Scientists raise concern over hydroxychloroquine study
PARIS, May 29: Dozens of scientists have raised concerns over a large-scale study of hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine that led to the World Health Organization suspending clinical trials of the anti-viral drugs as a potential treatment for COVID-19.
Hydroxychloroquine, normally used to treat arthritis, is one of an array of drugs being tested as scientists look for potential
treatments for coronavirus patients.
It has also become the most high profile, partly because of comments by US President Donald Trump -- who announced this month he was taking the drug as a preventative measure against coronavirus.
The research, which was published in the Lancet on May 22, looked at records from 96,000 patients across hundreds of hospitals.
It concluded that treatment with hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine, an anti-malarial, showed no benefit and even increased the likelihood of them dying in hospital. Both drugs can produce potentially serious side effects, particularly heart arrhythmia.
Within days of the research being published the WHO temporarily suspended use of the drugs in its Solidarity trial -- which has seen hundreds of hospitals across several countries enrol patients to test possible treatments for COVID-19.
"This impact has led many researchers around the world to scrutinise in detail the publication in question," said the open letter, signed by a number of prominent scientists. -AFP