COVID-19: WHO Resumes Trials of Malaria Drug, Hydroxychloroquine

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After examining safety concerns, the World Health Organization has resumed hydroxychloroquine trial for treatment of COVID-19 patients.

On 22 May, a study published by The Lancet, a medical journal, claimed that hydroxychloroquine had no positive effect on the treatment of COVID-19 among 96,032 sampled patients.

Tedros Ghebreyesus, the WHO director-general, announced a temporary pause in the WHO solidarity trial of the drug, while citing the study.

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Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus

Addressing a virtual press conference on Wednesday, Tedros said the drug trial will now commence in the quest of finding a solution to the virus.

He said findings by the WHO data safety monitoring board revealed that there was no reason to discontinue the trial after reviewing available data on the drug.

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Tedros said the executive group endorsed the recommendation, adding that all arms of the solidarity trial will continue.

Last week, the executive group of the Solidarity Trial decided to implement a temporary pause of the hydroxychloroquine arm of the trial, because of concerns raised about the safety of the drug, he said.
This decision was taken as a precaution while the safety data were reviewed.

The data safety and monitoring committee of the solidarity trial has been reviewing the data.
On the basis of the available mortality data, members of the committee recommended that there are no reasons to modify the trial protocol.

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The executive group received this recommendation and endorsed continuation of all arms of the solidarity trial, including hydroxychloroquine. The executive group will communicate with the principal investigators in the trial about resuming the hydroxychloroquine arm of the trial.

The data safety and monitoring committee will continue to closely monitor the safety of all therapeutics being tested in the solidarity trial.
Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said: “Based on available data, the #COVID19 Solidarity Trial Data Safety & Monitoring Committee recommended that there are no reasons to modify the trial protocol.

The executive group endorsed the continuation of all arms of the trial, including the use of hydroxychloroquine”.

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