literature review suggests that the effectiveness and safety demonstrated by long-time clinical use of chloroquine for other indications justifies clinical research on this treatment for patients with COVID-19.

A team compiled six articles (one narrative letter, one in vitro study, one editorial, one expert consensus paper and two national guideline documents) and 23 ongoing clinical trials related to the drug’s use with COVID-19. Their findings indicate that chloroquine can effectively limit the replication of SARS-CoV-2 in vitro.

“However, clinical use should either adhere to the Monitored Emergency Use of Unregistered Interventions (MEURI) framework or be ethically approved as a trial as stated by the World Health Organization,” the study authors concluded in their paper. “Safety data and data from high-quality clinical trials are urgently needed.”

Cortegiani A, Ingoglia G, Ippolito M, et al. A systematic review on the efficacy and safety of chloroquine for the treatment of COVID-19. J Crit Care. March 10, 2020. [Epub ahead of print].