The World Health Organization is actively following the ongoing clinical trials that are being conducted in response to COVID-19, including studies looking at the use of chloroquine and its derivative, hydroxychloroquine, for treatment and/or prevention. Currently, there is insufficient data to assess the efficacy of either of these medicines in treating patients with COVID-19, or in preventing them from contracting the coronavirus.
Chloroquine is currently recommended by WHO for the treatment of P. vivax malaria. In the context of the COVID-19 response, the dosage and treatment schedules for chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine that are currently under consideration do not reflect those used for treating patients with malaria. The ingestion of high doses of these medicines may be associated with adverse or seriously adverse health outcomes.
For public health emergencies, WHO has a systematic and transparent process for research and development (R&D), including for clinical trials of drugs. The WHO “R&D Blueprint” for COVID-19, initiated on 7 January 2020, aims to fast-track the availability of effective tests, vaccines and medicines that can be used to save lives and avert large-scale crises. WHO has also designed a set of procedures to assess the performance, quality and safety of medical technologies during emergency situations.