Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) Director-General, said that a clinical trial of hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) on COVID-19 patients has come to “a temporary pause”, while the safety data of the the anti-malaria drug was being reviewed. According to the WHO chief, ‘The Lancet’ medical journal on May 22 had published an observational study on HCQ and chloroquine and its effects on COVID-19 patients that have been hospitalised, reports Xinhua news agency. The authors of the study reported that among patients receiving the drug, when used alone or with a macrolide, they estimated a higher mortality rate.
“The Executive Group of the Solidarity Trial, representing 10 of the participating countries, met on Saturday (May 23) and has agreed to review a comprehensive analysis and critical appraisal of all evidence available globally,” Tedros said in a virtual press conference on Monday. The review will consider data collected so far in the Solidarity Trial and in particular robust randomised available data, to adequately evaluate the potential benefits and harms from this drug, he said. “The Executive Group has implemented a temporary pause of the HCQ arm within the Solidarity Trial while the safety data is reviewed by the Data Safety Monitoring Board.
The other arms of the trial are continuing,” Tedros added. Mixed opinion by Indian experts: With the World Health Organisation deciding to temporarily drop hydroxychloroquine from its global study into experimental COVID-19 treatments, doctors in India are divided in their opinions over the repercussions the move might have on the strategy to combat the pandemic. While some experts feel that after the WHO decisions, country’s medical centres will have to take HCQ and chloroquine our of the treatment regimen of COVID-19 patients, others opined it is “not binding” for India to oblige with the decision of the world body.
“The Lancet study found out that people who were given HCQ or chloroquine or, combination of azithromycin with HCQ or chloroquine, matching with other factors, ran the risk of having higher mortality due to cardiac arrhythmia (irregular heartbeat),” city-based lung surgeon Dr Arvind Kumar said. The study was done on nearly 15,000 patients, whose conditions were compared with those who weren’t administered those drugs.
India to continue using HCQ as prophylaxis for COVID: ICMR
May 26 (IANS)
The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) on Tuesday said it will continue using hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) medicine as prophylaxis for COVID-19 disease. Speaking at a press conference, Dr Balram Bhargava, Director General (DG) of the ICMR, told the media that the Council found the drug very effective and having less side effects for prophylaxis consumption. “It should be continued when there is no harm and some benefit may be there.
We have clearly advised that it should be taken with food and not empty stomach. We also advised that we need to do one ECG during its use as prophylaxis. “Looking at the risk benefits, we have found that our frontline workers should be given it, but they must use PPE. Very soon a study will be published on this,” said Bhargava. Bhargava said the biological plausibility of HCQ was also supporting that it is possibly an antiviral drug.
Meanwhile, the COVID-19 fatality rate in India is among the lowest in the world at 2.87 per cent, the Government said on Tuesday, attributing the timely lockdown, early detection and management of coronavirus infection cases as the main reasons for the low death toll. From 3.38 per cent in April, the fatality rate in the country has come down to 2.87 per cent as against 6.4 per cent globally.