WHO halts hydroxychloroquine, lopinavir/ritonavir trial for COVID-19 treatment


Geneva: The World Health Organization (WHO) announced that it was discontinuing hydroxychloroquine and lopinavir/ritonavir arms for its Solidarity Trial, citing little or no reduction in the mortality of hospitalized COVID-19 patients.

Several thousand patients had been enrolled in the lopinavir/ritonavir arm of the WHO-led Solidarity Trial as well as a separate U.K.-led coronavirus trial of those drugs.

The Solidarity Trial was established by the WHO to find an effective Covid-19 treatment for patients. It began with five arms looking at possible treatments: standard care; remdesivir; hydroxychloroquine; lopinavir/ritonavir; and lopanivir/ritonavir combined with interferon.

“WHO today accepted the recommendation from the Solidarity Trial’s International Steering Committee to discontinue the trial’s hydroxychloroquine and lopinavir/ritonavir arms,” the WHO said in a statement.

Hydroxychloroquine is also used rheumatoid conditions like arthritis. The drug garnered excitement earlier in the year after several small studies suggested it could be help treat coronavirus.

The WHO’s decision to discontinue its studies of hydroxychloroquine and lopinavir/ritonavir applies only to trials on hospitalized coronavirus patients. It does not preclude studies of the drugs on non-hospitalized patients or as preventative treatments for patients before and after exposure to coronavirus.

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