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WHO Halts Hydroxychloroquine, HIV Drugs in COVID-19 Trials

WHO Halts Hydroxychloroquine, HIV Drugs in COVID-19 Trials

Sunday, 5 July, 2020 - 08:30
FILE PHOTO: A pharmacy worker shows pills of hydroxychloroquine used to treat the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) at the CHR Centre Hospitalier Regional de la Citadelle in Liege, Belgium. Reuters
Asharq Al-Awsat

The World Health Organization has said it is ending a trial into whether anti-malaria drug hydroxychloroquine helps patients hospitalized with the COVID-19 disease.

WHO said Saturday it has “accepted the recommendation” from the committee overseeing the trial to discontinue testing of hydroxychloroquine and lopinavir/ritonavir, a drug combination used to treat HIV/AIDS.

The drugs were being compared with standard care for hospitalized patients.

WHO said a review of the interim results showed hydroxychloroquine and lopinavir/ritonavir “produce little or no reduction in the mortality of hospitalized COVID-19 patients when compared to standard of care.”

The agency added that while there was no “solid evidence” of increased mortality for hospitalized patients given the drugs, there were “some associated safety signals in the clinical laboratory findings” of an associated trial.

WHO said the decision won’t affect possible trials on patients who aren’t hospitalized, or on those receiving the drugs before potential exposure to the coronavirus or shortly afterward.

Also Saturday, the Organization said member states reported more than 212,000 new confirmed cases of COVID-19, the highest single-day increase since the start of the pandemic.

The Geneva-based WHO said the highest number of new infections was reported from the Americas region, which includes the United States and Brazil, with almost 130,000 confirmed cases.

WHO’s count can differ from other global case tallies due to official reporting delays.

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