Coronavirus: What is Hydroxychloroquine? Why is it Trending?

Donald Trump

Enlarge Image Donald Trump REUTERS

Eminent health specialist Prof Dr Tahir Shamsi told The News that the USA president probably asked the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to look into the possibility of using the anti-malarial drug on COVID-19 patients after Chinese found it effective in patients infected with coronavirus.

A statement by Banner Health, a large non-profit health care system in the US, says a man is dead and his wife, also in her 60s, is in critical care after they both took the additive, which is apparently commonly used to clean fish tanks.

Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Stephen Hahn clarified that the drugs have been approved by the agency for combating malaria but not for treating COVID-19.

Multiple reports from Nigeria as well as in global media say that the anti-malaria drug had become widely trusted among Nigerians to treat the coronavirus after Trump's statement last week. In the meantime, experts say using the drug and its cousin chloroquine to treat Covid-19 isn't backed by enough scientific evidence.

Hydroxychloroquine has not yet been proven as effective in battling COVID-19.

Do not go for the COVID-19 test just on suspicion or consume hydroxychloroquine without a doctor's prescription because the medicine has its side effects. He also said that normally FDA takes a long time to approve drugs but due to the nature of the case it was approved quickly.

Health officials are warning Nigerians against self-medicating after demand for the antimalarial medicine surged in Lagos, a city home to 20 million people.

"We are strongly urging the medical community to not prescribe this medication to any non-hospitalized patients", Brooks said.

Chloroquine is a drug typically used to treat malaria as well as other conditions such as lupus and rheumatoid arthritis.

Trump said at a White House press briefing Thursday that chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine will be made available to test whether it helps patients recover from coronavirus. The FDA has declared that it is not working on approving the drug.

Recently, the national task force for COVID-19 constituted by Indian Council for Medical Research (ICMR) has recommended hydroxy-chloroquine as a preventive medication.

"It is an old medicine which is being used to treat malaria, but suddenly it has disappeared from the market".

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