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Philippines resumes trial of hydroxychloroquine as COVID-19 treatment
In this file photo taken on May 20, 2020 a bottle and pills of Hydroxychloroquine sit on a counter at Rock Canyon Pharmacy in Provo, Utah.
AFP/George Frey

Philippines resumes trial of hydroxychloroquine as COVID-19 treatment

(Philstar.com) - June 4, 2020 - 4:22pm

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippines will resume the use of anti-viral drug hydroxychloroquine as a treatment for patients who have contracted the coronavirus disease.

This comes after the World Health Organization announced the resumption of the clinical trials of hydroxychloroquine—which is certified for use against malaria, rheumatoid arthritis and lupus—as a potential treatment for COVID-19. The United Nations health agency said Wednesday trials will restart after a safety review found there was no reason to modify the study.

“They have now decided that it is okay and we will again include hydroxychloroquine. Ili-lift na ‘yung pag-stop at itutuloy na natin ang gamutan dito sa hydroxychloroquine,” Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said.

(We will lift the suspension and we will continue using hydroxychloroquine as a treatment.)

The resumption of the clinical trials came more than a week after the WHO suspended the clinical trials of the drug following a study in The Lancet medical journal that suggested that the it could increase the risk of serious heart problems and even death among COVID-19 patients.

The study also found that hydroxychloroquine as well as the anti-malarial chloroquine did not help COVID-19 patients.

The hydroxychloroquine study is part of the WHO’s solidarity trial—a large, international study that aims to test the safety and effectiveness of four drugs against COVID-19.

“Maaaring maraming tao ang magsabi inconsistent. Maraming mga tao magsasabi babalik-balik at pabago-bago pero kami we stand by the position na ito ‘yung evolving nature of this disease and decisions may really be changed quite fast because of these evidence that we get every day,” Vergeire said.

(Maybe many people will say health authorities are inconsistent. Many people will say that we keep on changing protocols but we stand by the position of the evolving nature of this disease and decisions may really be changed quite fast because of this evidence that we get every day.)

A separate study published in the New England Journal of Medicine found that taking hydroxychloroquine shortly after being exposed to COVID-18 does not help prevent infection.

The new coronavirus has so far sickened 19,748 people in the Philippines. Of the figure, 4,153 have recovered, while 974 have died. — Gaea Katreena Cabico with report from Agence France-Presse 

 

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