World Health Organization revokes ban on clinical trials of hydroxychloroquine for coronavirus treatment

03 Juin, 2020, 21:23 | Auteur: Yves Courtet
  • Coronavirus WHO resumes trial of hydroxychloroquine after examining safety concerns

Hydroxychloroquine is also one of the drugs being studied by the World Health Organisation (WHO) under its "Solidarity Trail", an worldwide clinical trial to help find an effective treatment for COVID-19.

Several clinical trials, including in Canada, were put on hold after the study was published.

"This concern relates to the use of hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine in COVID-19", World Health Organization said, adding that the drugs are approved treatments for people with malaria or autoimmune diseases.

An global trial using hydroxychloroquine to treat Covid-19 patients will be restarted after questions arose about a study linking the antimalarial drug to increased death and heart risks.

In March, Trump, with little scientific evidence, said hydroxychloroquine used in combination with the antibiotic azithromycin had "a real chance to be one of the biggest game changers in the history of medicine".

Dr. Mandeep Mehra of Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston led both studies, and the authors include Desai Sapan, Surgisphere's founder.

The journal has now issued an Expression of Concern saying "important scientific questions have been raised about data" and noting "an independent audit of the provenance and validity of the data has been commissioned by the authors not affiliated with Surgisphere and is ongoing, with results expected very shortly".

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The move adds to the confusion that has erupted since more than 200 scientists began questioning the study published May 22 in The Lancet. "We will update this notice as soon as we have further information".

Use of hydroxychloroquine to prevent and treat Covid-19 has been a focus of public attention.

"We also clearly outlined the limitations of an observational study that can not fully control for unobservable confounding measures, and we concluded that off-label use of the drug regimens outside of the context of a clinical trial should not be recommended".

Apart from hydroxychloroquine, Gilead Sciences Inc's novel drug remdesivir, a combination of lopinarvir and ritonavir, as well as the anti-cancer combination with interferon are now being testing in the global Solidarity Trial for repurposing existing drugs for treatment of the new respiratory disease. The researchers said the data discrepancy did not affect the study's findings.

He said: "For example, the number of Covid cases that were supposed to be from a subset of Australian hospitals was actually greater than the sum total of cases in Australia reported at the time".

Tedros said that the safety board will continue to closely monitor the safety of all therapeutics being tested in its trials, which include more than 3,500 patients across 35 countries.

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