The World Health Organization (WHO) announced Monday to suspend all trials on hydroxychloroquine which U.S. President Donald Trump praised and took himself as a possible treatment for COVID-19. The WHO has been conducting clinical trials to find a safe and effective treatment for the virus at more than 400 hospitals in 35 countries.
WHO’s Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said Friday that it made the decision due to safety reasons based on the research result on The Lancet medical journal. A research team led by professor Mandeep Mehra at the Brigham and Women's Hospital tested 96,032 patients and found that patients who took the drug showed decreased in-hospital survival by 34 percent and an increased frequency of ventricular arrhythmias by 137 percent.
WHO Chief Scientist Soumya Swaminathan said the data and safety monitoring board would gather data on the drug for at least two weeks and deliberate its safety to decide whether to resume the trial. The WHO advised that the drug is safe for use in patients with autoimmune diseases and malaria.