The U.S. National Institutes of Health has halted its clinical trial of hydroxychloroquine, the drug recommended by President Trump to combat the coronavirus, saying that while there are no ill side effects, the anti-malaria drug provides no benefit to COVID-19 patients.
“A data and safety monitoring board (DSMB) met late Friday and determined that while there was no harm, the study drug was very unlikely to be beneficial to hospitalized patients with COVID-19,” the NIH said in a statement on Saturday.
The NIH added: “The data from this study indicate that this drug provided no additional benefit compared to placebo control for the treatment of COVID-19 in hospitalized patients.”
Hydroxychloroquine, which has long been used to combat Malaria, was heralded by many, including President Trump, as a possible treatment option to the coronavirus pandemic until a working vaccine becomes available.
Earlier this month the World Health Organization said it was temporarily halting its clinical trials that use hydroxychloroquine to treat COVID-19 patients over published concerns that the drug may do more harm than good.
The move came after the medical journal The Lancet reported in a controversial study that patients getting hydroxychloroquine were dying at higher rates than other coronavirus patients.