WHO Stops Trials on Popular Malaria Drug as COVID-19 Treatment over Safety Concerns


The antimalarial drug, Hydroxychloroquine has been fronted as a potential cure for the deadly COVID-19 that has infected at least 5 million people globally. POTUS, Donald Trump had publicly insisted that the drug should be administered to patients even if it had a slow chance of helping the patients recover. Scientists had warned the public against overindulgence on the alleged cure, as there were no clinical trials reports to back it up.

After months of trials, the World Health Organization (WHO) has opted to suspend the testing of hydroxychloroquine in COVID-19 patients due to safety concerns.

“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,” said WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus during an online briefing on Monday.

Hydroxychloroquine is used to treat malaria which is caused by mosquito bites. This medication is also used to treat certain auto-immune disease like lupus, rheumatoid and arthritis. WHO director-general Tedros noted that the executive group overseeing the organization’s trial of experimental treatments decided to suspend the use hydroxychloroquine in light a study published in The Lancet that found a lower survival rate among hospitalized COVID-19 patients using the drug.

Head of the WHO emergencies programme Dr. Mike Ryan added that the decision to suspend trials of hydroxychloroquine had been taken out of an abundance of caution.

“The trial’s steering committee will use the pause to allow the Data Safety Monitoring Board to conduct a review and appraisal of “all evidence available globally” to “adequately evaluate the potential benefits and harms from this drug,” Tedros added.