WHO will decide on its hydroxychloroquine trial suspension in 24 hours

Reuters New York Jun 01, 2020, 11.50 PM(IST)

Does taking hydroxychloroquine prevent COVID-19? Photograph:( AFP )

Story highlights

UN body paused its large study of the anti-malarial drug to treat COVID-19 due to concerns it increased death rates and irregular heartbeats in patients

The World Health Organization (WHO) should have enough information in 24 hours to decide whether to continue suspending its trial of hydroxychloroquine for use against coronavirus, its chief scientist Soumya Swaminathan said on Monday.

Her comments come a week after the UN body paused its large study of the anti-malarial drug to treat COVID-19 due to concerns it increased death rates and irregular heartbeats in patients.

The move prompted several European governments to ban the use of the drug, also used to treat rheumatoid arthritis and lupus and promoted by U.S. President Donald Trump to help combat the disease. 

Also read: Coronavirus epidemic hasn't become less pathogenic, warns WHO

Sanofi on Friday temporarily stopped recruiting new COVID-19 patients for its two clinical trials of the drug and said it would no longer supply it to treat COVID-19 until safety concerns are cleared up. 

The World Health Organization said today that the coronavirus has "not become less pathogenic, it is not the case at all".

"We need to be exceptionally careful not to create a sense that, all of a sudden, the virus, by its own volition, has now decided to be less pathogenic," WHO emergencies director Michael Ryan said at a virtual briefing.