The World Health Organization (WHO) said on Tuesday that a safety team would review data on hydroxychloroquine by next month, a day after officials cited safety concerns that prompted them to suspend use of the malaria drug in a global trial in Covid-19 patients.
"Although several multicenter randomized controlled trials are underway, there is a pressing need to provide accurate clinical guidance because the use of chloroquine or hydroxychloroquine along with macrolides is widespread, often with little regard for potential risk", investigators wrote.
The WHO has 3,500 patients from 17 countries enrolled in what it calls the Solidarity Trial.
The research did, however, only include patients who commenced one of the four drug regimes within 48 hours of initial COVID-19 diagnosis.
The WHO had previously recommended against using hydroxychloroquine to treat or prevent coronavirus infections, except as part of clinical trials.
The results from elsewhere in the world, where HCQ is being tested as a treatment for COVID-19, are markedly different.
This weekend, Trump continued to promote the drug.
This was announced by the WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus yesterday.
Like his USA counterpart, Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro has touted the supposed benefits of hydroxychloroquine and a related drug, chloroquine, against the coronavirus.
The authorities in Nigeria say they are concerned that people are buying large quantities of hydroxychloroquine - a drug touted, but not yet proven, to help cure Covid-19.
Last week, a study in medical journal The Lancet said there were no benefits to treating coronavirus patients with hydroxychloroquine, and that taking it might even increase the number of deaths among those in hospital with the disease.
Last week, Trump announced he was taking hydroxychloroquine although he has not tested positive for Covid-19.
Four different treatment variations were included in the study: chloroquine alone, hydroxychloroquine alone, chloroquine with a macrolide or hydroxychloroquine with a macrolide.
According to a Monday NBC News report, the embattled organization - which lost its USA funding over its mismanagement of the COVID-19 crisis - announced that the drug may cause potential dangers in patients and is choosing to "err on the side of caution" by temporarily ceasing trials.
"The review will consider data collected so far in the solidarity trial and, in particular robust randomised available data, to adequately evaluate the potential benefits and harms from this drug", the World Health Organization chief added.
A Data Safety Monitoring Board will now closely examine all available data on hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine to establish whether these treatment arms of the trial will resume.