Scientists resume COVID-19 trials of hydroxychloroquine

Scientists are resuming COVID-19 trials of the now world-famous drug hydroxychloroquine, Reuters reports.

The renewed research push follows widespread criticism of the quality of data in a study that on Thursday was retracted. The article, originally published in influential medical journal The Lancet, had found high risks associated with the treatment.

The World Health Organization, which last week paused trials when The Lancet study showed the drug was tied to an increased risk of death in hospitalized patients, said on Wednesday it was ready to resume trials.

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The WHO’s about-face came after nearly 150 doctors signed a letter to the Lancet outlining concerns about the study’s conclusions. On Thursday three of the study’s authors retracted it, saying the company holding the data would not release it for an independent review.

Some scientists said the episode had set back efforts to determine whether hydroxychloroquine was an effective or risky treatment for COVID-19, as some other trials around the world were also halted following the WHO’s initial decision to pause.

Scientists acknowledge, though, that studies are being conducted at break-neck speed while garnering unprecedented levels of attention that could give findings unwarranted weight.

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