WHO halts trial of anti-malaria drug hydroxychloroquine for Covid-19 over safety concerns

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The World Health Organisation (WHO), on Monday said it had ‘paused’ the clinical trials of hydroxychloroquine in COVID-19 patients citing safety reasons.

Hydroxychloroquine has been touted as a possible treatment for coronavirus by US President Donald Trump as well as others.

“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,” WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said on Monday.

“The other arms of the trial are continuing,” he said.

“The decision to suspend trials of hydroxychloroquine had been taken out of an abundance of caution,” Dr Mike Ryan, head of the WHO emergencies programme said.

The novel coronavirus cases surpassed 5.3 million mark globally, with over 3.4 lakh fatalities.

The US has the world’s highest number of cases over 1.6 lakh and death toll near 98,000.

Brazil has the second-highest number of cases followed by Russia, UK, Spain, Italy, France and Germany.