Covid-19: World Health Organization set to resume hydroxychloroquine trial

Lancet 'expresses concern' over hydroxychloroquine paper

It appears a major study published 22nd May in renowned worldwide medical journal The Lancet, which ruled antimalarial drugs touted by Donald Trump as possible COVID-19 treatments could be lethal, was based on data supplied by an obscure analytics company, Surgisphere, which counts a sci-fi writer and exotic model among its staff.

Several clinical trials were put on hold after the study was published.

A Friday, May 22, 2029 report in the journal Lancet shows malaria drugs pushed by US President Donald Trump as treatments for the coronavirus not only did not help but were tied to a greater risk of death and heart rhythm problems in a study of almost 100,000 patients around the world.

US President Donald Trump has touted hydroxychloroquine, saying he has taken it as a preventative against the coronavirus.

The findings prompted the World Health Organization to suspend hydroxychloroquine testing within Covid-19 drug trials as a precaution to allow the safety data to be reviewed.

Concerns about the data were initially raised on blog posts and then on the website PubPeer, which allows users to discuss and review scientific research.

An worldwide trial using hydroxychloroquine to treat Covid-19 patients will be restarted after questions arose about a study linking the antimalarial drug to increased death and heart risks.

Thus far, Surgisphere CEO and founder Sapan Desai has not released the names of any hospitals involved in providing the data, citing privacy agreements.


In contrast, India's Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has recommends its use for COVID-19 treatment, maintaining that it has no major side-effects.

Some studies had suggested that people who were taking the drug for COVID-19 had a higher chance of dying than those who were not.

Treatment with the medications among patients with Covid-19, either alone or in combination with antibiotics, was linked to an increased risk of serious heart rhythm complications and death.

Apart from hydroxychloroquine, Gilead Sciences Inc's novel drug remdesivir, a combination of lopinarvir and ritonavir, as well as the anti-cancer combination with interferon are now being testing in the global Solidarity Trial for repurposing existing drugs for treatment of the new respiratory disease.

The researchers estimated that the excess risk attributable to the use of the drugs rather than other factors such as underlying health issues ranged from 34% to 45%.

He said: "For example, the number of Covid cases that were supposed to be from a subset of Australian hospitals was actually greater than the sum total of cases in Australia reported at the time".

So far, more than 3500 patients have been recruited for the mega trial in 35 countries, he said.

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