WHO Resumes Hydroxychloroquine Study After Reviewing Safety Concerns; Drug Does Not Prevent COVID-19, NEJM Study Shows

CNBC: World Health Organization resumes coronavirus trial on malaria drug hydroxychloroquine after examining safety concerns
“The World Health Organization is resuming its trial of hydroxychloroquine, the malaria drug backed by President Donald Trump to combat the deadly coronavirus, after temporarily halting research over safety concerns. The Data Safety Monitoring Board decided there was no reason to discontinue the international trial after reviewing available data on the drug, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said during a press conference Wednesday at the agency’s Geneva headquarters…” (Lovelace/Feuer, 6/3).

STAT: WHO resumes hydroxychloroquine study for Covid-19, after reviewing safety concerns
“…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. 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. … 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…” (Joseph, 6/3).

Washington Post: Hydroxychloroquine, a drug promoted by Trump, failed to prevent healthy people from getting covid-19 in trial
“Hydroxychloroquine did not prevent healthy people exposed to someone with covid-19 from getting the disease caused by the coronavirus, according to a study being published Wednesday in the New England Journal of Medicine. The study is the first randomized clinical trial that tested the antimalarial drug as a preventive measure, according to researchers at the University of Minnesota Medical School who conducted the trial. It showed that hydroxychloroquine, which has been touted by President Trump, was no more effective than a placebo — in this case, a vitamin — in protecting people exposed to covid-19…” (McGinley/Cha, 6/3).

Additional coverage of the hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) studies is available from Bloomberg (2), Financial Times, The Hill, POLITICO, Reuters (2), and UPI.

The KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report summarized news and information on global health policy from hundreds of sources, from May 2009 through December 2020. All summaries are archived and available via search.

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