The World Health Organization, WHO, weekend said it has discontinued the hydroxychloroquine and lopinavir/ritonavir treatment arms for COVID-19 following the result of its interim trial which showed that the drugs produce little or no reduction in the mortality of hospitalised COVID-19 patients when compared to standard of care.
The WHO also confirmed a new record of 212,326 new cases of the viral infection worldwide on July 4, 2020.
Announcing the suspension of the trial in a press statement, the health agency said it had established the Solidarity trial to find an effective COVID-19 treatment for hospitalised patients, saying, it has “accepted the recommendation” from the International Steering Committee to discontinue the trial for hydroxychloroquine, as well as HIV/AIDS medications lopinavir and ritonavir, because they failed to reduce COVID-19 mortality.
The International Steering Committee formulated the recommendation in light of the evidence for hydroxychloroquine vs standard-of-care and for lopinavir/ritonavir vs standard-of-care from the Solidarity trial interim results, and from a review of the evidence from all trials presented at the 1-2 July, WHO Summit on COVID-19 research and innovation.
According to WHO, the Solidarity trial investigators will interrupt the trials with immediate effect.
“For each of the drugs, the interim results do not provide solid evidence of increased mortality. There were, however, some associated safety signals in the clinical laboratory findings of the add-on Discovery trial, a participant in the Solidarity trial. These will also be reported in the peer-reviewed publication.
WHO further explained that: “This decision applies only to the conduct of the Solidarity trial in hospitalized patients and does not affect the possible evaluation in other studies of hydroxychloroquine or lopinavir/ritonavir in non-hospitalized patients or as pre- or post-exposure prophylaxis for COVID-19. The interim Solidarity results are now being readied for peer-reviewed publication.”
212,326 new diagnosis in a day
In a related development, the WHO said a staggering 212,326 people were diagnosed worldwide with COVID-19 on Saturday, July 4, 2020.
The United States of America recorded 25 per cent of the cases with 53,213 more positive tests, followed by Brazil with 48,105; India, 22,771 and South Africa, 9,000.
The figure which is a new record, was an 11 percent rise on the previous record of 190,566, set on June 28, when the 10 million milestone was attained.
Also on 4th June, the total number of cases rose to 11.3 million, an indication that more than 1.3 million people were diagnosed within the week.
According to the WHO, June was the most devastating month for the COVID-19l pandemic and there were more than 180,000 cases recorded in a day on four occasions in June, even as total deaths exceeded 500,000.
The WHO said there have already been more than double the number of Covid-19 cases than the number of severe flu cases the world would see in a normal year.
The pandemic now in its sixth month is currently raging through 213 countries and territories around the world. Many countries in Europe are slowly emerging from the worst days of the global crisis, the pandemic still rages on in the Americas and Asia.
Even then, the figures are believed to be underestimates. Highly populated regions of Central and South America, South Asia, and Africa that have not yet experienced the full impact of 1st wave, are expected to begin to witness spikes in the near future.