WHO suspends trials of hydroxychloroquine over risk factors

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has suspended testing of hydroxychloroquine as a possible Covid-19 treatment.

A study suggested the drug could cause heart problems in patients and increase the risk of death.

WHO on Monday said trials in several countries are being “temporarily” suspended as a precaution.

US President Donald Trump had on several occasions promoted the anti-malarial drug, against medical advice and despite warnings from public health officials that it could cause heart problems.

On Monday, officials at the UN health agency said hydroxychloroquine would be removed from those trials pending a safety assessment.

The Lancet study involved 96,000 coronavirus patients, nearly 15,000 of whom were given hydroxychloroquine – or a related form chloroquine – either alone or with an antibiotic.

The study found that the patients were more likely to die in hospital and develop heart rhythm complications than other Covid patients in a comparison group.

The death rates of the treated groups were: hydroxychloroquine 18%; chloroquine 16.4%; control group 9%. Those treated with hydroxychloroquine or chloroquine in combination with antibiotics had an even higher death rate.
The researchers warned that hydroxychloroquine should not be used outside of clinical trials.

By: Rainbowradioonline.com with additional files from BBC

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