The deadly coronavirus pandemic has killed more than 14,000 people and infected over 3 lakh across the world but people are still in want of its cure. So far, no country has found success in developing a vaccine for the COVID-19 novel coronavirus and there is an urgent need to find a treatment. The WHO has said that a vaccine for coronavirus could take one or two years as it requires extensive tests and trials before bringing it into the market. However, several countries are using alternative medicines for COVID-19 treatment.
While China is using a combination of anti-HIV drugs, the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has recommended the use of hydroxychloroquine, a Malaria medicine, for the treatment of COVID-19 infection in high-risk cases.
According to news agency ANI, the ICMR-led National Task Force for the COVID-19 pandemic has said that hydroxychloroquine can be used for the treatment of coronavirus infection in high-risk cases. Hydroxychloroquine, a medication used for the prevention and treatment of certain types of malaria, was also suggested by US President Donald Trump
However, the US President met with criticism for suggesting a medication that has not been approved by medical experts, who believe the drug needs to be studied more before being promoted as an effective treatment for coronavirus infection. Trump has made it clear that hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine should be deployed quickly against the coronavirus even as the US Food and Drug Administration is hesitant.
Medical experts are skeptic about the use of hydroxychloroquine for COVID-19 treatment
The experts say that they need more data to decide whether the medicine can be used for coronavirus treatment as it has several side-effects, which include heart and nerve damage and suicidal thoughts. However, those in support of its use argue that the drug is prescribed for not just malaria but also rheumatoid arthritis and lupus. And given the current situation, its side effects are manageable.
So this has also raised concerns about its use in India and the big question that arises is that will the Indian government allow the use of a drug that has not been approved by the US Food and Drug Administration?
According to a recent French study, hydroxychloroquine may or may not be beneficial for fighting a coronavirus infection. But given the current circumstances, not just the US and India, but several other countries are also considering the use of hydroxychloroquine for the treatment of COVID-19 infection. Some reports also even claimed that China, where the coronavirus outbreak originated, has also started testing the drug.