US revokes emergency use of malaria drugs to treat coronavirus

US regulators have revoked emergency authorisation for malaria drugs promoted by Donald Trump for treating Covid-19 amid growing evidence they do not work and could cause serious side effects. The decades-old drugs, also prescribed for lupus and rheumatoid arthritis, can cause heart rhythm problems, severely low blood pressure and muscle or nerve damage. The move means that shipments of the drugs obtained by the federal government will no longer be distributed to state and local health authorities for use against coronavirus. Steven Nissen, a Cleveland Clinic researcher who has been a frequent FDA adviser, agreed with the decision and said he would not have granted emergency access in the first place. The agency said on Monday that it revoked the authorisation in consultation with the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority, which had requested the emergency use. The authority’s former director said in April that he had been removed from his job because he resisted political pressure from Trump appointees to allow widespread use of the malaria drugs.