The World Health Organisation says it has stopped the ongoing trials of hydroxychloroquine and combination of HIV drug, lopinavir/ritonavir on hospitalised COVID-19 patients after they failed to reduce death rates.
This, WHO revealed is based on the recommendation from the Solidarity Trial’s International Steering Committee, noting that the decision does not affect other studies where the drugs are used for non-hospitalised patients.
The decision was reached after a review of evidence from all trials presented at the WHO Summit on COVID-19 Research and Innovation held from 1-2 July.
According to a statement from the WHO: “These interim trial results show that hydroxychloroquine and lopinavir/ritonavir produce little or no reduction in the mortality of hospitalised COVID-19 patients when compared to standard of care.
“Solidarity trial investigators will interrupt the trials with immediate effect.
“For each of the drugs, the interim results do not provide solid evidence of increased mortality.
“There were, however, some associated safety signals in the clinical laboratory findings of the add-on Discovery trial, a participant in the Solidarity trial. These will also be reported in the peer-reviewed publication.”
Despite the setback, another aspect of the WHO-led trial is still ongoing and it 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 discovered that it helps reduce hospital recovery times.
The trial which is led by WHO started with five branches looking at possible treatment approaches to COVID-19, which include, standard care, remdesivir, hydroxychloroquine, lopinavir/ritonavir, and lopanivir/ritonavir combined with interferon.
According to the WHO Director-General, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, almost 5,500 patients in 39 countries had been recruited into its clinical trials and that interim results were expected in the next two weeks.
There are about 18 experimental COVID-19 vaccines that are being tested on humans with almost 150 treatments under development.