FILE PHOTO: A nurse shows a pill of hydroxychloroquine, amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, at Nossa Senhora da Conceicao hospital in Porto Alegre, Brazil, April 23, 2020. REUTERS/Diego Vara
PARIS (Reuters) – The French government on Wednesday cancelled a decree allowing hospital doctors to administer hydroxychloroquine as a treatment to patients suffering severe forms of COVID-19, the illness caused by the new coronavirus.
The announcement comes two days after the World Health Organization said it was pausing a large trial of the malaria drug due to safety concerns.
British medical journal The Lancet has reported that patients getting hydroxychloroquine had increased death rates and irregular heartbeats, adding to a series of other disappointing results for the drug as a way to treat COVID-19.
U.S. President Donald Trump and others have pushed hydroxychloroquine in recent months as a possible coronavirus treatment.
France decided at the end of March to allow the use of hydroxychloroquine in specific situations and in hospitals only.
No vaccine or treatment has yet been approved to treat COVID-19 which has killed more than 350,000 people globally.
Reproting by Matthias Blamont; Editing by Hugh Lawson