KUALA LUMPUR, May 28 — Indonesia has been told by the World Health Organisation (WHO) to stop utilising hydroxychloroquine in the treatment of patients with Covid-19.
The Jakarta Post reported that WHO has sent an advisory to Indonesia’s Ministry of Health stating that the use of the drugs for such treatment should be halted due to safety concerns.
A doctor with the Indonesian Association of Pulmonologists who contributed towards the development of Covid-19 treatment guidelines, also confirmed to the newspaper that they had received the new advice from WHO.
Indonesia has made the drug as part of its treatment protocol for all Covid-19 patients. It has also granted licences to local manufacturers for domestic production.
Hydroxycholoquine is also currently used in the treatment of malaria, lupus and rheumatoid arthritis.
WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus announced on Monday that it would suspend the use of the drug which is part of a global clinical trial and advised against their use for Covid-19 treatment.
This decision follows the results of a study with over 96,000 people which found that hydroxychloquine was responsible for causing a much higher risk of death among hospitalised Covid-19 patients than those who did not receive the drug. The findings were recently published in the medical journal The Lancet.
France was the first country to ban hydroxychloroquine as a Covid-19 treatment option. It too had previously allowed its use for certain patients.
Malaysia has been using the drug since the outbreak began in the country. The Ministry of Health has attributed the low reported fatalities to the drugs use which possibly helped prevent early Covid-19 patients from deteriorating into conditions that require intensive care or ventilator support.
There are currently no treatments or vaccines which have been approved for the treatment of Covid-19.