Biotech & Health

NIH Halts Hydroxychloroquine Clinical Trial; Drug Sought To Fight COVID-19

MBS Staff

Bethesda-based National Institutes of Health (NIH) announced today that a study of a drug sought to fight the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) has been stopped indefinitely.

An NIH data and safety monitoring board (DSMB) determined that the clinical trial evaluation of Hydroxychloroquine was no longer warranted. The DSMB met late Friday after a fourth interim analysis to recommend that the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) pull the plug on the study.

Hydroxychloroquine has been championed by President Trump as a possible and effective answer to help in the fight against COVID-19. The NIH board said that results from the study showed that while Hydroxychloroquine treatment was not harmful to patients, it also provided no benefit.

The stand-alone Hydroxychloroquine clinical began in April at the Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Nashville, Tennessee. It enrolled more than 470 adults that had already contracted COVID-19 and required hospitalization. Participants were evaluated with Hydroxychloroquine versus a placebo. A total eight doses was administered twice daily for five days after an initial twice daily of two doses.

Hydroxychloroquine is used to treat various diseases such as malaria and arthritis.

The study is separate from one launched in mid-May to evaluate a clinical trial of a combination of Hydroxychloroquine and antibiotic Azithromycin.