WHO stops hydroxychloroquine trials as potential COVID-19 treatment

hydroxychloroquine [Photo Credit: John Locke Foundation]
hydroxychloroquine [Photo Credit: John Locke Foundation]

The World Health Organisation has stopped the testing of hydroxychloroquine on its solidarity trials as one of the potential drugs for the treatment of Covid-19.

The global trial is one of several hunts for drugs that may be effective against COVID-19.

The UN health agency, during a press briefing, said it dropped the malaria medicine from its studies investigating treatments for the coronavirus, after available data indicated the drug was not effective for COVID-19.

This announcement dashed all hopes that hydroxychloroquine, as well as the related drug chloroquine, could be an option at a time when there are too few treatments available for the virus.

The malaria drug had been touted by US President Donald Trump as a treatment for COVID-19. Since then, there have been lots of controversial results from researches on the potential of hydroxychloroquine in the treatment of COVID-19.

WHO medical officer Ana Maria Restrepo, said Wednesday during a briefing in Geneva, that the drug was dropped from the U.N. health agency’s Solidarity Trial.

She said Solidarity Trial investigators would not add any more patients to the hydroxychloroquine arm.

“Patients who had already started hydroxychloroquine but who have not yet finished their course in the trial may complete their course or stop at the discretion of the supervising physician.”

The UN health agency has resumed study of hydroxychloroquine testing for COVID-19 two weeks ago after some studies claimed that the drug was not a potential treatment for the disease.

Failed treatment

With this new announcement, it is expected that hydroxychloroquine will be totally dropped from COVID-19 treatment trials.

The announcement is likely to further dampen hopes the drug is helpful against the coronavirus.

Several larger studies showed the drug was not helpful and caused heart issues in some patients.

A recent study published in the New England Journal of Medicine found hydroxychloroquine was no better than a placebo in preventing coronavirus infections.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration also announced on Monday that it was ending its emergency use authorisation for chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine after concluding the drugs were “unlikely to be effective” against Covid-19.

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FDA said in a notice that ” in light of ongoing serious cardiac adverse events and other serious side effects, the known and potential benefits of CQ and HCQ no longer outweigh the known and potential risks for the authorized use.”

Coronavirus factsheet


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