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South Dakota's trial of a controversial COVID-19 drug has been discontinued

A University of Minnesota study found hydroxychloroquine to be ineffective.

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PIERRE, S.D. — South Dakota's trial of a controversial COVID-19 drug has been discontinued after the publication of new research from a large controlled trial that found "no efficacy in preventing COVID-19 for people exposed to the virus," according to a news release from Sanford Health.

The trial for the drug hydroxychloroquine was a collaboration between Sanford Health, Avera Health and Monument Health, and sponsored by the state of South Dakota.

"The University of Minnesota this week published the results of its study in the New England Journal of Medicine. It is one of the nation’s first randomized trials with the drug. The study, which had a similar design to the planned South Dakota trial, found no benefit of hydroxychloroquine over a placebo as a post-exposure preventive therapy. The South Dakota trial was in the early stages and had just recently opened for enrollment," the release states.

Dr. Susan Hoover, Sanford Health infection disease doctor and principal investigator of the study, said the trial was discontinued after closely reviewing the new research and determining that the South Dakota study is unlikely to see different results.

“We’re focused on our goal of advancing the science around this disease and will continue to pursue other COVID-19 research," Hoover stated in the release.


A South Dakota trial at first tested the drug on patients hospitalized with COVID-19. Hydroxychloroquine has been used to treat other illnesses, such as malaria and rheumatoid arthritis.

Gov. Kristi Noem said that from the beginning, all research decisions regarding the study have been in the hands of research teams at Sanford, Avera and Monument Health.

“The state appreciates working with the systems, and we will continue to invest our resources into the most promising approaches to preventing and treating COVID-19," Noem stated in the release.

The partners involved in the South Dakota study are evaluating additional options to collaborate on statewide COVID-19 research, according to the release.

Another COVID-19 death was reported by the South Dakota Department of Health Friday, June 5.

The death was a woman in Meade County in the 50 to 59 age range, bringing the total death toll to 65 in the state.

There are 1,033 active cases in the state.

Total positive cases are up 30 from Thursday at 5,277.


Sixteen new recoveries were reported since Thursday. Total recoveries are at 4,179.

Currently, 83 people are hospitalized with COVID-19.

Negative test results are at 48,086.

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