WHO discontinues trial for Trump-touted hydroxychloroquine for hospitalized COVID-19 patients

Hydroxychloroquine, the anti-malarial medicine once touted by President Trump as a coronavirus cure-all, is off the World Health Organization’s (WHO) list of drugs to use against the disease.

WHO announced Saturday it will discontinue trials of hydroxychloroquine and the HIV drug lopinavir/ritonavir because trials are showing that the drugs don’t reduce mortality, at least not in those hospitalized.

“Interim trial results show that hydroxychloroquine and lopinavir/ritonavir produce little or no reduction in the mortality of hospitalized COVID-19 patients when compared to standard of care,” WHO said in a statement.

For this reason WHO’s international steering committee had recommended the trials under way in numerous countries be halted.

It also was not clear if the drugs might hurt patients, WHO said.

“For each of the drugs, the interim results do not provide solid evidence of increased mortality,” WHO said. “There were, however, some associated safety signals” in findings of the research team.

The decision “does not affect the possible evaluation in other studies of hydroxychloroquine or lopinavir/ritonavir in non-hospitalized patients or as pre- or post-exposure prophylaxis for COVID-19,” WHO said.

Trump in May revealed he was taking hydroxychloroquine to stave off coronavirus, a move that health experts considered risky.

‘I’m still here’: Trump says he’s taking hydroxychloroquine in case he gets coronavirus despite safety concerns

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in June withdrew its authorization for using the drug on an emergency basis, CNN reported. It did the same for trials around the world, CNN said, including some sponsored by WHO and the National Institutes of Health.

Some of the issues with hydroxychloroquine involve potential heart effects, as Forbes noted.

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