Sanofi halts enrolling COVID-19 patients in hydroxychloroquine trials
The moves come after the World Health Organization paused its large trial of hydroxychloroquine, prompting several European governments to ban the use of the drug, also used in rheumatoid arthritis and lupus
Paris: Sanofi has temporarily stopped recruiting new COVID-19 patients for two clinical trials on hydroxychloroquine and will no longer supply the anti-malaria drug to treat COVID-19 until concerns about safety are cleared up, it said on Friday.
The moves come after the World Health Organization paused its large trial of hydroxychloroquine, prompting several European governments to ban the use of the drug, also used in rheumatoid arthritis and lupus.
That dealt a major blow to hopes for treatment, touted by U.S. President Donald Trump, as drugmakers and governments race to find ways to treat patients and control the novel coronavirus.
Sanofi has been conducting two randomized, controlled clinical trials of hydroxychloroquine for COVID-19.
The first was expected to test 210 patients in the United States, France, Belgium, and the Netherlands who were not in hospital and suffering from the early stage of the disease while the second focused on hospitalized patients with moderate to severe COVID-19 in Europe. It was planned to include around 300 patients.
The WHO's concerns centered on a report published by the British journal The Lancet that patients getting the drug had increased death rates and irregular heartbeats.
Sanofi and rival Novartis have pledged donations of tens of millions of doses of the drug for COVID-19. Last month, the French company said it had already doubled production capacity at eight sites and was poised to increase further.