GENEVA – An international trial using hydroxychloroquine to treat Covid-19 patients will be restarted after questions arose about a study linking the antimalarial drug to increased death and heart risks.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) said on Wednesday (June 3) that it will resume recruiting patients for the hydroxychloroquine arm of a global trial called Solidarity.
The agency had paused the branch of the study, which compares the impact of a number of treatment regimens, after the drug was linked to heart risks in a study published in The Lancet, a medical journal.
The move adds to the confusion that has erupted since more than 200 scientists began questioning the study published May 22 in The Lancet.
Scrutiny has focused on Surgisphere, the Chicago-based firm that provided data for the study, from which scientists have demanded more transparency about its sources and methods of analysis.
The WHO paused the hydroxychloroquine arm of its study as a precaution “because of concerns raised about the safety of the drug,” director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said in a press briefing.
After a safety panel review “the members recommend that there are no reasons to modify trial protocol”.
US President Donald Trump has touted hydroxychloroquine, saying he has taken it as a preventative against the coronavirus.