GENEVA (AP) – The World Health Organization said Monday that it will temporarily stop hydroxychloroquine – an anti-malaria drug that US President Trump said he is consuming – from his global research into experimental COVID-19 treatment, saying that experts need to review all evidence available to date.
In a press conference, WHO director general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said that based on a paper published last week in Lancet that showed that people using hydroxychloroquine had a higher risk of death and heart problems, there would be a “temporary pause” in the hydroxychloroquine arm from clinical trials global.
“This concern is related to the use of hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine in COVID-19,” Tedros said, adding that the drugs were approved treatments for people with malaria or autoimmune diseases. Other treatments in the trial, including experimental drug remdesivir and HIV combination therapy, are still being tested.
Tedros said the executive group behind the WHO “Solidarity” global trial met on Saturday and decided to conduct a comprehensive review of all available data on hydroxy chlorine and that its use in trials would be suspended for now.
Michael Ryan, WHO chief of emergency, said there was no indication of safety problems with hydroxychloroquine in the WHO trial to date, but statisticians will now analyze the information.
“We only act on the basis of prudence based on the latest results from all research to ensure that we can proceed safely with the trial arm,” he said. WHO said it expected to have more details in the next two weeks.
Last week, Trump announced he was using hydroxychloroquine even though he had not tested positive for COVID-19. The government itself has warned the drug could have deadly side effects, and the European Medicines Agency and the US Food and Drug Administration have warned health professionals last month that the drug should not be used to treat COVID-19 outside the hospital or research settings due to many serious side effects which in some cases can be fatal.
Hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine are approved to treat lupus and rheumatoid arthritis and to prevent and treat malaria, but there are no large rigorous tests that find them safe or effective to prevent or treat COVID-19.
The Associated Press contributed to this report
to request modification Contact us at Here or [email protected]