NIH, Novartis halt hydroxychloroquine trials

Both the National Institutes of Health and Novartis have stopped their hydroxychloroquine trials, following the World Health Organization, which pulled the drug from its global COVID-19 study last week after the FDA rescinded its emergency use authorization.

The NIH said June 20 that while the drug — which is commonly used to treat lupus and rheumatoid arthritis — showed no ill side effects, it also didn't provide any benefit to COVID-19 patients. 

The trial had taken place at the Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, Tenn., and included more than 470 people. 

Novartis said June 19 that it discontinued its hydroxychloroquine trial based on slow enrollment that made it infeasible to complete the trial. The drugmaker was unable to collect meaningful data in a reasonable time frame to determine the effectiveness of the drug in treating COVID-19 patients. 

Novartis said no safety issues were reported, and it hasn't determined the efficacy of the drug. It said it will continue to provide hydroxychloroquine for other  trials and upon request from the government. 


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