USA stops hydroxychloroquine clinical trial after finding no additional benefit for COVID-19 patients

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The National Institutes of Health announced on Saturday that it has stopped a clinical trial evaluating the safety and efficacy of the drug hydroxychloroquine as a treatment for adults hospitalized with COVID-19.

“Data and safety monitoring council met on Friday evening and determined that there was no harm; the study drug is very unlikely to be of benefit to inpatients with COVID- 19, ”the NIH said in a statement.

Hydroxychloroquine, which has been frequently announced by US President Donald Trump, who claimed to have used it himself – is commonly used to treat malaria and polyarthritis conditions, such as arthritis.

The trial admitted more than 470 adult patients hospitalized for coronavirus, or in an emergency hospital emergency department. The study found that patients who were randomized to receive hydroxychloroquine as treatment did not benefit from the drug, compared to those in the placebo group.

“In different studies, the drug has demonstrated antiviral activity, an ability to modify the activity of the immune system, and it has an established safety profile at appropriate doses, leading to the hypothesis that it may also have been useful in the treatment of COVID-19, “the NIH said in its statement.

The US Food and Drug Administration on Monday revoked its Emergency Use Authorization for hydroxychloroquine to treat hospital patients with coronavirus, saying it was rare to benefit from it based on the latest scientific research.

Starting in mid-March, Trump became frequent cheerleader for hydroxychloroquine. He repeatedly promotes the drug, despite a request from scientists to let studies decide whether the treatment is safe and effective.

“HYDROXYCHLOROQUIN & AZITHROMYCIN, taken together, have a real chance of being one of the greatest game changers in the history of medicine,” Trump tweeted on March 21.

Fox News often echoed Trump, but both the network and the President calmed down on the drugs once the studies began to show that they did not work and, possibly, could hurt.

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