The wait for a working COVID-19 vaccine remains up in the air and potential cures are far from comforting. Most know about hydroxychloroquine, the malaria drug that United States President Donald Trump was endorsing. In a previous post, it was already mentioned that the World Health Organization (WHO) halted human testing since it was linked to higher death rates. Now, the same drug is being dropped entirely since it is deemed to be nonbeneficial.
WHO announced its decision to drop hydroxychloroquine on Wednesday, June 17. The move was a result of a solidarity trial after findings showed data from the trial and another study proved it would not be beneficial, Ana Maria Henao Restrepo, a WHO medical officer, said in a report from CNBC.
“In light of ongoing serious cardiac adverse events and other serious side effects, the known and potential benefits of CQ and HCQ no longer outweigh the known and potential risks for the authorized use,” the FDA said in a statement.
As mentioned in a previous post, there were already concerns tied to taking hydroxychloroquine as a way to fend off the coronavirus. It was found in a study that the malaria drug increased the risk of patients dying from COVID-19. Moreover, it also raised the risk of people possibly suffering from heart problems. In another most recent study, it was found that hydroxychloroquine was no better than a placebo in protecting people from the virus.
Aside from hydroxychloroquine, other drugs are being suggested in the market. WHO urges the public to be cautious, citing that this drug is still in the preliminary stages. One drug being suggested is dexamethasone, a steroid being pushed by scientists as a breakthrough. So far, the “Recovery” trial drug showed reduced death rates, particularly for those who were severely affected by COVID-19. It should be noted that there were no benefits found in patients who did not require respiratory support.
According to Dr. Mike Ryan, executive director for WHO’s emergency program, the trials done were significant. However, it remains that this is only one study. He believes that they have to see the full and real data to provide a better overview of the drug’s efficiency.
“This is not the time to rush, to change clinical practices. … People still need training, we need to understand what doses to be used, how patients are going to be clinically assessed. We need to make sure there are going to be supplies of the drug, we need to look at a lot of things,” Ryan said.