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WHO ending hydroxychloroquine trial for COVID

An arrangement of hydroxychloroquine pills.
(Associated Press)

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

The 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.

The United Nations agency says 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 WHO adds 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.

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The agency says 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.


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