World Health Organization Halts Hydroxychloroquine Trials

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Earlier in the week, the World Health Organization(WHO) announced they would temporarily stop conducting tests using hydroxychloroquine as a possible treatment for patients with Covid-19. 

Safety concerns had started to arise because preliminary results indicated that patients who were using hydroxychloroquine to treat COVID-19 showed that they were at a higher risk for developing heart disease and other health problems. Due to these safety concerns, the World Health Organization has halted all clinical trials.

In a statement released by the WHO they said:

  • “In light of recent publications of evidence on the safety and efficacy of hydroxychloroquine as a treatment for COVID-19 patients, the Executive Group of the Solidarity Trial decided to implement a temporary pause of the hydroxychloroquine arm within the trial as a precaution while the safety data is being reviewed”.
  • “As an example, an observational study published in the Lancet on 22 May found that, among 100 000 patients from multiple countries randomized to receive hydroxychloroquine, when used alone or with a macrolide, there was a higher mortality rate and an increased frequency of irregular heartbeats”.
  • “A final decision on the harm, benefit or lack of benefit of hydroxychloroquine will be made once the evidence has been reviewed by the Data Safety Monitoring Board. This review will include data from the Solidarity Trial and other ongoing trials, as well as any evidence published so far. It is expected by mid-June”.

Hydroxychloroquine has been used in the United States since the 1950s and is one of the essential medicines used in treating patients with malaria.

There are currently multiple drugs being tested as possible treatments for the COVID-19. While doctors are looking for ways to treat COVID-19 they also need to make sure that patients who take experimental drugs are safe and don’t display any serious side effects. For now, hydroxychloroquine will not be used to treat the COVID-19.