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Hydroxychloroquine being 'discarded prematurely', say scientists

Hydroxychloroquine being discarded prematurely, say scientists

A trial investigating the drug hydroxychloroquine as a preventative treatment against Covid-19 may never find out if it's effective, say scientists involved.

Controversy around the drug - touted by President Trump and the subject of online misinformation - is stopping completion of the trial, they say.

It is ineffective in hospitalised patients, but investigators hope it might work if given earlier on.

Hospitals have pulled out of the trial.

'Intense politicisation and negative publicity'

The Oxford University-led trial is aiming to enrol 40,000 frontline workers around the world.

Investigators hope the large-scale, double-blind randomised study will show if early use of the treatment prevents the virus from getting worse.

"We know now that it doesn't work in treatment of hospitalised patients," says Prof Nick White, one of the study's investigators.

"But it's still is a medicine that may prove beneficial in preventing Covid-19."

The UK medicines regulatory body MHRA halted hydroxychloroquine trials, following a now-discredited paper in The Lancet claiming it caused harms.

Trials resumed in late June but the investigators says these concerns over safety, and the drug's politicisation, have made it difficult to get participants.

Prof White says hospital trusts have pulled out of the trial.

By:Christopher Giles (BBC News)

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