The decision of WHO to resume hydroxychloroquine testing in the global trial as a potentially therapeutic treatment for COVID-19 was a step in the right direction. Experts indicated that any positive result would be of greater concern to the general public around the world.

In clinical trials of experimental COVID-19, the global scientific body had suspended hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) arm in the past regarding the health issues. The trial suggested, however, that on Wednesday the safety data would be re-examined.

The Executive Group of the Steering Committee of the Solidarity Trial wrote to all National Principal Investigators of the Solidarity Trial, “On the basis of the available mortality data, the members of the Solidarity Data Safety Monitoring Committee unanimously agreed that there are no cogent reasons to recommend modifications of the protocol of the trail and advised that the trial should be continued as planned.”

“ICMR and India have been firm on recommendations about the drug based on biological plausibility, in vitro data and case controlled studies,” said ICMR Director General Dr Balram Bhargava welcoming WHO’s decision

The decision by WHO to reopen the HCQ arm of the clinical trial was a step forward towards a greater public interest, said AIIMS Director Randeep Guleria.

The hydroxychloroquine arm of the solidarity trial has been paused when the Solidarity Data Safety Monitoring Committee reviewed the data, said Dr Sheela Godbole, WHO-India Solidarity Trial’s National Coordinator and Chief of the Epidemiology Division, ICMR-National AIDS Research Institute.

It was previously said that in trials in the world no significant side effects were observed from hydroxychloroquine, and its use should continue under strict medical supervision as a COVID-19 prophylaxis.

In addition to hydroxychloroquine, the clinical studies in selected hospitals throughout the world are evaluated by three other treatment protocols — remdesivir, lopinavir and ritonavir comibnation and Interferon beta-1a lopinavir and ritonavir.

The drug is also recommended for all asymptomatic healthcare staff engaged with COVID-19 containment and diagnosis, including domestic associates with reported laboratory cases.

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