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The World Health Organization (WHO) on Monday, May 25, suspended the use of hydroxychloroquine as a potential treatment for coronavirus over the safety of patients.
The decision for suspension of the clinical trials was taken after a study regarding the drug was published in The Lancet medical journal last week.
The study cautioned that the use of hydroxychloroquine could increase the mortality rate among COVID-19 patients. It involved 96,000 coronavirus patients, nearly 15,000 of whom were given hydroxychloroquine - or 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%, reported BBC.
"The Executive Group has implemented a temporary pause of the hydroxychloroquine arm within the Solidarity Trial while the safety data is reviewed by the Data Safety Monitoring Board," said WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.
Addressing a virtual press conference, Tedros said that the other initiatives to hold clinical tests of potential treatments for the virus would continue.
Hydroxychloroquine is the drug that has been considered safe to treat malaria and conditions like lupus or arthritis but reportedly no clinical trials have recommended its use to treat COVID-19.
However, US President Donald Trump has adamantly backed the use of hydroxychloroquine as a preventive measure against the virus. He had also announced that he has been consuming it in spite of health officials warning against the use of this drug.
Interestingly, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had hailed India's role as a "pharmacy of the world" amid the coronavirus pandemic when medical supplies were sent to 133 countries, including the United States, which included 446 million hydroxychloroquine tablets and 1.54 billion paracetamol tablets.
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