The World Health Organisation has okayed the use of Hydroxychloroquine in COVID-19 drug trials after eventual investigations revealed that the drugs were not harmful to human health as earlier reported.
Initial findings of an observational a multinational study published in The Lancet found that the drug had no significant effect in treating the disease and in some cases led to death when used. The study which was carried out 671 hospitals across six continents between December 20, 2019, and April 21, 2020, found that hydroxychloroquine when used with or without an antibiotic lowered the chances of survival among patients that used it.
Now a report from investigations and a review of the data from the published study and the solidarity trial show that the drugs do not present any harm to people that use it. The data was reviewed by the data safety and monitoring committees of the solidarity trial.
On the basis of the findings, the Director-General of the World Health Organisation-WHO Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus says the UN health agency is going to continue using the drug in their solidarity trial.
Over 3500 people from 35 countries were recruited for the solidarity trial testing four drugs- hydroxychloroquine, chloroquine, remedesvir, and HIV antiviral lopinavir and ritonavir. So far, preliminary findings on the effectiveness of the Remedevir show that it helps reduce COVID-19 symptoms faster.
Dr Ghebryesus says that the committees in charge of data safety and monitoring will follow up on the data from the study in case new developments are made.
In Uganda, doctors continued administering hydroxychloroquine to patients even after the observational findings were published. But still, the drug was only used in one hospital.
According to Ugandan scientists, the drug has properties that help stop the virus from getting into the body cells and multiplying, which in turn reduces disease progression and severity.