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WHO freezes study of malaria drug hydroxychloroquine

In a news briefing on Monday, WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus says that in light of a paper published last week in the Lancet, that showed people taking hydroxychloroquine were at higher risk of death and heart problems than those that were not, there would be “a temporary pause” on the hydroxychloroquine arm of its global clinical trial.

“This concern relates to the use of hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine in COVID-19,” Tedros said, adding that the drugs are accepted treatments for people with malaria or auto-immune diseases.

Last month, Israel imported millions of doses of hydroxychloroquine from India, despite questions over its efficacy or safety, and despite the fact that locally-based Teva is a manufacturer of the drug.

The government said it had done so just in case the drug turned out to help against the coronavirus, though it has apparently not done so with other promising treatments.

Other treatments in the study, including the experimental drug Remdesivir and an HIV combination therapy, are still being pursued.

Source: TOI with AP