Is Hydroxychloroquine a Game-changer for COVID-19 Treatment?

Is Hydroxychloroquine a Game-changer for COVID-19 Treatment?
Use of hydroxychloroquine for the treatment of Covid-19
Is Hydroxychloroquine a Game-changer for COVID-19 Treatment?
Use of hydroxychloroquine for the treatment of Covid-19

The extensive death from deadly novel coronavirus worldwide has made the malaria drug Hydroxychloroquine sulfate a famous name. Following US President Donald Trump’s purported threat, political debate is in progress between India and the US over the export of Hydroxychloroquine tablets. 

Hydroxychloroquine sulfate is a medicine known for the treatment of malaria widely used since 1955, as well as lupus and rheumatoid arthritis. The US president has repeatedly said that this malaria drug may prove a game-changer in the fight against novel coronavirus.

Indo-US relationship amid hydroxychloroquine demands

India imposes ban earlier

India has earlier imposed a ban on the export of anti-malaria drug hydroxychloroquine despite getting several requests for the export of this drug from many countries. This may be an effective source of treatment for novel coronavirus, but no clinical evidence is available. There are also medical teams that the side-effects from the drug may be more harmful. Hence, the Indian government is set to provide Hydroxychloroquine to such countries who have requested this drug. Apart from the US, around 30 countries have demanded Hydroxychloroquine from India. India is ready to give priority to its neighbours like Nepal and Sri Lanka. But again, the domestic consumption would be its priority.

Replete with side effects

India has recommended that the anti-malarial drug hydroxychloroquine be given as medicine to treat coronavirus patients. But the side effect of Hydroxychloroquine may be severe such as-headaches, nausea, dropping of blood glucose, drowsiness, depression, cramps, lower appetite and heart attack. Overdose may end life as well.

India-US tie lift ban

The Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Directorate General of Foreign Trade, through a notification said, “The export of Hydroxychloroquine and formulations made from Hydroxychloroquine, shall remain prohibited, without any exception. Sources say while exporting of Hydroxychloroquine has been banned, exceptions can always be made by the committee headed by the Cabinet Secretary.”

The Ministry of External Affairs in its statement said, “Stressing the special relationship between the two countries, the Prime Minister reiterated India’s solidarity with the USA in overcoming this global crisis together.” The two leaders agreed to deploy the full strength of the India-US partnership to resolutely and effectively combat COVID-19.

No proof of the drug’s effectiveness

Despite the stress of Trump for the use of malaria drugs in treating COVID-19 patients, the Food and Drug Administration in the US has made it clear that there is no clinical proof of the effectiveness of Hydroxychloroquine in the medication of COVID-19. Trump said he spoke to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and appealed for the release of shipments the US has already ordered. India is giving his request “serious consideration,” he said.

Compassionate use

Stressing on the use of Hydroxychloroquine for the treatment of COVID-19 patients, President Trump said that the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) had approved it for treating coronavirus, something the organisation has denied. Mr Trump later said that it had been approved for “compassionate use” – which means a doctor can give a drug that is yet to be cleared by the government to a patient in a life-threatening condition.

Trump’s decision in a hurry

It seems that the requirement of Trump over the use of Hydroxychloroquine in novel coronavirus treatment is a decision in a hurry. The initial results of Hydroxychloroquine for the treatment of novel coronavirus had not shown any significant differences between those who swallowed the drug or those who had got only the usual care. Trump has also got inspiration from the French researcher Didier Raoult’s study, which concludes that the use of the combination of Hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin help in treating COVID-19 patients. But it is too early to come to any positive conclusion.

Trump’s stress on malaria drug

At the Texas city nursing home in the US, several positive COVID-19 patients are being treated with anti-malarial drug hydroxychloroquine. This is being done under the severe pressure of President Trump, who touted that this drug is the possible treatment of novel coronavirus. But the medical experts cautioned that it had not been appraised through the clinical trials yet. Trump is looking very ambitious towards the extensive use of Hydroxychloroquine for the COVID-19 patients, but close to his administration don’t like its widespread experiment on coronavirus patients.

Doctors say the medical evidence is still too limited to be sure of Hydroxychloroquine’s antiviral properties. The use of this drug is dangerous and may be life-threatening if taken without the advice of doctors or experts.

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