HPLC analysis of suspected antiviral COVID-19 therapeutics chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine

The rise and fall of a miracle drug

In the desperate search for active ingredients that could fight the corona virus, the known and anti-malaria proven drug chloroquine came into the scientists' focus early in the beginning of the pandemic. A real hype, even fueled by prominent opinion formers and multipliers from world politics began, although validated patient studies, which showed clear evidence of the benefit were missing. Meanwhile FDA has revoked the emergency use authorization for using chloroquine and its hydroxylated derivative hydroxychloroquine with hospitalized COVID-19 patients due to possible serious cardiological side effects.(1) Moreover recently published studies mentioned that chloroquine cannot prevent human lung cell infection with the SARS-CoV-2 virus.(2)

The following HPLC analysis showed the separation of chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine on a MACHEREY-NAGEL NUCLEODUR C18 Gravity column in isocratic mode.

Access to HPLC application: chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine

Further examples of drug analysis related to COVID-19

Currently the following drugs are recommended for the treatment of COVID-19(3):

  • Remdesivir
  • Dexamethasone
    (if dexamethasone is not available, an equivalent dose of another corticosteroid may be used)
  • Baricitinib
  • Tofacitinib
  • Tocilizumab
  • Sarilumab


(1) FDA News release, June 2020
(2) Hoffmann, M. Mösbauer, K.Hofmann-Winkler, H. et al. Chloroquine does not inhibit infection of human lung cells with SARS-CoV-2. Nature (2020). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41586-020-2575-3
(3) www.covid19treatmentguidelines.nih.gov, August 25, 2021 (an official website of the National Institutes of Health, NIH)



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