SEOUL, June 17 (Korea Bizwire) — Clinical trials in South Korea to evaluate the potential therapeutic efficacy of an anti-malaria drug, chloroquine, for the treatment of the novel coronavirus have been halted, hospital officials said Wednesday.
Two major general hospitals in Seoul — Asan Medical Center and Gangnam Severance Hospital — have recently ceased their clinical study of using chloroquine for the treatment of certain hospitalized COVID-19 patients, they said.
The move comes after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) earlier this week revoked the emergency-use authorization of chloroquine, citing potential health risks.
In light of ongoing serious cardiac adverse events and other potential serious side effects, the known and potential benefits of chloroquine no longer outweigh the known and potential risks for the authorized use, according to the FDA.
South Korea’s drug safety watchdog, the Ministry of Food and Drug Safety, earlier approved clinical trials of chloroquine and AIDS treatment Kaletra at the two hospitals.
“The clinical study was halted not just because of the FDA decision,” said an official from Asan Medical Center who asked not to be named. “There were difficulties in recruiting patients as well.”
Chloroquine was frequently touted by U.S. President Donald Trump, who has claimed to have used it himself.
The FDA also warned against giving chloroquine to patients who are receiving remdesivir, a medication developed by U.S. pharmaceutical giant Gilead Sciences Inc.