Covid-19: WHO halts trial of hydroxychloroquine, awaits more safety data

The Lancet published a study that said the drug, touted by US President Donald Trump as a treatment, was linked to an increased risk of death and heart ailments.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has halted the hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) arm of its Covid-19 drug trials pending more data because of safety concerns.

The steering committee decided to suspend enrollment to that arm, WHO officials said Monday. That’s after the Lancet published a study that said the drug, touted by US President Donald Trump as a treatment, was linked to an increased risk of death and heart ailments.

“It’s important to continue to gather evidence on the efficacy and safety of hydroxychloroquine,” WHO Chief Scientist Soumya Swaminathan said at a press briefing in Geneva. “We want to use it if it’s safe and efficacious, reduces mortality, reduces the length of hospitalisation without increasing adverse events.”

The studies may resume if data warrants, Mike Ryan, head of the WHO’s health emergencies programme, said at a briefing. “This has purely been done as a precaution.”

The safety monitoring board will meet again and the decision will be reviewed in the next week or two, Swaminathan also said.  

 
Prices of N-95 masks down by up to 47%

Leading manufacturers and importers of N-95 masks have reduced prices by up to 47 per after the National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA) stepped in to ensure the availability of this respiratory protection device at affordable rates in the country, the government said on Monday.

N-95 masks were earlier being sold in the market for Rs 150 to Rs 300 per unit and after the advisory by the NPPA, prices have been cut.

To address the issue of higher prices of the N-95 masks, the NPPA intervened to ensure their availability at affordable prices in the country, the Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilizers said in a statement on Monday. PTI


Business Standard is now on Telegram.
For insightful reports and views on business, markets, politics and other issues, subscribe to our official Telegram channel