NIH halts clinical trials of Hydroxychloroquine says not effective on COVID-19 patients


In the past few months, there has been a lot of news circulating about President Trump’s drug of choice for COVID-19, hydroxychloroquine, on whether it can be used as a treatment or not.

To put an end to this confusion, a clinical trial to evaluate the safety and effectiveness of hydroxychloroquine for the treatment of adults hospitalized with COVID-19 has been stopped by the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH), the agency announced on Saturday.

A data and safety monitoring board met late Friday and determined that while there was no harm, the study drug was very unlikely to be beneficial to hospitalized patients with COVID-19, according to a release of the NIH.

The data from the Outcomes Related to COVID-19 treated with hydroxychloroquine among In-patients with symptomatic Disease study, or ORCHID Study, indicate that this drug provided no additional benefit compared to placebo control for the treatment of COVID-19 in hospitalized patients.

Hydroxychloroquine is used to treat malaria and rheumatoid conditions like arthritis. The drug generated excitement earlier in the year after a few small studies suggested it could be beneficial for treating coronavirus.

However, larger studies showed the drug was not helpful and caused heart issues in some patients, and a study in the New England Journal of Medicine found hydroxychloroquine didn’t work any better than a placebo in preventing coronavirus infections.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration also revoked the emergency use authorization (EUA) that allowed for chloroquine phosphate and hydroxychloroquine used to treat certain hospitalized patients with COVID-19 earlier this week.

Based on its ongoing analysis of the EUA and emerging scientific data, the FDA determined that chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine are unlikely to be effective in treating COVID-19 for the authorized uses in the EUA.

President Donald Trump repeatedly touted the drug’s potential to combat the virus and completed a two-week regimen last month. White House physician Dr. Sean Conley said that after discussing the evidence for and against hydroxychloroquine with the president, they concluded: “the potential benefit from treatment outweighed the relative risks.”

There are no FDA-approved drugs to treat the coronavirus, which has infected more than 8.6 million people worldwide and killed at least 460,594, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

After almost a quarter of the world’s population infected with it, coronavirus still has the upper hand against humanity and yet no we haven’t seen any great step towards eradicating it.