Honours and awards
1995 : Knight of the National Order of Merit (France)
2000 : Knight of the Legion of Honour (France)
2002 : European Society for Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases Excellence Award (France)
2003 : Jean Valade Prize (Fondation pour la recherche médicale, France)
2005 : Medical grand round (Chicago, USA)
2008 : Sackler International Prize (Tel Aviv University)
2009 : Eloi Collery Prize (Académie Nationale de Médecine)
2010 : Grand prix de l’Inserm (France)
2011 : Officier of the Legion of Honour (France)
2015 : Grand Prix scientifique de la Fondation Louis D. (Institut de France)
2015 : Commander of the National Order of Merit (France)
On 17 March 2020, Raoult announced in an online video that a trial involving 24 patients from southeast France supported the claim that hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin were effective in treating for COVID-19.
20 March, he published a preliminary report of his study online in the International Journal of Antimicrobial Agents. The French Health Minister, Olivier Véran, was reported as announcing that “new tests will now go ahead in order to evaluate the results by Professor Raoult, in an attempt to independently replicate the trials and ensure the findings are scientifically robust enough, before any possible decision might be made to roll any treatment out to the wider public”. Veran refused to endorse the study conducted by Raoult and the possible health ramifications, on the basis of a single study conducted on 24 people.
The French media also reported that the French pharmaceutical company Sanofi had offered French authorities millions of doses of the drug for use against COVID-19. On 3 April, the International Society of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy, which publishes the journal, issued a statement that the report on the non-blind, non-randomized study “does not meet the Society’s expected standard, especially relating to the lack of better explanations of the inclusion criteria and the triage of patients to ensure patient safety.”.
Raoult was one of 11 prominent scientists named on 11 March to a committee to advise on scientific matters pertaining to the epidemic in France. He did not attend any of the meetings and resigned from the committee on 24 March saying that he refused to participate. He denounced the “absence of anything scientific sound,” and criticized its members for “not having a clue.” He defended chloroquine as a benchmark drug for lung diseases, saying that it had suddenly been declared dangerous after having been safely used for 80 years.Following the reports and the complaint filed with the Order of Physicians in July by the French-speaking Society of Infectious Pathology (Spilf), the departmental council of the Order of Physicians filed a complaint against Didier Raoult.