News ID: 271058
Published: 0813 GMT July 05, 2020

WHO says trials show malaria, HIV drugs don't cut COVID-19 hospital deaths

WHO says trials show malaria, HIV drugs don't cut COVID-19 hospital deaths
REUTERS
WHO’s director general, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, expects further results from clinical trials later this month.

The World Health Organization (WHO) said that it was discontinuing its trials of the malaria drug hydroxychloroquine and combination HIV drug lopinavir/ritonavir for patients in hospital with COVID-19 after they failed to reduce mortality.

The setback came as WHO also reported more than 200,000 new cases globally of the disease for the first time in a single day. The US accounted for 53,213 of the total 212,326 new cases recorded on Friday, the WHO said, according to theguardian.com.

“These interim trial results show that hydroxychloroquine and lopinavir/ritonavir produce little or no reduction in the mortality of hospitalized COVID-19 patients when compared to standard of care. Solidarity trial investigators will interrupt the trials with immediate effect,” the WHO said in a statement, referring to large multi country trials that the agency is leading.

The UN agency said the decision, taken on the recommendation of the trial’s international steering committee, does not affect other studies where those drugs are used for patients not in hospital or as a prophylaxis.

Another branch of the WHO-led trial is looking at the potential effect of Gilead’s antiviral drug remdesivir on COVID-19. The European Commission gave remdesivir conditional approval for use after it was shown to shorten hospital recovery times.

The solidarity trial started out with five branches looking at possible treatment approaches to COVID-19: Standard care; remdesivir; hydroxychloroquine; lopinavir/ritonavir; and lopanivir/ritonavir combined with interferon.

The director general of WHO, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, told reporters that nearly 5,500 patients in 39 countries had been recruited so far into its clinical trials and that interim results were expected within two weeks.

About 18 experimental COVID-19 vaccines are being tested on humans among nearly 150 treatments under development.

Mike Ryan, the WHO’s top emergencies expert, said that it would be unwise to predict when a vaccine could be ready. While a vaccine candidate might show its effectiveness by year’s end, the question was how soon it could then be mass-produced, he said.

   
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