WHO ends HCQ and HIV drugs trials

Updated: 06 July, 2020 08:21 IST | Agencies | Geneva

Takes the decision after the medicines failed to reduce death rate among hospitalised COVID-19 patients even as the agency registers highest count of novel Coronavirus infections worlwide

People gather in the Pacific Beach area of San Diego  on Saturday. US holiday fuels worries about skyrocketing virus cases. Pic/AFP
People gather in the Pacific Beach area of San Diego on Saturday. US holiday fuels worries about skyrocketing virus cases. Pic/AFP

The World Health Organisation has halted its trials of anti-malaria drug hydroxychloroquine and lopinavir/ritonavir, a drug combination used to treat HIV/AIDS for the treatment of hospitalised COVID-19 patients after they failed to reduce the death rate.

While there was no "solid evidence" of increased mortality for hospitalised patients given the drugs, there were "some associated safety signals in the clinical laboratory findings" of an associated trial, it added.

"Solidarity trial investigators will interrupt the trials with immediate effect," the WHO said in a statement, adding that the decision won't affect possible trials on patients who aren't hospitalised. Meanwhile, the WHO reported 2,12,326 new cases of COVID-19 globally in the past 24 hours — the highest single-day spike so far.

'Masks are like hoax'
The US on Saturday recorded 45,300 new cases, after three days in which the daily count reached 54,500. Experts fear celebrations for the July 4th weekend will act like rocket fuel for the nation's surging coronavirus outbreak. The lower figure does not mean the situation in the US is improving; it could be due to reduced reporting on a national holiday.

Despite warnings by health experts, President Donald Trump went ahead with a speech at Mount Rushmore in South Dakota on Friday and an evening of tribute and fireworks on Saturday.

New curbs in Israel
Israel ordered over 30,000 people into quarantine after a contentious phone surveillance program resumed. After imposing strict measures early on during a first wave of infections, Israel and the Palestinian territories appeared to have contained their outbreaks in May. But an easing of curbs led to a steady uptick in cases over the past month. Israel is now reporting over 1,000 new cases a day. Since the start of the outbreak, Israel has seen more than 29,000 cases and 330 deaths.

S Africa daily count past 10K
For the first time, South Africa is reporting over 10,000 new cases in a single day. That brings the country's total confirmed cases to more than 187,977, by far the most of any country in Africa. South Africa also has surpassed 3,000 deaths in this outbreak.

Brazil prez dilutes mask law
Amid the surge in cases in Brazil, President Jair Bolsonaro on Friday used his veto power to water down the law necessitating wearing of masks in all public spaces.

5th highest deaths in Mexico
Mexico has topped 30,000 COVID-19 deaths, overtaking France as the country with the fifth-highest death toll. Officials reported 523 more confirmed deaths for Saturday, bringing the nation's total to 30,366 for the pandemic.

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First Published: 06 July, 2020 08:08 IST

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