Coronavirus: What is Hydroxychloroquine? Why is it Trending?

Coronavirus: What is Hydroxychloroquine? Why is it Trending?

Doctors and scientists are now working to obtain an effective remedy for coronavirus, as an individual does not exist. But could existing drugs crack the code? The study, which could include many thousands of patients in dozens of countries, has been created to be as simple as possible so that even hospitals overwhelmed by an onslaught of COVID-19 patients can participate. So far, the countries participating in the trial include: Argentina, Bahrain, Canada, France, Iran, Norway, South Africa, Spain, Switzerland and Thailand.

But experts have had a mixed response on the use of the drugs as preventive measure.

Waiting for a successful vaccination to be developed could take several months. The World Health Organization's large global SOLIDARITY trial will look at these two drugs along with Kaletra (alone or in combination with interferon-beta) and Gilead Sciences' experimental antiviral remdesivir.

At a time when almost 70 drugs and experimental cocktails are being examined to treat the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), the World Health Organisation (WHO) has announced a global trial called "solidarity" to find out if any drug can actually treat infections with the new coronavirus. He said provincial drug administration should take stock of the situation and prevent its stockpiling and hoarding by the suppliers, while if the drug is being at higher prices, action should be initiated against sellers.

Finding a proper treatment might not only buy time while a vaccine is still in the pipeline, but it can also save lives and aid with faster recovery, making much-needed beds and equipment in overcrowded hospitals available, as the pandemic sweeps the globe.

Which are the drugs on trial?

If early evidence from human cells is looked at, there are bright chances that chloroquine, which is used to treat malaria and autoimmune diseases, may have some activity against the novel coronavirus.

Researchers from the University of Minnesota will evaluate hydroxychloroquine in around 1,500 people who have been exposed to the coronavirus within the past three days but do not yet have symptoms. The state is also racing to procure and manufacture enough personal protective equipment (PPE) for health care workers. In the past, this combination was clinically tested to see what it would do in a case of SARS. But the history of previous viral outbreaks like Ebola and Zika show little success in producing viable treatments.

However, demand has increased rapidly after President Trump suggested that it could potentially be used as a treatment for COVID-19.

"It interferes with the enzyme that reproduces the genetic material of the virus" and acts at an earlier step than protease inhibitors such as lopinavir and ritonavir, which are used now to treat HIV and also are being tested against the new coronavirus, Kuritzkes explained. One study published in Nature last week found that hydroxychloroquine and a drug called remdesivir were effective in stopping Covid-19 spread in vitro or test-tube experiments.

The drug, generally considered to be safe for most patients, can have side effects including seizures, nausea, vomiting, deafness, vision changes, and low blood pressure.

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