The World Health Organization is again starting clinical trials of hydroxychloroquine, an anti-malarial drug. The drug will be tested for COVID-19 treatment.
WHO halted the trials temporarily last month, on 25 May, after a study was published by The Lancet which declared the drug a life threat because it causes the heart to beat irregular patterns.
The drug tests first started last month when US President Donald Trump advised US citizens to use it to prevent and cure coronavirus. The President said that he himself was using the drugs to prevent coronavirus and he was safe and sound.
Later, the study found the drug to be severely harmful and even life-threatening in some cases. WHO said that there were no problems in its own data. But other researchers suggested to stop the trials because of no proven benefits though weak evidence of harms are there.
The WHO chief scientist said that WHO will decide in a week or two whether to continue the trials or not. WHO waited for the result of seven other research studies.
In a press release on Wednesday, WHO director general, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said that WHO’s board reviewed the data. There is “no reason to modify trials.” He also said that WHO instructed the researchers to start their work again.
He said that safety board will monitor the safety of all the participants closely and will make sure the safety of all the 3,500 patients in 35 countries.
“The executive group received this recommendation and endorsed the continuation of all arms of solidarity trial including hydroxychloroquine,” Tedros Adhanom said.
However, all the health experts have warned not use it. The Food and Drug administration warned not to use it outside the hospital, as it may harm instantly; treating the patient will be possible in clinic.
Hydroxychloroquine has become a point of political debates. US President announced that the drug is useful to treat and cure the virus. He also sent 2 million doses to Brazil as an aid. While health experts are not recommending its usage.
WHO trials will find the answer to the question whether the drug helps or not and will solve the problem. There’s no evidence that any drug actually reduces the mortality in patients who have COVID-19, WHO officials said Wednesday.
Currently, health experts discourage the use of the anti-malaria drug against COVID-19. “Serious heart rhythm problems” are reported. However, further study will find whether the medicine is useful against COVID-19 or not.