While World Health Organisation (WHO) has decided to resume the clinical trials of Hydroxychloroquine (HCQ), The Lancet issued an "expression of concern" over the effectiveness of the drug.
"We have published an Expression of Concern on the paper by Mehra et al on hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine published on May 22, 2020," The Lance said on Twitter.
Earlier, The Lancet had published a study titled 'Hydroxychloroquine or chloroquine with or without a macrolide for treatment of COVID-19: a multinational registry analysis' on May 22. According to the study, researchers said that "We were unable to confirm a benefit of hydroxychloroquine or chloroquine, when used alone or with a macrolide, on in-hospital outcomes for COVID-19. Each of these drug regimens was associated with decreased in-hospital survival and an increased frequency of ventricular arrhythmias when used for treatment of COVID-19.We were unable to confirm a benefit of hydroxychloroquine or chloroquine, when used alone or with a macrolide, on in-hospital outcomes for COVID-19. Each of these drug regimens was associated with decreased in-hospital survival and an increased frequency of ventricular arrhythmias when used for treatment of COVID-19."
Speaking about safety of the drug, WHO's chief scientist Soumya Swaminathan told the Indian Express that WHO's safety monitoring board reviewed the mortality data and they did not have any concerns related to mortality between HCQ and standard of care and hence the organsiation has decided to resume the trials.
After suspending the hydroxychloroquine arm of a clinical trial of experimental COVID-19 drugs, the director-general of the World Health Organisation said experts had reviewed the safety data and were now recommending the trial continue as planned.
The recommendation means doctors will soon be able to resume giving the drug to patients enrolled in the UN health agency's study.
Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said Wednesday that the WHO's safety monitoring committee for the global trial had now examined all available mortality data about hydroxychloroquine.
Some studies had suggested that people who were taking the drug for COVID-19 had a higher chance of dying than those who were not.
Tedros said: "The members of the committee recommended that there are no reasons to modify the trial protocol." US President Trump has said he is taking hydroxychloroquine even though he has not tested positive for the coronavirus; there are no studies that have proven the drug is effective against COVID-19.
Tedros said the executive group running the WHO's trial endorsed the continuation of all arms of the trial, including hydroxychloroquine. Other treatments being tested, including remdesivir and an HIV combination therapy drug, were unaffected.
"So far, more than 3,500 patients have been recruited in 35 countries. WHO is committed to accelerating the development of effective therapeutics, vaccines and diagnostics as part of our commitment to serving the world with science, solutions and solidarity," he said.
Soon after HCQ was suspended from the trial, the Indian government had said that the antimalarial drug has been known for its benefits for a very long time and its usage will be continued on the frontline workers including police and healthcare professionals as prophylaxis. The government had also said that studies were being conducted and the drug would be included in the clinical trial also for the treatment of coronavirus disease.
US President Donald Trump also had strongly advocated the use of HCQ and called it a "game-changer". He went to the extent of saying that he had taken the medicine.