Increasing number of hydroxychloroquine clinical trials for COVID-19 treatment will be withdrawn or terminated

Hydroxychloroquine may have resulted in a large amount of wasted effort towards finding a treatment for COVID-19 as another hydroxychloroquine study has shown no benefits of using the anti-malarial drug to treat COVID-19. This is bad news for the 398 COVID-19 clinical trials using hydroxychloroquine and/or chloroquine as a primary or secondary intervention, says GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company.

Of those 398 clinical trials, 216 (54%) of them are currently listed with their status as ongoing, with planned status representing the second largest percentage. GlobalData expects that the number of hydroxychloroquine clinical trials withdrawn or terminated will increase in the coming months.

Johanna Swanson, Product Manager at GlobalData, comments: “Currently, there is no clinical evidence that hydroxychloroquine is effective against COVID-19. As the World Health Organization and multiple countries are suspending or terminating clinical trials of hydroxychloroquine based on an increase of adverse events such as mortality and irregular heartbeat, more trials continue to test hydroxychloroquine against COVID-19.”

The Nuffield Department of Population Health at the University of Oxford in the UK stopped the enrollment of patients to the hydroxychloroquine arm of its RECOVERY study after a review of data showed no benefits with the treatment. Swanson adds: “Detailed results have yet to be published, but accumulating data from larger, randomized studies suggest that a benefit from chloroquine/hydroxychloroquine treatment for COVID-19 is unlikely. Many people gained interest in the drug after President Trump began promoting it during his press briefings. Drug trials are necessary to produce unbiased facts on the efficacy and safety of drugs and should not be unduly influenced by political opinions.”

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