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WHO Pauses Antimalarial Drug Clinical Trials For Coronavirus Treatment, Citing Lack Of Evidence

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WHO Pauses Antimalarial Drug Clinical Trials For Coronavirus Treatment, Citing Lack Of Evidence

The World Health Organization has temporarily suspended clinical trials of hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine that aimed to test the effectiveness of the drugs against novel coronavirus (COVID-19).

What Happened

The testing has been paused in light of a study published in a medical journal the Lancet on Friday, which suggested that patients who took the drug alone or with a macrolide had higher mortality, the WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told reporters Monday.

The multinational Solidarity Trial team, which is studying four combinations of drugs, including hydroxychloroquine, for their effectiveness against COVID-19, met on Saturday, and decided to pause further testing and review a "comprehensive analysis and critical appraisal of all evidence available globally," Tedros said.

"The review will consider data collected so far in the Solidarity Trial and in particular robust randomised available data, to adequately evaluate the potential benefits and harms from this drug," the WHO leader said.

Why It Matters

Trials of other drugs, including Remdesivir, are continuing as usual, according to Tedros.

President Donald Trump has long touted the use of antimalarial drugs against COVID-19, even as health experts, including members of the White House Coronavirus Task Force, warned on the lack of research.

Trump, in an interview with Sharyl Attkisson on Sunday, said he had completed a two-week course of hydroxychloroquine. "Finished, just finished, yeah," he said. "And by the way, I'm still here."

 

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