Continuous hydroxychloroquine or colchicine therapy does not prevent infection with SARS-CoV-2: Insights from a large healthcare database analysis

Autoimmun Rev. 2020 Jul;19(7):102566. doi: 10.1016/j.autrev.2020.102566. Epub 2020 May 5.


Background: Some disease-modifying agents commonly used to treat patients with rheumatic diseases/autoimmune disorders, such as hydroxychloroquine and colchicine, are under investigation as potential therapies for the "coronavirus disease 2019" (COVID-19). However, the role of such agents as prophylactic tools is still not clear.

Methods: This is a retrospective study based on a large healthcare computerized database including all patients that were screened for the "Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus type 2" (SARS-CoV-2) in the study period from February 23rd 2020 to March 31st 2020. A comparison was conducted between subjects tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 and those found negative in terms of rate of administration of hydroxychloroquine/colchicine therapy.

Results: An overall sample of 14,520 subjects were screened for SARS-CoV-2 infection and 1317 resulted positive. No significant difference was found in terms of rates of usage of hydroxychloroquine or colchicine between those who were found positive for SARS-CoV-2 and those who were found negative (0.23% versus 0.25% for hydroxychloroquine, and 0.53% versus 0.48% for colchicine, respectively).

Conclusion: These findings raise doubts regarding the protective role of these medications in the battle against SARS-CoV-2 infection.

Keywords: Autoimmunity; COVID-19; Colchicine; Hydroxychloroquine; Rheumatic disease; SARS-CoV-2.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Betacoronavirus
  • COVID-19
  • Chemoprevention
  • Colchicine / therapeutic use*
  • Coronavirus Infections / prevention & control*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hydroxychloroquine / therapeutic use*
  • Israel
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pandemics / prevention & control*
  • Pneumonia, Viral / prevention & control*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • Treatment Failure


  • Hydroxychloroquine
  • Colchicine