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The anti-inflammatory drug hydroxychloroquine shouldn’t be used to prevent infections in people without COVID-19, according to a panel of international experts from the WHO Guideline Development Group (GDG) in the BMJ today.

Their strong recommendation is based on highly solid evidence from six randomized controlled trials of over 6,000 participants with and without known exposure to a person with COVID-19 infection.

Highly secure evidence showed that hydroxychloroquine did not have a significant effect on death and hospitalization, while moderately secure evidence showed that hydroxychloroquine did not have a significant effect on laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 infection and likely increases the risk of side effects.

Therefore, the panel believes that this drug is no longer a research priority and that resources should be used to evaluate other more promising drugs for the prevention of COVID-19.

This policy applies to anyone who does not have COVID-19, regardless of their exposure to someone with COVID-19 infection.

The panel ruled that almost all people would not find this drug worthwhile, and also decided that factors such as resources, feasibility, acceptability, and equity to countries and health systems were unlikely to change the recommendation.

Today’s recommendation is the first version of a life guideline for drugs for the prevention of COVID-19, developed by the World Health Organization with methodological support from the MAGIC Evidence Ecosystem Foundation. The aim is to provide trustworthy guidelines for managing COVID-19 and helping clinicians make better decisions with their patients.

Life guidelines are useful in fast-paced research areas like COVID-19 as they allow researchers to update previously reviewed and peer-reviewed evidence summaries.

New recommendations for other preventive drugs for COVID-19 will be added to this policy as additional evidence becomes available.

The WHO Guideline Development Group advises against the use of remdesivir for COVID-19

More information:
A living WHO guideline on medicines for the prevention of COVID-19, The BMJ, DOI: 10.1136 / bmj.n526, provided by the British Medical Journal

Quote: The WHO Expert Panel strongly advises against the use of hydroxychloroquine to prevent COVID-19 (2021, March 1st), which will be released on March 2nd, 2021 from https://medicalxpress.com/news/2021-03 -expert-panel-strongly-hydroxychloroquine-covid- .html

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