File picture: George Frey/Reuters
File picture: George Frey/Reuters

UK halts trial of hydroxychloroquine in Covid-19 patients after no benefit found

By Kate Kelland and Alistair Smout Time of article published Jun 5, 2020

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London – British scientists halted a large trial on Friday that had been exploring the use of the anti-malaria drug hydroxychloroquine in patients with the pandemic disease Covid-19 after initial results showed no evidence of benefit.

"We reviewed the data and concluded there is no evidence of a beneficial effect of hydroxychloroquine in patients hospitalised with Covid, and decided to stop enrolling patients to the hydroxychloroquine arm with immediate effect," said Martin Landray, an Oxford University professor who is co-leading the so-called RECOVERY trial.

"This is not a treatment (for Covid-19)," he added. 

Meanwhile, a new study – the first of its kind – shows the drug doesn't work to prevent infection with the virus either, CNN reported.

President Donald Trump said he took hydroxychloroquine last month, shortly after he found out that his personal valet had been diagnosed with the coronavirus.

Dr David Boulware, the author of the new study, says the president's physician sent him an email on May 9, seeking his opinion about taking the drug preventatively, and asking about the results of the study and the dose the study subjects were taking.

Boulware says he advised Trump's physician that there was no published research showing hydroxychloroquine worked preventatively and shared that the people in his study who took hydroxychloroquine had higher rates of side effects, mostly gastrointestinal problems such as nausea and vomiting.

"I knew they were probably going to ignore what I said because the White House had been talking about hydroxychloroquine for weeks and weeks and weeks," said Boulware, an infectious disease expert and professor of medicine at the University of Minnesota.

Reuters

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