WHO panel issues strong advice against hydroxychloroquine for COVID-19

The drug hydroxychloroquine, once touted by Donald Trump as a pandemic “game-changer,” should not be used to prevent COVID-19 and has no meaningful effect on patients already infected, a World Health Organization expert panel said.

The anti-inflammatory drug should not be used in the fight against the pandemic, the WHO’s Guideline Development Group expert panel wrote in the BMJ British medical journal, and is “not worthwhile” exploring in further research studies of possible COVID-19 treatments.

This “strong recommendation” is based on high-certainty evidence from six randomized controlled trials involving over 6,000 participants both with and without exposure to COVID-19.

Former U.S. President Trump said last March that hydroxychloroquine could be a game-changer in the pandemic. He also said he was taking it himself, even after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration advised its efficacy and safety were unproven.

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