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NIH halts hydroxychloroquine trial after no benefit found in COVID-19 patients

Published on 22/06/20 at 10:57am
Photo by NIH

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) have suspended clinical trials of hydroxychloroquine after the drug was found to have no real benefit in treating COVID-19.

This comes following last week’s removal of the drugs hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine from the emergency use category by the FDA.

On Saturday, the NIH revealed that the trial found no clear evidence of the drug’s efficacy in coronavirus patients, but believes there is no significant harm in using the treatment. This is slightly at odds with the FDA’s own assessment that stated the potential of serious side effects, like heart rhythms issues, are too great to recommend the drugs as coronavirus treatments, combined with the drug’s lack of efficacy.

The moves by both the NIH and FDA will be an embarrassing setback for President Donald Trump. Back in March, the President said the drug could be a ‘game changer’ in fighting the pandemic, while later saying he personally took the drug as a preventative treatment.

The Trump administration’s seemingly obsessive pursuit of this drug has led to 66 million doses of hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine sitting on the Strategic National Stockpile, which now cannot be used to treat the virus. The FDA has only approved the treatment for arthritis and malaria.

Dr Bright, the former head of BARDA who was ousted over his pushback to hydroxychloroquine, tweeted: “The drugs should never have been brought into our country and should be destroyed. It took far too long for HHS to revoke this EUA.”

Conor Kavanagh

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