WHO Officially Suspends Hydroxychloroquine Clinical Trials as a Medicine to Treat Coronavirus

The World Health Organization has officially suspended the clinical trials to investigate hydroxychloroquine to treat coronavirus in positively diagnosed patients. These trials were started in multiple countries after this arthritis drug was thought to have coronavirus treatment potential.

This decision by WHO has been made after the latest study published in the journal The Lancet suggested that hydroxychloroquine doesn’t treat coronavirus. In fact, it increases the mortality risk in positively diagnosed patients of coronavirus.

The World Health Organization chief, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus also mentioned this in a digital press conference. He said that this trial included so many hospitals from all parts of the world which were searching for a coronavirus treatment.

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“The Executive Group has implemented a temporary pause of the hydroxychloroquine arm within the Solidarity Trial while the safety data is reviewed by the Data Safety Monitoring Board,” he said.

Hydroxychloroquine is a typical treatment for arthritis however, it gained popularity as some of the coronavirus patients reportedly felt better after using it. its potential to treat coronavirus got so much famous after U.S President Trump endorsed using it; telling that is also using hydroxychloroquine to prevent coronavirus. It leads to major countries of the world to purchase and stock bulk of hydroxychloroquine.

In addition to this, the Brazilian health minister suggested using hydroxychloroquine, and chloroquine (an anti-malarial medicine) for coronavirus treatment, even for mild cases.

The recent study published in The Lancet studied the side effects of hydroxychloroquine in animal subjects which are lethal in humans. These side effects include heart arrhythmia as the primary cause of death in coronavirus patients, if treated with hydroxychloroquine.

Neither hydroxychloroquine nor chloroquine helped coronavirus patients who were admitted to the hospitals for severe symptoms. This was checked for 96,000 confirmed patients of coronavirus from hundreds of hospitals around the world.

Tedros, the WHO chief suggested that these two medicines are helpful to treat arthritis or malaria in patients but certainly not the coronavirus. A scientist from WHO Soumya Swaminathan says that this Solidarity Trial initially supported by WHO was only investigating the additional medicinal effects of hydroxychloroquine and it was not studying chloroquine.

This new decision to suspend this trial is probably a temporary one. It is a precautionary measure to save people who are using these medicines in an attempt to prevent coronavirus, after reading the online remedies for coronavirus.

The coronavirus infection which initiated from China, last December has now been declared as a pandemic as it has killed more than 350,000 people in different parts of the world and infecting more than 5.5 million people.

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There is no vaccine or treatment that could help coronavirus patients which is why the medical community has started experimental measures to find out something that could save all these infected people. This infection has been so dangerous that controlling it has led to confine nearly half of the world’s population indoors by imposing lockdowns.

Now as the new virus cases have reduced, many countries are gradually lifting the lockdown and easing the restrictions. However, the World Health Organization still insists to follow the standard precautionary measures and continue the coronavirus testing. It is still a long wat to find something that could treat coronavirus. Till then, the following self care practices are mandatory.


Areeba Hussain

The author is a fulltime medical and healthcare writer. She graduated in Medical Microbiology and Immunology with distinction. Her areas of prime interest are medicine, medical technology, disease awareness, and research analysis. Twitter @Areeba94789300

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