WATCH: SA set to select first patients for COVID-19 drug trial
JOHANNESBURG – The World Health Organization has resumed its global trials of the anti-malaria drug, hydroxychloroquine as a possible treatment for COVID-19. The health body suspended the study after two research papers in respected journals flagged health dangers.But those papers were withdrawn this week.
That’s just as South Africa prepares to enrol its first patients in the International Solidarity Trial. Both the New England Journal and Lancet have retracted studies that vilified hydroxychloroquine. They’re now saying the authors were unable to independently verify the data behind the analysis.
Questions have emerged around the integrity of the data obtained from a little-known company called Surgisphere. The company claimed to have sourced information from more than a thousand hospitals worldwide. Last month, the WHO halted the use of hydroxychloroquine in the Solidarity Trial based on those studies.
But it reversed the decision this week. WHO admits it should have asked for the database – but accepted the report because it was published in the well-respected Lancet.”There are over 130 trials going on worldwide with hydroxychloroquine for COVID-19. Many of those studies were temporarily stopped and the WHO suspended the hydroxychloroquine arm of the solidarity study,” said Solidarity Trial Co-principal investigator, Professor Helen Rees.
She says the study is about to get underway in South Africa.“The Solidarity trial has now received approval from the regulatory authority, SAHPRA, and is now in the final stages of discussion with the ethics committees, but I think that those will come through quite soon. So we are very much hoping that the solidarity study will be able to start within the next one to two weeks.”
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