Ghana’s COVID-19 case management team is deliberating on whether to continue or stop using hydroxychloroquine as one of the drugs for the management of the disease in the country.
This comes on the heels of a decision by the World Health Organisation (WHO) to halt the testing of the malaria drug as a possible treatment for coronavirus over safety fears discovered in some recent studies.
The Director–General of the Ghana Health Service (GHS) DrPatrick Aboagye who disclosed this at yesterday’s COVID-19 briefing in Accra said the decision would be announced in due course.
“As I speak now, of course, we will wait for the formal communication but the case management team is meeting to take a decision on what to do. When they do we will adequately communicate to you”, he said.
He, however, explained that the drug in question was currentlyadministered to only persons under criticalconditions, adding that those being managed at their respective houses do not take hydroxychloroquine.
“We only use it [hydroxychloroquine] for critical cases. We do not use it for routine cases. Those who are being managed at home do not take hydroxychloroquine”, he explained.
Hydroxychloroquine was an approved drug for the treatment of malaria as well as conditions like lupus or arthritis. In the absence of a cure for COVID-19 it has been helping in case management. The ongoing testing was to confirm its efficacy.
However, WHO director-general TedrosAdhanomGhebreyesuson Monday said the drug would be dropped temporarily from its global study into experimental coronavirus treatments after safety concerns.
The concerns were discovered by a paper published last week in the Lancet that showed people taking the drug were at higher risk of death and heart problems than those who were not.
“The executive group has implemented a temporary pause of the hydroxychloroquine arm within the solidarity trial while the safety data is reviewed by the data safety monitoring board,” MrGhebreyesussaid.
He said the concern related only to the use of hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine for COVID-19, adding that the drugs were acknowledged treatments for people with malaria and auto-immune diseases.
Other treatments in the WHO’s solidarity trial, including the experimental drug remdesivir and an HIV combination therapy, he said were still being pursued by scientists.
BY JONATHAN DONKOR