World Health Organization Puts Hydroxychloroquine Trial On Hold

26 May 2020. The WHO paused hydroxychloroquine’s inclusion in a global trial of COVID-19 treatments, following the release of a study linking the drug to harmful outcomes, Politico reports.

The observational study, published in the Lancet, tied the use of hydroxychloroquine or chloroquine in COVID-19 patients with a higher risk of death and increased frequency of heart arrhythmias.

The WHO “will err on the side of caution" and give the trial’s data safety monitoring board a chance to examine the evidence and determine whether to proceed, said WHO chief scientist Soumya Swaminathan.

The Lancet noted that the drugs are generally safe for approved uses such as for autoimmune disease or malaria—but need to be carefully evaluated to see how they affect COVID-19 patients. Story credit: Johns Hopkins University Global Health NOW