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WHO panel advises against hydroxychloroquine to prevent COVID-19



(WASHINGTON) — A World Health Organization panel is now advising against the use of hydroxychloroquine, the controversial drug promoted heavily by the Trump administration, to treat patients infected with COVID-19.

The international health agency announced Monday that a panel of experts for its guideline development group now “strongly advises” against use of the anti-inflammatory drug, often used to treat and prevent malaria, to prevent the novel coronavirus.

The drug is no longer a research priority, and instead, resources should focus on other “more promising” drugs to prevent COVID-19, according to the press release.

“High certainty evidence” showed that hydroxychloroquine had “no meaningful effect” on deaths or admissions to hospitals, while “moderate certainty evidence” showed that hydroxychloroquine probably increases the risk of adverse effects, according to WHO.

The guideline applies to all individuals who do not have COVID-19, regardless of whether they have been exposed to someone who is infected.

New recommendations for other drugs will be added to the guideline as they become available, according to WHO.

Hydroxychloroquine was aggressively touted by former President Donald Trump as a promising treatment for the virus, despite a lack of evidence. As early as March 2020, Trump declared the drug a “game changer” as the pandemic grew, while the nation’s top infectious disease expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci, called it “not effective” for the coronavirus.

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