The World Health Organization has suspended temporarily clinical trials of hydroxychloroquine as a potential treatment for COVID-19 being carried out across a range of countries as a precautionary measure.
The announcement was made on Monday after the publication last week of a study in the Lancet indicating that using the drug on COVID-19 patients could increase their likelihood of dying, WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told a virtual press conference.
“The Executive Group has implemented a temporary pause of the hydroxychloroquine arm within the Solidarity Trial while the safety data is reviewed by the Data Safety Monitoring Board,” Tedros said.
“The other arms of the trial are continuing,” he stressed. Since US President Donald Trump announced that he has been taking Hydroxychloroquine, many governments have bought it in bulk anticipating to use it to treat coronavirus.
Brazil’s health minister also recommended last week using hydroxychloroquine, as well as the anti-malarial chloroquine, to treat even mild COVID-19 cases.
The Lancet study found that both drugs can produce potentially serious side effects, particularly heart arrhythmia.
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