The World Health Organization (WHO) said Monday that it had "temporarily" suspended clinical trials of hydroxychloriquine as a potential treatment for COVID-19 being carried out across a range of countries as a precautionary measure.
Hydroxychloriquine is an anti-malarial drug that’s also used by doctors to treat rheumatoid arthritis and lupus. This decision is based on studies proving that hydroxychloriquine on COVID-19 patients could increase their likelihood of dying, WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told media. The meeting came a day after the Lancet published the largest observational study of the malaria drugs to date. Malaria drug ould raise risk of death and heart problems. “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 on Monday.
Other treatments in the WHO’s solidarity trial, including the experimental drug remdesivir and an HIV combination therapy, are still being pursued. The WHO has previously recommended against using hydroxychloroquine to treat or prevent coronavirus infections, except as part of clinical trials. President Donald Trump revealed last week that he’s taking hydroxychloriquine to prevent COVID-19.