FDA today announced that it has revoked its emergency use authorization allowing doctors to use the malaria drugs hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine to treat COVID-19, citing concerns about the drugs’ safety and efficacy against the virus.
A large, randomized clinical trial in hospitalized patients found the malaria medicines showed no benefit for decreasing the likelihood of death or speeding recovery, according to FDA. Said FDA: “This outcome was consistent with other new data, including those showing the suggested dosing for these medicines are unlikely to kill or inhibit the virus that causes COVID-19.”
President Donald Trump had previously touted the potential for the malaria drugs to treat the coronavirus, even disclosing that he himself was taking hydroxychloroquine preemptively after coming in contact with people who tested positive for the virus.
There has never been high-quality evidence suggesting that hydroxychloroquine is effective against COVID-19 — and worse, the drugs have serious side effects, Dr. Steven Nissen, a Cleveland Clinic researcher and FDA adviser, told The Associated Press. Nissen said he wouldn’t have granted an EUA in the first place.