Hydroxychloroquine research hampered

Hydroxychloroquine research hampered

All the attention on the drug in recent months is increasingly spilling into science and making it harder for some researchers to actually study whether the drug has potential for COVID-19.

Doctors have used hydroxychloroquine for decades to treat autoimmune conditions and to prevent malaria.

While the Food and Drug Administration has given emergency use authorization for doctors to try the treatment on COVID-19 patients, the agency has also cautioned about possible deadly side effects.

On Wednesday, the executive director of the World Health Organization's emergencies program, Dr. Mike Ryan, echoed other leading medical experts, saying at a press briefing that hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine have "yet to be found effective in the treatment of COVID-19" or for preventing the disease.

Because of potential side effects, Ryan says the WHO advises the drug "be reserved" for use in the context of clinical trials, which are underway in many places.

But for some researchers, running such trials is becoming more difficult because of the controversy around the drug.

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