PARIS (Reuters) – The French government on Wednesday canceled a decree authorizing hospital doctors to administer hydroxychloroquine as a treatment for patients suffering from severe forms of COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus.
The announcement comes two days after the World Health Organization said it was suspending a large trial of the malaria drug due to safety concerns.
The British medical journal The Lancet reported that patients receiving hydroxychloroquine had increased death rates and irregular heartbeats, adding to a series of other disappointing results for the drug as a treatment for COVID-19.
President Donald Trump and others have pushed hydroxychloroquine in recent months as a possible treatment for coronaviruses.
France decided at the end of March to allow the use of hydroxychloroquine in specific situations and only in hospitals.
No vaccine or treatment has yet been approved to treat COVID-19, which has killed more than 350,000 people worldwide.
(Reprotation by Matthias Blamont; Edition by Hugh Lawson)