Covid 19 coronavirus: Trump stops taking hydroxychloroquine

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The "temporary pause" will allow the agency's experts to review all available evidence to date concerning safety of the drugs when treating patients with COVID-19, World Health Organization director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said in remarks on Sunday.

For months, President Trump has promoted hydroxychloroquine as a potential treatment for covid-19, calling the anti-malarial drug a "game changer", asking patients, "What do you have to lose?" - and even announcing that he was taking the drug himself in an attempt to ward off the novel coronavirus.

The investigators from the Lancet study warned drug regimens for Covid-19 that involve hydroxychloroquine should not be used outside clinical trials and said urgent confirmation from randomised clinical trials was needed.

Dr. Mike Ryan, who heads the World Health Organization emergency program, said the decision to suspend the trial was taken out of "an abundance of caution".

In his remarks, Tedros referred to recent research published in The Lancet, which linked hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine, a related drug, with an increased risk of mortality in hospitalized COVID-19 patients.

The large observational study, which included records of 96,032 patients from across the world, broke down the COVID-19 sufferers into four groups: chloroquine alone, chloroquine with a macrolide, hydroxychloroquine alone, or hydroxychloroquine with a macrolide. The large observational study analysed data from almost 15,000 patients with Covid-19 who received the drug alone or in combination with antibiotics, comparing this data with 81,000 controls who did not receive the drug.

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The President's revelation that he was taking HCQ came in for widespread criticism, but the Indian health authorities' action seems to validate Trump's premise on the effectiveness of the drug - not as a cure for COVID-19, but as a prophylactic. "And that may be a reality for many countries in a number of months' time", Ryan said.

Data was analyzed from 671 hospitals spanning six continents, including 14,888 patients treated with some form of either hydroxychloroquine or chloroquine, matched against 81,144 COVID-19 patients included as a control. "It has been around for 40 years for malaria, for lupus, for other things", Trump had said.

Al Mason added that Trump's critics and his political opponents opposed him for using Hydroxychloroquine and "tried to sabotage the drug's clinical trial". "We concluded the potential benefit from treatment outweighed the relevant risks, he said".

Tedros said that global trials of hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine would be temporarily suspended pending a review of safety data.

The president has said he's been taking hydroxychloroquine to protect against the virus.

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