The World Health Organization (WHO) has disclosed that it will temporarily suspend clinical trials of hydroxychloroquine as a potential treatment for COVID-19.
This new move comes against a study that shows that using the drug on COVID-19 patients could increase their chance of dying.
Director-General Dr. Tedros Ghebreyesus made the announcement at a WHO media briefing recently.
He said the decision was made following a meeting with 10 of the participating countries.
“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 also stated that “the other arms of the trial are continuing.”
Dr. Ghebreyesus said WHO will provide further updates as soon as it knows more.
However, Dr. Ghebreyesus emphasized the point that hydroxychloroquine is generally safe in the treatment of patients with autoimmune diseases and malaria.
The WHO and health authorities around the world have warned of the potentially dangerous side effects. Moreover, there is no definitive proof that the drug is effective against COVID-19.
U.S. President Donald Trump recently said that he was taking the drug but has since stopped.
The latest data show that 5.5 million persons have tested positive for coronavirus globally, with 344,000 deaths.
The U.S. has recorded 1.6 million cases, with nearly 100,000 deaths.
Nigel Bell, Readers Bureau, Fellow
Edited by Jesus Chan
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