We write with grave concern that too many are being distracted by the ardent advocacy of our Yale colleague, Dr. Harvey Risch, to promote the assertion that hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) when given with antibiotics is effective in treating COVID-19, in particular as an early therapeutic intervention for the disease. As his colleagues, we defend the right of Dr. Risch, a respected cancer epidemiologist, to voice his opinions. But he is not an expert in infectious disease epidemiology and he has not been swayed by the body of scientific evidence from rigorously conducted clinical trials, which refute the plausibility of his belief and arguments. Over the last few weeks, all of us have spent considerable time explaining the evidence behind HCQ research, as it applies to early and late stage COVID-19 patients to the scientific community and general public, and now are compelled to detail the evidence in this open letter.
We are seriously alarmed for the safety of patients and the coherence and effectiveness of our national COVID-19 emergency response when misinformation about HCQ is spread and when rigorous scientific evidence and consensus produced by the community of expert researchers in infectious diseases, federal agencies and national and global health organizations are not heeded.