WHO suspends hydroxychloroquine trial over safety concerns

The World Health Organization is temporarily discontinuing its global study testing the effectiveness of hydroxychloroquine as a COVID-19 treatment, the organization announced May 25 in a news conference, according to The Hill.

The trial's suspension comes after a new study revealed that COVID-19 patients who received hydroxychloroquine, which treats malaria and lupus, experienced a significantly higher risk of dying than those who didn't receive it. The results suggested that the drug put COVID-19 patients at a higher risk of irregular heartbeats that could end in cardiac arrest.

While the drug's safety is being reviewed in the context of treating COVID-19 patients, the WHO has maintained that the drug is generally safe for patients with malaria or autoimmune diseases, The Hill reported. The FDA in April cautioned that hydroxychloroquine should only be taken in a clinical trial or hospital.

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