U.S. regulator revokes emergency use of anti-malarial drug for COVID-19

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The U.S Food and Drug Administration ended its emergency use authorisation of hydroxychloroquine, an anti-malarial drug, for treating people who had become ill because of the new coronavirus.

The federal regulator said it reviewed studies and found the drug was unlikely to produce an anti-viral effect, and treatment with the drug has not shown decreased viral shedding.

“This drug may not be effective to treat COVID-19 and  the drug’s potential benefits for such use do not outweigh its known and potential risks,’’ Denise Hinton, the FDA’s chief scientist, said in a letter on Monday.

Hydroxychloroquine was pushed aggressively by President Donald Trump, among others, who claimed it could be a miracle drug.

Trump himself used the drug after two people who worked in the White House contracted the virus.

The New England Journal of Medicine and the Lancet, two major medical journals, have retracted separate studies that warned about potential negative health consequences of using the drug, amid concerns over inconsistances in the data.

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