The world health organization has suspended the testing of malaria drugs called Hydroxychloroquine due to safety concerns according to WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.
Hydroxychloroquine has been touted by Donald Trump and others as a possible treatment for the disease caused by the novel coronavirus. The U.S. President has said he was taking the drug to help prevent infection.
Having sung the praises of hydroxychloroquine during his coronavirus briefings in March and April, Mr. Trump stunned reporters on May 18 when he announced that he was taking it, even though he had not tested positive for COVID-19.
“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.
The paper, in The Lancet, concluded that people taking hydroxychloroquine were at higher risk of heart problems and death.
Dr. Mike Ryan, head of the WHO emergency program, said the decision to suspend trials of hydroxychloroquine had been taken out of “an abundance of caution“.
Other treatments in the trial, including the experimental drug Remdesivir and an HIV combination therapy, are still being tested.
To date, more than 5.6 million infections have been confirmed worldwide since the virus first emerged in December of last year, with over 348,000 deaths globally.