Breaking News
0
Ad-Free Version. Upgrade your Investing.com experience. Save up to 40% More details

Exclusive: Indonesia, major advocate of hydroxychloroquine, told by WHO to stop using it

Stock MarketsMay 26, 2020 15:40
Saved. See Saved Items.
This article has already been saved in your Saved Items
 
2/2 © Reuters. The spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Porto Alegre 2/2

By Kate Lamb and Tom Allard

(Reuters) - The World Health Organization has urged Indonesia, one of the world's biggest advocates of two malaria drugs to treat the coronavirus, to suspend such treatment over safety concerns, a source familiar with the advice told Reuters on Tuesday.

Any decision by Indonesia to halt use of the drugs, chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine, in coronavirus patients would mark a major global shift away from a treatment which has been touted for months by U.S. President Donald Trump.

Indonesia, the world's fourth most populous nation, had told doctors to use the drugs to treat all COVID-19 patients with symptoms from mild to severe. The country has ramped up production since March, granting two dozen licenses to local manufacturers who have churned out millions of doses.

The source, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss a recommendation not yet made public, said the WHO had sent a notice to Indonesia's health ministry advising that use of the drugs should be suspended.

Erlina Burhan, a doctor who helped draft coronavirus treatment guidelines as a member of the Indonesian Association of Pulmonologists, confirmed that the association had also received new advice from the WHO to suspend use of the drugs.

"We discussed the issues and there are still some disputes. We have no conclusion yet," she told Reuters.

A spokesperson for the WHO mission in Indonesia did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Indonesia’s health ministry, Food and Drug Monitoring Agency (BPOM) and the spokesman for Indonesia’s COVID-19 taskforce were not immediately available to comment.

Last week, the Lancet medical journal published the most comprehensive study to date on the drugs, which found that coronavirus patients prescribed them were more likely to experience heart rhythm disturbances and more likely to die.

"GAMECHANGER"

On Monday, the WHO announced it was suspending the use of hydroxychloroquine for COVID-19 patients in a global clinical trial. It has advised against using the malaria drugs for the coronavirus outside such trials.

Trump has touted hydroxychloroquine for months as a potential cure or preventive treatment for the coronavirus, and has said he was taking it himself to prevent infection.

On March 21, Trump described hydroxychloroquine as a “gamechanger”. Days later, Indonesia’s President Joko Widodo said the drug, while not a cure, could help patients recover.

According to a report from the ministry of health prepared for parliament, Indonesian companies were on course to produce 15.4 million doses of the two drugs between April and May.

Indonesia's food and drug agency published a COVID-19 “Informatorium” which included detailed dosage guidelines for the use of the drugs for adolescent and adult coronavirus patients suffering from moderate to severe symptoms.

The guidelines, which include warnings about potential heart complications, recommend they be used in tandem with the antibiotic azithromycin, a combination some studies show elevates the risk of heart rhythm disturbances.

Burhan said chloroquine and azithromycin have been routinely used. Earlier this month she told Reuters it was "hard to tell" if chloroquine was increasing the death rate of coronavirus patients, as any links were yet to be investigated.

Stephen Nissen, a cardiologist and chief academic officer of the Miller Family Heart, Vascular & Thoracic Institute at the Cleveland Clinic, said he was surprised Indonesian authorities had ever recommended widespread use of the drugs.

“We know these drugs produce a rare, but very serious and potentially lethal cardiovascular side effects, which is a heart rhythm disturbance that is very difficult to treat,” he said.

“So the idea of giving them routinely on the basis of the flimsiest of evidence of benefit makes absolutely no sense."

Jane Quinn, a pharmacology researcher at Australia's Charles Sturt University, said the anti-malaria drugs could be more dangerous for Indonesians than for other groups, because of the enzyme profile of Indonesia's population.

“The evidence from looking at those enzymes globally is that populations in Indonesia are actually much less effective at breaking chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine down,” she said, adding this could make the drugs less effective and more toxic.

Exclusive: Indonesia, major advocate of hydroxychloroquine, told by WHO to stop using it
 

Related Articles

Illinois Tool Works Earnings, Revenue beat in Q3
Illinois Tool Works Earnings, Revenue beat in Q3 By Investing.com - Oct 28, 2021

Investing.com - Illinois Tool Works (NYSE:ITW) reported on Thursday third quarter earnings that beat analysts' forecasts and revenue that topped expectations. Illinois Tool Works...

Add a Comment

Comment Guidelines

We encourage you to use comments to engage with users, share your perspective and ask questions of authors and each other. However, in order to maintain the high level of discourse we’ve all come to value and expect, please keep the following criteria in mind: 

  • Enrich the conversation
  • Stay focused and on track. Only post material that’s relevant to the topic being discussed.
  • Be respectful. Even negative opinions can be framed positively and diplomatically.
  •  Use standard writing style. Include punctuation and upper and lower cases.
  • NOTE: Spam and/or promotional messages and links within a comment will be removed
  • Avoid profanity, slander or personal attacks directed at an author or another user.
  • Don’t Monopolize the Conversation. We appreciate passion and conviction, but we also believe strongly in giving everyone a chance to air their thoughts. Therefore, in addition to civil interaction, we expect commenters to offer their opinions succinctly and thoughtfully, but not so repeatedly that others are annoyed or offended. If we receive complaints about individuals who take over a thread or forum, we reserve the right to ban them from the site, without recourse.
  • Only English comments will be allowed.

Perpetrators of spam or abuse will be deleted from the site and prohibited from future registration at Investing.com’s discretion.

Write your thoughts here
 
Are you sure you want to delete this chart?
 
Post
Post also to:
 
Replace the attached chart with a new chart ?
1000
Your ability to comment is currently suspended due to negative user reports. Your status will be reviewed by our moderators.
Please wait a minute before you try to comment again.
Thanks for your comment. Please note that all comments are pending until approved by our moderators. It may therefore take some time before it appears on our website.
 
Are you sure you want to delete this chart?
 
Post
 
Replace the attached chart with a new chart ?
1000
Your ability to comment is currently suspended due to negative user reports. Your status will be reviewed by our moderators.
Please wait a minute before you try to comment again.
Add Chart to Comment
Confirm Block

Are you sure you want to block %USER_NAME%?

By doing so, you and %USER_NAME% will not be able to see any of each other's Investing.com's posts.

%USER_NAME% was successfully added to your Block List

Since you’ve just unblocked this person, you must wait 48 hours before renewing the block.

Report this comment

I feel that this comment is:

Comment flagged

Thank You!

Your report has been sent to our moderators for review
Disclaimer: Fusion Media would like to remind you that the data contained in this website is not necessarily real-time nor accurate. All CFDs (stocks, indexes, futures) and Forex prices are not provided by exchanges but rather by market makers, and so prices may not be accurate and may differ from the actual market price, meaning prices are indicative and not appropriate for trading purposes. Therefore Fusion Media doesn`t bear any responsibility for any trading losses you might incur as a result of using this data.

Fusion Media or anyone involved with Fusion Media will not accept any liability for loss or damage as a result of reliance on the information including data, quotes, charts and buy/sell signals contained within this website. Please be fully informed regarding the risks and costs associated with trading the financial markets, it is one of the riskiest investment forms possible.
Continue with Google
or
Sign up with Email