Jun 3, 2020 - Health

World Health Organization resumes hydroxychloroquine trial

— Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus

WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. Photo: Fabrice Coffrini/AFP via Getty Images

The World Health Organization will resume its hydroxychloroquine trial after its safety committee found "there are no reasons to modify the trial protocol," WHO's director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said at a press briefing Wednesday.

The big picture: The organization temporarily suspended its trial for the antimalarial drug last week after an analysis published in The Lancet showed coronavirus patients who took hydroxychloroquine or its related drug chloroquine were more likely to die or develop an irregular heart rhythm.

  • The medical journal said Wednesday an independent audit was issued after scientific questions were raised Tuesday by the New England Journal of Medicine regarding how the data was collected and reported in the paper.
  • The database of nearly 100,000 patients from Chicago company Surgisphere was used in two studies published in The Lancet and the NEJM.

By the numbers: More than 3,500 patients worldwide have been recruited for the WHO trial, which is reviewing four medicines as potential treatments for COVID-19.

"The Data Safety and Monitoring Committee will continue to closely monitor the safety of all therapeutics being tested in the Solidarity Trial. ... WHO is committed to accelerating the development of effective therapeutics, vaccines and diagnostics as part of our commitment to serving the world with science, solutions and solidarity."
— Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus

Still, Tedros stressed the health organization is only studying the drug and is in no way endorsing its usage beyond clinical trials.

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