WHO Temporarily Stops Testing Hydroxychloroquine As Covid-19 Treatment Amid Growing Safety Concerns: Report


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Update 06/04: The Lancet study mentioned at the end of this post was retracted today. Read more here.

Original story below:

The World Health Organization will temporarily stop testing hydroxychloroquine as a Covid-19 treatment pending more information around the drug amid safety concerns, the WHO announced Monday.

“It’s important to continue to gather evidence on the efficacy and safety of hydroxychloroquine,” WHO Chief Scientist Soumya Swaminathan said in a press conference. “We want to use it if it’s safe and efficacious, reduces mortality, reduces the length of hospitalization without increasing adverse events.”

Hydroxycholorquine first gained attention in mid-March as President Donald Trump promoted the drug throughout April, telling the public, “What do you have to lose? What do I know? I’m not a doctor. I’m not a doctor. But I have common sense.” On April 24, the FDA warned against the usage of hydroxychloroquine after people reported problems taking it while two separate studies found “no benefit” from the drug. Hydorxychloroquine also became a favorite treatment among Fox News hosts, which repeatedly talked up the unproven drug numerous times and dismissed concerns about it in the past few months.

Still, Trump announced that took the unproven drug for two weeks after requesting the White House physician prescribe it for him starting in early May. When revealing that he uses hydroxycholorquine, Trump explained the move saying, “Here’s my evidence: I get a lot of positive calls about it.” Trump has since defended the drug, calling a notable study of elderly Veterans Affairs patients — who were found to be twice as likely to die when taking hydroxychlorquine — “a Trump enemy statement.”

WHO’s announcement comes three days after The Lancet, a peer-reviewed medical journal, found that the risk of death from usage of the drug increased by 34 percent with a 137 percent increase in risk of serious heart arrhythmias after examining 96,000 patients on hydroxychloroquine. White House coronavirus response coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx called the report “one of the clearest studies” about hydroxycholorquine yet.

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