The World Health Organisation (WHO) has revoked suspension on clinical trials of anti-malaria drug hydroxychloroquine as a potential treatment for coronavirus. In a news briefing, WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus on Wednesday said that clinical trials of hydroxychloroquine will resume.
"On the basis of the available mortality data... the executive group will communicate with the principal investigators in the trial about resuming the hydroxychloroquine arm," Ghebreyesus said in a virtual news briefing.
Last week, the international public health agency had temporarily dropped hydroxychloroquine from its global study into experimental COVID-19 treatments after a study published in The Lancet medical journal suggested the drug could increase the risk of death among infected patients.
Among all the drugs that have the potential to be repurposed for possible use to combat coronavirus, the most talked about is hydroxychloroquine - a drug that is used in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis and is considered better than its older version chloroquine, used in the treatment of malaria. Even US President Donald Trump is a vocal supporter of the drug. He sought supplies from India, pushing pharma companies like IPCA and Zydus Cadila into the limelight.
Hydroxychloroquine is also one of the drugs being studied by the World Health Organisation (WHO) under its 'Solidarity Trail', an international clinical trial to help find an effective treatment for COVID-19.
However, gradually, questions were raised and studies pointed to the adverse health impact of hydroxychloroquine on coronavirus patients. Triggered by some of these, the WHO put a temporary pause on the trials.
In contrast, India's Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has recommends its use for COVID-19 treatment, maintaining that it has no major side-effects. In its revised advisory on May 22, ICMR had recommended prophylactic use of hydroxychloroquine in select categories of people, including all asymptomatic healthcare workers involved in containment and treatment of coronavirus and asymptomatic healthcare workers working in non-coronavirus hospitals or non-COVID areas of corona hospitals and blocks.
By Chitranjan Kumar