The World Health Organisation (WHO) says it has discontinued the use of hydroxychloroquine and lopinavir/ritonavir in its global trial for treatment of COVID-19 as recommended by the Solidarity Trial’s International Steering Committee.
The UN health agency, in a statement, stated that the Solidarity Trial was established by WHO to find an effective COVID-19 treatment for hospitalised patients.
“The 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.
“The trial interim results and from a review of the evidence from all trials presented at the July 1 to July 2, WHO Summit on COVID-19 research and innovation.
“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,’’ it said.
According to the statement, 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.
“This decision applies only to the conduct of the Solidarity trial in hospitalised patients and does not affect the possible evaluation in other studies of hydroxychloroquine or lopinavir/ritonavir in non-hospitalised patients or as pre- or post-exposure prophylaxis for COVID-19.
“The interim Solidarity results are now being readied for peer-reviewed publication.’’
By Cecilia Ologunagba