Covid-19 treatment: India to stop HCQ research at 22 sites after WHO halts global trials

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June 19, 2020 1:44 PM

Trials data show hydroxychloroquine does not result in the reduction of mortality of hospitalised covid-19 patients, WHO said.

The WHO on June 17 said the decision was made based on evidence from the Solidarity Trial, UK’s Recovery trial and a Cochrane review of other evidence on HCQ.The WHO on June 17 said the decision was made based on evidence from the Solidarity Trial, UK’s Recovery trial and a Cochrane review of other evidence on HCQ.

After the World Health Organization’s (WHO) announcement to stop the Solidarity Trials of hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) for covid-19 treatment, as it showed little impact in reducing mortality of hospitalised covid-19 patients, as many as 22 sites in the country will discontinue the trials.

The WHO on June 17 said the decision was made based on evidence from the Solidarity Trial, UK’s Recovery trial and a Cochrane review of other evidence on HCQ.

The executive group of the steering committee of the Solidarity Trial, chaired by John-Arne Røttingen, said, “The results confirm with high a degree of confidence that hydroxychloroquine is not effective at reducing mortality in hospitalised Covid-19 patients.”

The WHO further said that the decision applies only to the conduct of the Solidarity trial. However, it does not apply to the use or evaluation of HCQ in pre or post-exposure prophylaxis in patients exposed to coronavirus.

For patients who have already started taking HCQ and have not finished their course in the trials, the WHO asked them to complete their course or stop at the discretion of the supervising physician.

Dr. Srinath Reddy, a member of the executive group of the steering committee of the Solidarity Trial, said an amended protocol will be issued soon.

For the HCQ arm of the Solidarity Trial, as many as 3,500 patients have enrolled from 21 countries around the world, including India.

India has approved clinical trials in 22 sites. As many as 300 participants have been randomised so far, Indian Express reported on Friday, quoting Dr. Sheela Godbole, head, division of epidemiology, ICMR-National AIDS Research Institute (NARI), and national coordinator of the Solidarity Trial in the country.

Godbole informed that instructions to stop the HCQ arm of the trial to coordinators at trial sites have been issued. “However, the decision to continue HCQ for patients who have been started on it, said Godbole, can be taken by the supervising physician as suggested by the WHO.”

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