Coronavirus: WHO suspends trials of drug that Trump is taking over safety fears

UK – The World Health Organisation is removing hydroxychloroquine from its global study of potential Covid-19 treatments while it carries out a review of its safety.

Last week, U.S. President Donald Trump said he was taking the anti-malaria drug, which he has promoted as providing possible protection from coronavirus, despite warnings from health officials that it could cause heart problems.

WHO’s decision to temporarily suspend the drug from its study follows a paper published in The Lancet last week which made suggestions that it might actually increase the risk of Covid-19 patients.

A study has been conducted with 96,000 coronavirus patients, where 15,000 were given hydroxychloroquine, either alone or with an antibiotic. The study found that death rates for those treated with hydroxychloroquine were 18%, compared with 16,4% for chloroquine and 9% for the control group.

WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said that, in light of the research, there would be “a temporary pause” on the hydroxychloroquine arm of its global clinical trial.

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