June 4, 2020

COVID-19: WHO resumes study on Hydroxychloroquine

WHO worries over high rate of COVID-19 infections as 3m die globally

Director-General of WHO, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus

Director-General of WHO, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus

By Chioma Obinna

Few days after the World Health Organisation, WHO, suspended trial on hydroxychloroquine over safety concerns, the world health body says it will be resuming trial on the controversial drug for the treatment of COVID-19 patients.

It could be recalled that WHO had last week temporarily suspended trail on the drug under a larger study called ‘Solidarity Trial’ that is investigating a number of different potential Coronavirus therapies, due to concerns about the hydroxychloroquine’s adverse effects on the heart.

The trial’s Data Safety and Monitoring Committee halted the study as a precaution in response to safety concerns raised by an observational study published in the Lancet.

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But the Director-General of WHO, Dr. Tedros Ghebreyesus in a tweet on the official twitter account of the UN health agency, explained that the body will resume study looking into whether the malaria drug hydroxychloroquine could be effective in treating COVID-19.

Ghebreyesus, said the Agency’s board reviewed the data concerning heart risks and found “no reasons to modify the trial.”

According to him, “Last week, the Executive Group of the Solidarity Trial decided to implement a temporary pause of the hydroxychloroquine arm of the trial, because of concerns raised about the safety of the drug.

“This decision was taken as a precaution while the safety data were reviewed. The Data Safety and Monitoring Committee of the Solidarity Trial has been reviewing the data.

“On the basis of available mortality data, the members of the committee recommended that there are no reasons to modify the trial protocol.

“The Executive Group received this recommendation and endorsed the continuation of all arms of the Solidarity Trial, including hydroxychloroquine.

“The Executive Group will communicate with the principal investigators in the trial about resuming the hydroxychloroquine arm.

Ghebreyesus said the Data Safety and Monitoring Committee would continue to closely monitor the safety of all therapeutics being tested in the Solidarity Trial.

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“So far, more than 3,500 patients have been recruited in 35 countries.

“WHO is committed to accelerating the development of effective therapeutics, vaccines, and diagnostics as part of our commitment to serving the world with science, solutions, and solidarity,’’ he said.

Meanwhile, the Director-General of the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control, NAFDAC, Prof. Christianah  Adeyeye, said Nigeria would continue with the trial of the drug.