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WHO Drops Hydroxychloroquine from Treating COVID-19

The World Health Organization is dropping Hydroxychloroquine since it’s been found to be ineffective at treating coronavirus.

Wednesday, June 17, WHO announced that the leads of its large solidarity trial are dropping the hydroxychloroquine arm due to evidence of the drug’s ineffectiveness at treating COVID-19.

The announcement comes just two weeks after the trial restarted its hydroxychloroquine. It had been paused in light of reports that the drug might be linked to an increased risk of death for coronavirus patients but was restarted after a safety review didn’t confirm those reports.

The decision to end the hydroxychloroquine testing solidarity trial came after data from the trial and another study suggested it would not be beneficial, said Ana Maria Henao Restrepo, a WHO Medical Officer.

Evidence from both internal and external studies “suggest that hydroxychloroquine, when compared with the standard of care in the treatment of hospitalized COVID patients, does not result in the reduction of mortality of those patients,” said Restrepo, who leads the agency’s research and development blueprint during a media briefing from Geneva.

The trial’s principal investigators decided to cut the arm based on that evidence and other analyses. “After deliberation, they have concluded that the hydroxychloroquine arm will be stopped from the solidarity trial,” she added.

So far, Remdesivir has been shown in clinical trials to help very sick patients in the hospital recover faster. And Tuesday, researchers at the University of Oxford in England reported that a commonly used steroid called Dexamethasone can help COVID-19 patients on ventilators survive the illness, although the data from that trial have not been made public.