The World Health Organization on Wednesday said it was dropping the malaria medicine hydroxychloroquine from its massive study investigating treatments for the coronavirus, after available data indicated the drug was not effective for Covid-19.

The announcement from the agency is the latest blow to the hopes that hydroxychloroquine, as well as the related drug chloroquine, could provide patients an option at a time when there are too few treatments available for the virus. Those hopes were fanned by President Trump and some of his political allies, who vowed the drug could be a game changer despite a dearth of evidence indicating they worked.

But in recent weeks, rigorous studies have found that hydroxychloroquine did not show benefits for patients with Covid-19 and did not prevent people who had been exposed to the virus from becoming sick.

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At a WHO briefing, Ana Maria Henao Restrepo, who leads the agency’s research and development blueprint, said the decision to halt the hydroxychloroquine portion of the multiarm Solidarity trial came as a result of the failure of the drug in the other study looking at it as a treatment, and of the data generated so far in the Solidarity trial. The studies showed hydroxychloroquine did not reduce mortality in Covid-19 compared to standard of care.

“The decision was made to stop the randomization with the hydroxychloroquine trial,” Henao Restrepo said.

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Patients who were already enrolled and were in the midst of their hydroxychloroquine regimen can complete their course or stop, the WHO said.

The Solidarity trial is continuing to compare other potential Covid-19 drugs. More than 400 hospitals in 35 countries are participating in the study.

Earlier this week, the Food and Drug Administration revoked its emergency authorization for hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine for Covid-19 after determining the drugs “are unlikely to be effective” in treating the disease. It also said that there had been reports of “serious cardiac adverse events and other serious side effects” associated with using the drugs in Covid-19.

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In addition to malaria, the two drugs are shown to be safe and effective for rheumatoid arthritis and lupus.

WHO officials also said Wednesday they were awaiting the full data from another study this week that, the investigators said, found that a steroid called dexamethasone reduced deaths in patients with severe Covid-19 illnesses (those sick enough to require oxygen or be placed on ventilators). They said they were also analyzing data from other studies of steroids in Covid-19, which could lead to new clinical guidance for treating patients.

Mike Ryan, the head of the agency’s emergency program, praised the potential of dexamethasone, but stressed that it needed to be used under medical supervision and was meant only for patients in serious condition.

  • I use for the past 30 years only vitamin C, B complex, dolomite and zinc tablets 2 x every day and I can’t remember when last I got the flu and I am healthy till today. Thank you Lord for your blessings on me

  • We still do not know if HCQ is effective or not. The same can be said about every other therapy or vaccine. But there have been some positive effects reported with HCQ. It seems the biggest drawback to HCQ is that it was suggested by President Trump. The second biggest drawback is how inexpensive it is. The attack is political, not science based. And the reports of safety are of sudden cardiac death. According to WHO before this controversy, hundreds of millions of doses without any sudden cardiac deaths. This drug is FDA approved. All doctors can legally prescribe it. We don’t need these pseudo-governmental organizations interfering with doctor patient relationships.

    • HCQS is a unique immune modulator drug. Its most brilliant use is in its pharmacological mechanism for treating RA and SLE (arthritis and lupus). Originally, the drug is approved since 1954 by the FDA for this use (labeled use) and very well received by the FDA for RA and SLE. HCQS inhibits SARS virus (a coronavirus like virus) in vitro, and his fact is well known since 2002. Systemic inflammatory response (cytokine storm) is the main complication of covid19 in the lungs and the cause of Wuhan lethal pneumonia. The virus has an affinity to attach to ACE2 receptors in the respiratory system and eyes. HCQS works against ccovid19 in 2 ways: SARS2 coronavirus attaches to ACE2 (angiotensin2) receptors using its spikes to enter the body and replicate. This attachment is only possible in a pH environment. HCQS increases the cellular pH by alkalinizing the cellular environment where the ang2 receptor is present, specifically lungs, blocking viral attachment to this receptor and blocking viral replication. The next mechanism of HCQS against covid19 is its potent anti-inflammatory property. HCQS lowers and modulates pro-inflammatory cytokines circulation in the blood (immunomodulator). Cytokine storm (body’s systemic inflammatory response) is modulated by HCQS and the lethal inflammatory process in the lungs is minimized and or not possible. Pharmacologically, HCQS is the magic bullet for this virus. HCQS is also an anti-arrhythmic drug, and is a classic TdP inducer drug. With good cardiac monitoring of this EKG induced issue, HCQS is a very safe drug as in being used since 1954 with very safe profile, even cardiac profile, and is the 2nd most prescribed drug (worldwide) for over 65 years, in immunology and infectious diseases specialties.

  • WHO is incomprehensible non profit organization and perplexing health. It’s need to be clear on this COVID 19. All healthcare provider we know that to save our life is prophylaxis more than PPE and vaccination to more health diet. We need first vaccination and pre exposure prophylaxis and post exposure prophylaxis for COVID 19. This is new pathogen epidemic hubei Wuhan city of China in wet market sell of alive wildlife animal and three animal suspect bat, panglion and 🐍 but it’s not clear origin animal Carrie’s this new virus. W. H. O it’s need work hand by hand with CDC and all healthcare workers to ensure the reality of this because PPE and treatment and nutrition can not end this. To day China claim ready to get vaccine of COVID 19 but relapse is there. CDC ready to permit hydroxychloroque phosphate and chloroquine Zinc and medical ready support it to use as prophylaxis regardless complications. Trump claimed to used hydroxychloroque and obvious not wear mask but xi is wear who is truth and other is false have good outcome 🙏. I think it’s time the world to be together to found the vaccine more than anything. Economic growth phobia is obvious and politics tension is high can abstain proper treatment and appropriate management.

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