Toxicity of hydroxychloroquine, a potential treatment for COVID-19, on free-living marine nematodes

Manel Benali, Amor Zaied Ali Hedfi, Mohammed Salah Almalki, Paraskevi K. Karachle, Fehmi Boufahja

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


On March 2020, hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) was recommended as a treatment for COVID-19 high risk patients. Following the massive and widespread use of HCQ worldwide, a discernible high quantity is anticipated to end-up through the sewage systems in marine coastal areas. A closed microcosm study was undertaken herein for 30 days where meiobenthic nematodes were exposed to a range of HCQ concentrations (3.162, 31.62 and 63.24 μ−1). After one month of exposure in HCQ, the total abundances and Shannon-Wiener index of the assemblages decreased, whereas the individual mass and the Trophic Diversity Index increased at the highest concentrations. Overall, a numerical negative impact was observed for the epistrate feeders and non-selective deposit feeders, however, this benefited to the omnivores-carnivores, and particularly to the Oncholaimids. Such responses of the nematodes 2B and the corresponding taxa are bioindicative of current- or post-COVID-19 crisis risks in relation with the bioaccumulation of HCQ in seafood.

Original languageEnglish
Article number112361
JournalMarine Pollution Bulletin
StatePublished - Jun 2021


  • COVID-19 crisis
  • Ecotoxicity
  • Free-living marine nematodes
  • Hydroxychloroquine
  • Seafood


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