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COVID19: WHO suspends trial of hydroxychloroquine over safety concerns

A clinical trial of hydroxychloroquine as a potential treatment for COVID-19 has been ’temporarily’ suspended by the World Health Organisation (WHO).
 
The Director-General of the UN health agency, Tedros Ghebreyesus, in a virtual press conference on Monday said the decision follows a study in the Lancet indicating that use of the drug on COVID-19 patients could increase their likelihood of dying.

The cited study, titled “Chloroquine or hydroxychloroquine for COVID-19: Why might they be hazardous?” published on Friday, highlighted that patients who took chloroquine, which hydroxychloroquine is derived from, were also more likely to develop irregular heart rhythms.

Mr Ghebreyesus also said the executive group of the Solidarity Trial, in which hundreds of hospitals across several countries have enrolled patients to test several possible treatments for the virus, had as a precaution, suspended trials using that drug.



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“The executive group has implemented a temporary pause of the hydroxychloroquine arm within the Solidarity Trial while the data is reviewed by the Data Safety Monitoring Board.

“The other arms of the trial are continuing,” he said.

He also said this decision only applies to the use of the hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine in COVID-19 patients.

“I wish to reiterate that these drugs are accepted as generally safe for use in patients with autoimmune diseases or malaria, ” he said Premiumtimesng

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