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The World Health Organization is resuming a clinical trial exploring whether the malaria drug hydroxychloroquine can effectively treat Covid-19, after pausing enrollment in the study to review safety concerns about the drug.

The hydroxychloroquine investigation is just one arm of the agency’s Solidarity Trial, which is testing different therapies to determine which are beneficial in the disease caused by the novel coronavirus. The WHO last week temporarily suspended the hydroxychloroquine arm after a separate study published in the Lancet raised warnings about the drug’s safety.

Like the Lancet study, other observational studies had not found any apparent benefit for the drug in Covid-19. But the Lancet study prompted additional concerns because it found the drug was also associated with higher mortality.

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Outside experts, however, have since questioned the sources and analysis of the patient data included in the Lancet study, which were provided by a little-known company called Surgisphere. They cited inconsistencies in the data — some of which have since been corrected — and a lack of transparency about which countries and hospitals provided the information.

The Lancet study led the WHO to pause the hydroxychloroquine study so the trial’s data safety monitoring board could analyze the results generated so far and see if any safety concerns were apparent.

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At a press briefing Wednesday, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO’s director-general, said the board reviewed the available mortality data and found “no reasons to modify the trial.” He said the WHO was telling the investigators involved in the study to resume their work.

More than 400 hospitals in 35 countries are participating in the Solidarity Trial, which involves thousands of patients.

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Surgisphere also provided the data for another study, looking at blood pressure medications in Covid-19, published in the New England Journal of Medicine last month. Experts have raised similar concerns about the data analysis underlying that study, and on Tuesday, editors at both the Lancet and the New England Journal issued “expressions of concern” about the studies. Independent review teams have also launched audits of the two studies.

The potential of hydroxychloroquine to treat Covid-19 has become a political flashpoint, with President Trump and his political allies cheering its use, despite no gold-standard clinical trials yet showing it is effective. The WHO’s trial could help settle the question of whether or not the drug works in Covid-19.

Also Wednesday, researchers separately reported the results from another hydroxychloroquine clinical trial, finding that it was not effective at preventing Covid-19 infections if it was given to people after they were exposed to others with the virus.

The Lancet paper was not the only source of concern about the safety risks of the drugs in treating Covid-19. The Food and Drug Administration, for example, has warned that it should not be used outside of hospitalized patients or clinical trials for Covid-19. (Hydroxychloroquine is considered safe to take for malaria, rheumatoid arthritis, and lupus, and has been shown to benefit patients with those conditions.)

  • There is so much deceit among “experts” and HCQ is now one of the most dangerous drug in the world. And people and governments around the world are swallowing these lies hook, line and sinker.

  • The trial will deliver on safety, side-effects, and whether anyone was right or wrong. The WHO is doing what it needs to do: be inquisitive, listen to experts, and act accordingly. We need to remember that everything is fluid with this new and dangerous virus. I am not saying the WHO is perfect, but at least it is listening to experts (The Lancet included – they can be wrong too, it appears). But it sure seems warranted that this company “Surgisphere” gets thoroughly investigated (for any kind of questionable / profit connections too).

  • HCQ may not work on patients after exposure, assuming that but it can be given prophylactically.

  • Please let the CNN, BBC, Washington Post, New York Times and other mainstream media critics of no good in anything done by President Trump publish this rethink by WHO. Science is dynamic. President Trump is vindicated.

    • The list is much much bigger than that.
      Its crazyand if this drug works Trump may win the next election for taking it.I hear zinc is very good to take as well.

    • Hydroxychloroquine works. But WHO will cook the books to lie it does not work. Hydroxychloroquine has committed two crimes: 1. It is cheap 2. Pres. Trump mentioned it.

  • And, we see that the alternative no 2 Remdezivir brings to many patients duffering from liverdamages, now gollowing the route to inhale local treatment, that brings deposited API randomly in the lungs and spreads the virus to the lower part in the lungs caused by the condemtion of misty droplets from nebulizer technology into liquidd form, that moves the virus downwards, to infect faster and reduce the oxygeneuptake and the return of co2 by exhalation. Now, caused by the malaria ingredient, causing heart flimmer to many patients, we might see that this medication also needs to be inhaled for local treatment instead of , or as supplemental treatment to the systemic injection or tablet dosing delivery form.
    Only technology that can deliver these ingredients safely with impact is by using the VAVE technology for inhaling the vaccines and drugs for treatment into the lungs, including the lower parts in the lungs. Further information click considaret.com
    Carsten Leonhard Knudsen
    Inventor and scientist.

  • I told my friends with conspiracy theories about this crazy. But I’m starting to change my mind.

    WHO is useless and has lost all credibility. So far they have been wrong at every turn not to mention corrupt.
    However the fact that science is now politicized – scientists and doctors alike. There is nobody left to trust.
    The strict lockdowns are causing more harm then good and the fact that these protests are allowed to go on during this is beyond comprehension. While I can’t go to church
    , work or anywhere else but this is acceptable ? And how nobody is talking about this now for over a week really makes you wonder.

  • Why WHO is becoming day by day misguided. It ought to be a unbiased agency. I had all faith in it but after corona all lost.

  • As a medical practitioner in U.S. I also have some friends in india..who used hydrochloroquine in addition to another set of antibiotics and were successful in saving lives of geriatric patients with + xrays of pneumoniae and some clotting in lungs. I think hydrochloroquine is safe . We call it chloroquine here in U.S . I think big pharma is banking on vaccine and billions of dollars to be made with vaccines. Vaccine is protected against lawsuits and vaccines have made hundreds of billions of dollars for pharma industry. In U.S we vaccinate pta for all kind of stuff and I think its causing greater mental health problems in young generation. No studies have been done against vaccine usage. No one will find it. I would love to do this study of vaccine usage and its overall Male effects on human beings.

    • Hydroxychloroquine is NOT the same as chloroquine (the latter is much more potent). To be a doctor and denounce US vaccinations “for all kind of stuff” is un-professional and speaks of questionable knowledge. You might be better off where-ever you came from, and do your anti-vax studies there. You realize that there is no more smallpox, Spanish flu, and almost no more polio (3 countries left) due to vaccinations?? Should study cattle – they get vaccinated up the ying-yang, yet you want people to suffer – utterly needlessly ??

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