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A pharmacy tech holds a pill of hydroxychloroquine at Rock Canyon Pharmacy in Provo, Utah, on May 20. George Frey/AFP/Getty Images

Two more clinical trials of hydroxychloroquine – the drug President Trump has touted as a “game changer” for Covid-19 – have been halted, bringing the total number to at least four.

The National Institute of Allergies and Infectious Diseases closed a hydroxychloroquine trial early after enrolling only 20 study subjects, according to a statement issued by the institute on Saturday.

That trial originally intended to enroll about 2,000 Covid patients, according to clinicaltrials.gov.

The NIAID statement said that they ended the trial because “the rate of participant enrollment has been inadequate for the trial to meet its objectives in a timely manner.”

The Veterans Health Administration Office of Research and Development denied funding for a proposed hydroxychloroquine study for Covid patients, Dr. Salomeh Keyhani, a researcher at the San Francisco VA Health Care system, told CNN Thursday.

“It seems [the VA] made the right decision given all the [information] on lack of efficacy and concern for safety,” Keyhani wrote in an email to CNN.

That trial was supposed to enroll 300 patients, according to clinicaltrials.gov. 

On Saturday, the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute announced it had halted a trial of more than 500 study subjects.

After more than 470 participants were enrolled, a data and safety monitoring board recommended that the NHLBI stop the study because, “while there was no harm, the study drug was very unlikely to be beneficial to hospitalized patients with COVID-19.” 

Pharmaceutical giant Novartis announced Friday it would cancel its study due to challenges recruiting enough participants.

“The recruitment challenge facing our HCQ trial has made it unlikely that the clinical team will be able to collect meaningful data in a reasonable timeframe to determine the effectiveness of HCQ in treating patients with COVID-19,” according to the Novartis statement.

Novartis aimed to enroll 444 participants, according to clinicaltrials.gov.



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