A pharmacist holds a bottle and a pill of Hydroxychloroquine at Rock Canyon Pharmacy in Provo, Utah. Picture for illustrative purposes only. Image Credit: AFP

Geneva: The World Health Organization (WHO) said Monday that it had "temporarily" suspended clinical trials of hydroxychloriquine as a potential treatment for COVID-19 being carried out across a range of countries as a precautionary measure.

The decision came after the publication last week of a study in the Lancet indicating that the using the drug on COVID-19 patients could increase their likelihood of dying, WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told a virtual press conference, adding that the WHO-backed trials had been "suspended while the safety is reviewed."