The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved anti-malaria drugs chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine for emergency use to fight the coronavirus (COVID-19). Is this a miracle cure?
Donations from Bayer Pharmaceuticals and Sandoz will be used to that effect. The two companies will be ramping up productions in the upcoming weeks to be able to meet the demands of the crisis. The treatment will be mostly free.
HHS Secretary Alex Azar explained: “President Trump is taking every possible step to protect Americans from the coronavirus and provide them with hope. Scientists in America and around the world have identified multiple potential therapeutics for COVID-19, including chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine. The President’s bold leadership and the hard work of FDA and HHS’s Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response have succeeded in securing this large donation of medicine. We’ll continue working around the clock to get American patients access to therapeutics that may help them battle COVID-19, while building the evidence to evaluate which options are effective.”
This decision has not silenced the critics of the drugs who think they should only be used under strict supervision from professionals, especially after what occurred in Arizona earlier this month.
A product that is usually used in the maintenance of aquariums has caused the death of a man in Arizona who took the substance as a way to boost his immune system against coronavirus.
The citizen got the impression that consuming a dose of chloroquine phosphate would help in the battle with the virus after President Donald Trump announced that if the pharmaceutical version of the drug, hydroxychloroquine, was taken in combination with the antibiotic azithromycin, the result would be “one of the biggest game-changers in the history of medicine.”
Since the couple was keeping koi fish as pets, they were already familiar with chloroquine phosphate and had it in stock at home.
As a result, the man and his wife reportedly decided to give the product a try, and they ingested some of the additives with water.
However, in less than 30 minutes after consuming the drug, the two of them started feeling “dizzy and hot,” which later resulted in the woman vomiting and her husband developing respiratory problems.
Following what happened, the man was rushed to the nearest hospital, but he could not be saved and passed away. Normally, chloroquine phosphate is used to eliminate certain types of organisms that are found in water and could be dangerous for fish, such as algae, and it was not intended for the drug to be ingested by humans.
Meanwhile, ever since Trump claimed that the pharmaceutical version of the cleaning additive could be of use against the coronavirus, there was a sudden demand for chloroquine phosphate on the market, despite warnings from medics that the product is not safe.