With coronavirus cases around the world now in the millions, scientists are desperately working to find a treatment for the disease.
While early studies suggested that an antimalarial drug could be used to combat COVID-19, a new trial indicates that the drug could actually do more harm than good.
A trial of the drug, called chloroquine, has been halted after some patients developed ‘dangerous’ heart complications.
During the trial, which took place at the Tropical Medicine Foundation in Brazil, 440 coronavirus patients were given chloroquine.
Participants were either given a high dose of the drug or a low dose, although the study was double blind, meaning that neither the patients or their doctors knew which dose they were receiving.
Worryingly, several patients in the high dose group experiences heart rhythm problems, while two patients developed a fast, abnormal heart rate before dying.
Based on these results, the trial has now been halted.
In the study, published in medRxiv, the researchers, led by Mayla Gabriela Silva Borba, wrote: “Our study raises enough red flags to stop the use of such [high] dosage … worldwide in order to avoid more unnecessary deaths.”
While chloroquine appears to have some nasty side effects, other drugs are showing promising results for treating coronavirus.