Hydroxychloroquine may have been temporarily knocked off the multi-country Solidarity Trial by WHO, but will continue to be tested on patients of Novel Coronavirus Disease (Covid-19) in the United Kingdom. Recruitment will continue for the HCQ arm of RECOVERY Trial being carried out by the University of Oxford.
The RECOVERY trial is currently the largest randomised controlled trial of HCQ for Covid-19. Prof Peter Horby, professor of Emerging Infectious Diseases and Global Health in the Nuffield Department of Medicine, University of Oxford, said in a statement, “The WHO decision to temporarily suspend hydroxychloroquine in their trial is based on data from a study that has looked at routinely collected data from hospitalised patients, and which reports an increased risk of death in patients who were given hydroxychloroquine. However, these types of studies are difficult to interpret because the decision to give the drug will be based on the severity of disease in the patient. It’s a bit like giving diabetic drugs to diabetics: the drug doesn’t cause the disease, you are given the drug because of the disease. The authors have tried to control for this “indication bias” in the study but it is very hard to do it fully.”
Horby added: “In response to that paper we looked very carefully at our data over the weekend, to make sure we are not putting patients at risk. Since RECOVERY patients are randomised, our data are much less vulnerable to the biases that plague studies that use routine health care data. An independent committee has looked at our data and did not see any safety concerns. We discussed our findings with Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Authority, who have agreed with our interpretation that the data provide reassurance that continued enrolment into the hydroxychloroquine arm is safe and that we should press ahead with getting a reliable answer on hydroxychloroquine through the RECOVERY trial.”
The Nuffield Department of Population Health, after receiving a notice from the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Authority of the UK, had given a detailed response following which the department has obtained clearance for continuing with the HCQ arm.
Meanwhile in India, the total number of cases reached 1,51,767 with 6,387 cases being reported in the last 24 hours. There have been 4,337 deaths —170 in the last 24 hours — and 64,425 recoveries so far.
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