WHO Hydroxychloroquine COVID-19 Treatment
World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus speaks during a daily press briefing on COVID-19 virus at the WHO headquaters in Geneva on March 9, 2020. (Photo by Fabrice COFFRINI / AFP)

WHO warns against using hydroxychloroquine trial as COVID-19 treatment – It could claim more lives.

The World Health Organization (WHO) said Monday that hydroxychloroquine should not be used as a trial for COVID-19 treatment warning that it could even claim more lives. 

In recent weeks, many countries across the world have highlighted hydroxychloroquine as a potential treatment and a precautionary measure for the deadly coronavirus.

As a treatment, hydroxychloroquine is normally used to treat arthritis but following the outbreak of the novel coronavirus, a number of countries including United States and Brazil have recommended using the drug to treat even the mild COVID-19 cases.

However, information from WHO indicates that following a study in The Lancet, it was concluded that using the drug on COVID-19 patients could increase their chances of dying.

According to the WHO chief, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, an executive group of the so-called Solidarity Trial, in which hundreds of hospitals across several countries have enrolled patients to test several possible treatments for the novel coronavirus as a precaution suspended trials using the drug.

“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. The other arms of the trial are continuing,” said Tedros.

He added; “The two drugs are accepted as generally safe for use in patients with autoimmune diseases or malaria.”

Meanwhile, The Lancet study looked at the records of 96,000 patients across hundreds of hospitals. It indicated that both drugs can produce potentially serious side effects, particularly heart arrhythmia and neither drug benefitted patients hospitalised with COVID-19.

WHO chief scientist Soumya Swaminathan on Monday said that the WHO-backed Solidarity Trial had been looking only at the effects of hydroxychloroquine and not chloroquine.

WHO Hydroxychloroquine COVID-19 Treatment
World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus speaks during a daily press briefing on COVID-19 virus at the WHO headquaters in Geneva on March 9, 2020. (Photo by Fabrice COFFRINI / AFP)

As a result, Soumya said the decision on suspending enrollment for trials using hydroxychloroquine was only a temporary measure and anything can change in case more tests are done.

Meanwhile, as the deadly pandemic continues to strike lives globally, scientists all over the world are doing all they can to manufacture a vaccine for the COVID-19.

Although there is still no approved virus, a big number of people throughout the whole world have also recovered from the virus and now most countries have lifted their lockdown to try and have people return to their normal way of lives.

However, WHO warns that if countries fail to continue adhering to measures such as social distancing and carrying out tests or detecting cases then they should be prepared for the worst in months to come.

“All countries need to remain on high alert,” WHO expert Maria Van Kerkhove said, stressing that “even countries that have seen a decline in cases must remain ready.”

Maria warned that studies using antibody tests to determine how many people have been infected and might have some level of immunity “indicate that a large proportion of the population remains susceptible.”

“The virus will take the opportunity to amplify if it can,” she added.