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July 6, 2020updated 07 Jul 2020 1:23pm

WHO stops hydroxychloroquine and lopinavir/ritonavir trial arms

The World Health Organization (WHO) has decided to discontinue hydroxychloroquine and lopinavir/ritonavir arms in its Solidarity Trial, which is being conducted to assess potential treatments for hospitalised Covid-19 patients.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has decided to discontinue hydroxychloroquine and lopinavir/ritonavir arms in its Solidarity Trial, which is being conducted to assess potential treatments for hospitalised Covid-19 patients.

The decision is based on the trial’s International Steering Committee recommendation that comes after review of interim data from these treatment arms.

According to the committee, the data revealed that hydroxychloroquine and lopinavir/ritonavir demonstrated little or no decreased in the mortality of hospitalised patients with Covid-19, compared to standard of care.

WHO said in a statement: “The International Steering Committee formulated the recommendation in light of the evidence for hydroxychloroquine vs standard-of-care and for lopinavir/ritonavir vs standard-of-care from the Solidarity trial interim results, and from a review of the evidence from all trials presented at the 1-2 July WHO Summit on Covid-19 research and innovation.”

WHO noted that the trial investigators will discontinue the arms with immediate effect.

The organisation added that the interim data showed no ‘solid evidence’ that these drugs increased mortality. However, certain related safety signals were observed in the clinical laboratory findings of the add-on Discovery trial, a participant in Solidarity.

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This decision to discontinue the arms is applicable only to the the Solidarity trial in hospitalised patients and not the potential assessment in other studies of these drugs in non-hospitalised patients or as pre- or post-exposure prophylaxis for Covid-19.

Last month, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in the US and pharmaceutical company Novartis also suspended their respective trials of hydroxychloroquine in Covid-19 patients.

In addition, data from a RECOVERY clinical trial being conducted in the UK showed no benefit with lopinavir/ritonavir in patients hospitalised with Covid-19.

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