Novartis, US drug regulator agree to malaria drug trial against COVID-19

Novartis, US drug regulator agree to malaria drug trial against COVID-19

Novartis, US drug regulator agree to malaria drug trial against COVID-19

A study analyzing the use of hydroxychloroquine in veterans hospitals in the United States found no evidence that the drug, traditionally used to treat and prevent malaria, is effective against COVID-19, the disease caused by the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus.

The study showed about 28% of those who were given hydroxychloroquine plus usual care died.

The analysis involved 368 men with COVID-19 in USA veterans hospitals.

A small study posted Tuesday by University of Virginia researchers found a higher mortality rate among 368 male veterans treated with hydroxychloroquine at Veterans Administration medical centers. The company will run a 440-patient study to see if the decades-old antimalarial drug can add COVID-19 to its list of non-malarial indications.

The study being conducted by Novartis is one of dozens around the world, including many in China, that are trying to determine the efficacy of hydroxychloroquine as a treatment for COVID-19. Of those patients, 113 received the combination treatment, 97 received hydroxychloroquine alone and 158 received neither.

Patients in the Novartis trial will either receive hydroxychloroquine or a placebo.

"Although ongoing randomized, controlled studies are expected to provide more informative evidence about hydroxychloroquine in the coming months, the outcomes observed in our study represent the best available data", the researchers wrote in the study. But since the emergence of other studies suggesting that the drug wasn't as safe as the president led people to believe it was, organizations like Fox News suddenly stopped talking about it.

"We recognise the importance of answering the scientific question of whether hydroxychloroquine will be beneficial for patients with COVID-19 disease", said John Tsai, head of Global Drug Development and chief medical officer at Novartis.

Novartis said in a press release 'it plans to begin enrollment for this study within the next few weeks and is committed to reporting results as soon as possible'.

The researchers observed that hydroxychloroquine was administered at the VA to patients with more severe disease and therefore a higher chance of death.

The National Institutes of Health on Tuesday issued new guidelines concluding that there was "insufficient clinical data" to recommend for or against the use of the drug in coronavirus treatments. They said multiple prospective, randomized trials of hydroxychloroquine were now being undertaken and will provide valuable information about the safety and efficacy of this antimalarial as an alleged cure for COVID-19.

Primetime host Laura Ingraham frequently touted the drug on her show but "barely mentioned it last week and has done so only once since last Wednesday", according to the report.

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