Hydroxychloroquine trial continues in South Dakota

Published: May. 28, 2020 at 4:20 PM CDT
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Health officials say the hydroxychloroquine trial continues in South Dakota but has pivoted. This comes after the World Health Organization and others announced they were halting its use over safety concerns earlier this week.

Governor Noem, state health officials, and Sanford Health's Chief Medical Officer Dr. Allison Suttle offered an update on the hydroxychloroquine trial in South Dakota on Thursday.

Officials say the trial is ongoing and clarifying that the study the WHO was conducting was in a very different manner.

The trial in South Dakota opened May 14th and currently only has a handful of patients participating. South Dakota was the first state in the nation to roll out a statewide trial of the anti-malaria drug as a potential treatment for COVID-19.

But recent studies and reports have shown the drug might actually cause more harm in COVID patients, including heart risks and death.

Dr. Suttle says doctors had been prescribing the drug to patients hospitalized with COVID-19, but have recently shifted away from that.

They are now focusing on the use of hydroxychloroquine as a prophylactic to prevent the onset of COVID in those who have been exposed, rather than treating those who already have the disease.

"I'm not invested if it does work or if it doesn't work, all I want is an answer so we can move forward and that is what we are trying to do in all stages of the disease in all things that might help with the disease or in terms of helping those that are very sick to recover the disease," said Dr. Suttle.

Sanford, Avera, and Monument Health are all participating in the trial.

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