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COVID-19 Trial: WHO Resumes its Trial of Hydroxychloroquine

The World Health Organization is resuming its trial of hydroxychloroquine, after temporarily halting research over safety concerns.

The U.N agency last month paused the part of its large study treatments against COVID-19 in which newly enrolled patients were getting the anti-malarial drug to treat COVID-19 due to fears of its increased death rates and irregular heartbeats.

During a press conference Wednesday, June 3, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said, “The Data Safety Monitoring Board decided there was no reason to discontinue the international trial after reviewing available data on the drug.”

“The executive group will communicate with the principal investors in the trial about resuming the hydroxychloroquine arm of the trial,” he added on a media briefing, referring to WHO’s initiative to hold clinical tests of potential COVID-19 treatments on some 3,500 patients in 35 countries.

“WHO is committed to accelerating the development of effective therapeutics, vaccines, and diagnostics as part of our commitment to serving the world with science, solutions, and solidarity,” he said.

On May 25, WHO announced it had temporarily suspended the use of hydroxychloroquine over safety concerns. The announcement came days after a study published in the medical journal The Lancet found that hospitalized COVID-19 patients treated with hydroxychloroquine had a higher risk of death than those who didn’t take it

But there’s no evidence that any drug actually reduces the mortality in patients who have COVID-19, WHO officials said.