WHO expects anti-malarial drug hydroxychloroquine safety findings by mid-June

WHO expects anti-malarial drug hydroxychloroquine safety findings by mid-June

The World Health Organization (WHO) on Tuesday (May 26) said that it will conduct a swift review of data on anti-malarial drug hydroxychloroquine by mid-June after the global health body suspended the use of HCQ in a trial on the treatment of coronavirus COVID-19 patients due to safety concerns.

US President Donald Trump had called the HCQ a 'game-changer' drug in the treatment of coronavirus but the WHO on Monday (May 25) said that it will not use the drug in its multi-country trial, called Solidarity, due to safety issues. 

"A final decision on the harm, benefit or lack of benefit of hydroxychloroquine will be made once the evidence has been reviewed by the Data Safety Monitoring Board," the body said in a statement. "It is expected by mid-June."

WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said on Monday that the testing of hydroxychloroquine in COVID-19 patients was called off due to safety concerns.

"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," Tedros told an online briefing.

Earlier, the WHO had recommended against using the anti-malarial drug to treat or prevent coronavirus infections. According to Dr. Mike Ryan, head of the WHO emergencies programme, the decision to pause trials of hydroxychloroquine had been taken out of "an abundance of caution".