WHO stops hydroxychloroquine, anti-HIV drugs in COVID trials after failing to reduce death


GENEVA (Reuters) – The World Health Organization (WHO) said on Saturday it would suspend its trials of the antimalarial drug hydroxychloroquine and the combination of the HIV drug lopinavir / ritonavir in hospitalized patients with COVID-19 after they failed. reduce mortality.

The setback came when the WHO also reported more than 200,000 new cases of the disease worldwide for the first time in a single day. The United States accounted for 53,213 of the total 212,326 new cases registered on Friday, the WHO said.

“These interim trial results show that hydroxychloroquine and lopinavir / ritonavir produce little or no reduction in inpatient mortality with COVID-19 compared to standard care. Investigators of solidarity trials will discontinue trials with immediate effect.” The WHO said in a statement, referring to the large multi-country trials that the agency is leading.

The UN agency said the decision, made on the recommendation of the trial’s international steering committee, does not affect other studies where those drugs are used for outpatients or as prophylaxis.

Another branch of the WHO-led trial is looking at the possible effect of remdesivir of Gilead antiviral drugs on COVID-19. The European Commission approved on Friday to withdraw the conditional approval for use after demonstrating that it shortens hospital recovery times.

The solidarity test began with five branches that analyzed possible treatment approaches for COVID-19: standard care; remdesivir; hydroxychloroquine; lopinavir / ritonavir; and lopanivir / ritonavir combined with interferon.

WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told reporters on Friday that nearly 5,500 patients in 39 countries had so far been recruited for clinical trials and that provisional results were expected within two weeks.

Some 18 experimental COVID-19 vaccines are being tested in humans among nearly 150 treatments in development.

Mike Ryan, the WHO’s top emergency expert, said Friday that it would be unwise to predict when a vaccine might be ready. While a vaccine candidate could show its effectiveness by the end of the year, the question was how soon it could be mass produced, she said.

Reports from Stephanie Nebehay; Frances Kerry and Hugh Lawson edition

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