The whole world is in a state of lockdown due to coronavirus. The deadly virus infected millions of people around the world and a hundred thousand have died. The worst impact of this virus is in the USA, UK, Italy, China, Iran, Spain, Germany, and France.
Governments around the world are in regular contact with their health authorities to find a way to tackle this deadly virus as soon as possible. Researchers are doing their efforts to develop a vaccine that can prevent and cure patients quickly. This will help to minimize the spread of coronavirus.
In March, the USA got the attention of the whole world when the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) authorized the use of chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine. However, for many, this was not a surprise. A week earlier, President Donal Trump tweeted:
HYDROXYCHLOROQUINE & AZITHROMYCIN, taken together, have a real chance to be one of the biggest game changers in the history of medicine. The FDA has moved mountains – Thank You! Hopefully they will BOTH (H works better with A, International Journal of Antimicrobial Agents)…..— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 21, 2020
His tweet proved to be the endorsement of the said drugs. The President further revealed on Monday, May,18 that he is taking this medicine from the last one and a half weeks. However, the FDA warned people against using these drugs outside of hospitals. It can have an impact on heart rhythms.
Studies are still underway to examine the real impact of chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine. World Health Organization (WHO) has also raised concerns about the use of these drugs and their potential side effects on humans. Even a former US top health official Dr. Rick Bright also raised concerns about the approval of these drugs by the FDA. Dr. Rick Bright who was leading the efforts of developing the vaccine was removed from his charge in April.
Chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine may be new for many people. Here is a brief overview of these drugs:
What is Chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine
Both these drugs are effective to treat malaria which is another deadly disease that takes thousands of lives every year. However, the difference between Malaria and Coronavirus is the source. Mosquitoes are the major source of spreading Malaria when they bite a person. Mosquitoes carry Plasmodium Parasites that they transfer into humans when they bite. However, the corona is a viral disease.
Why there is so hype about these drugs?
Well, many researchers and experts have already predicted the possible development of the vaccine in 2021. The vaccine will take time as it will go under intensive trials before it is tried on humans. However, according to a French study conducted by Didier Raoult, a microbiologist revealed in his paper that patients who took hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin recovered from coronavirus. Their study was the major source of enthusiasm for President Trump.
Another epidemiology expert professor Art Reingold has also raised concerns about these drugs. He stated that a virus is different from parasites. He raised concerns about the inability of these drugs when they will be tested actually on humans. The French study was based on limited subjects which also raises concerns.
Recent Studies about these drugs
There are many trials underway to examine the impact of these drugs on coronavirus patients. The researchers have categorized their studies in three ways:
- Patients treated without hydroxychloroquine
- Patients treated with hydroxychloroquine
- Treated with hydroxychloroquine and Azithromycin
According to the results, researchers revealed that they found no evidence of curing patients with with hydroxychloroquine alone or with azithromycin. They further added that the condition of patients treated with hydroxychloroquine alone was deteriorated. They found the death rate of 27.8% in these patients. Even the National Institute of Health has also stated that there isn’t enough evidence to recommend these drugs to patients with COVID-19 symptoms.
As there is no solid evidence that chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine are effective in treating coronavirus. Their hype may create problems. As already people are facing a shortage of these drugs in the market. These drugs are effective in Malaria and rheumatoid arthritis. Their hype may create problems for these patients as they can’t find drugs that can endanger their lives.