A World Health Organization panel has officially advised against the use of hydroxychloroquine, an anti-inflammatory drug previously touted by the Trump administration, for patients infected with COVID-19.
The international health agency revealed that a group of experts recently concluded with “high certainty” that the drug, typically used to treat malaria, ”had no meaningful effect” on deaths or admissions to hospitals, and “moderate certainty” that it actually increases the risk of adverse effects.
The WHO’s findings were published Monday in the medical journal BMJ and were based on clinical trials of more than 6,000 people.
“The panel considers that this drug is no longer a research priority and that resources should be used to evaluate other more promising drugs to prevent COVID-19,” the WHO said in a statement.
It added that more than 80 trials slated to enroll at least 100,000 participants for additional research are unlikely to uncover any benefits and should be canceled.
Hydroxychloroquine was launched into the spotlight last year, amid the surging coronavirus pandemic in the United States.
At the time, there was little known about the fast-spreading disease, and the drug initially seemed to quell some symptoms.
It was also heavily touted by then-President Donald Trump.
The Food and Drug Administration last march authorized the drug for emergency use authorization, but it was withdrawn by the agency several months later – after it similarly determined it was “unlikely to be effective in treating COVID-19 for the authorized uses.”
Medical experts have also previously warned against it’s use due to side effects, including heart rhythm problems.