COVID-19: India provides four tonnes of essential life-saving drugs to Seychelles

COVID-19: India provides four tonnes of essential life-saving drugs to Seychelles

Chloroquine and its cousin hydroxychloroquine may end up being a highly effective treatment for COVID-19, but patients who try out the suddenly popular anti-malaria drug have plenty to lose, despite what President Trump says.

More studies of hydroxychloroquine are under way after the medicine made headlines in recent weeks and was endorsed by Mr Trump. It turns out that COVID-19 patients who were part of studies in Brazil and France died after using hydroxychloroquine in trials or experienced serious cardiac side effects.

Now the National Health Service (NHS) does appear to be conceding that hydroxychloroquine may have some merit, with St Bartholomew's Hospital, known colloquially as "Barts", and the Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital trialling its use in some patients. The high-dose group was assigned a total dose of 12 grams of chloroquine over 10 days, while the low-dose group took a full dose of 2.7 grams over five days.

Hydroxychloroquine has been a contentious subject as the world searches for a way to mitigate the COVID-19 pandemic.

In a preliminary study in Brazil it has been discovered that a high dose of chloroquine diphosophate is associated with a severe type of arrhythmia, or irregular heartbeat. President Trump asked repeatedly a few days ago when he addressed questions about the use of hydroxychloroquine as a treatment for the new coronavirus, saying that in some cases "they are in bad shape".

"I am not sure if that much can be given", one of the sources said.

The results from the Brazil study were posted on a research website and have not yet been reviewed by other scientists.

Despite its limitations, infectious disease doctors and drug safety experts said the study provided further evidence that chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine can pose significant harm to some patients, specifically the risk of a fatal heart arrhythmia. Eligible participants were allocated to receive orally or via nasogastric tube high dose CQ (600 mg CQ twice daily for 10 days) or low dose CQ (450 mg for 5 days).

"The evidence base is limited for all such drugs and we are actively recruiting patients to major clinical trials that have been prioritised by the Department of Health and Social Care".

It should be recalled that on Saturday, the Ministry of Health discharged 3 COVID-19 patients from Entebbe Grade B hospital who had successfully been treated and since tested negative for the disease.

In one small French study, some COVID-19 patients showed improvements but there was no way to know if the drug was the reason. Patients in the trial were also given the antibiotic azithromycin, which carries the same heart risk. This warranted the immediate interruption of the high-dose arm of the trial, and the remaining patients unmasked and reverted to the low-dose arm.

Tedros said that over 45 countries are contributing to the trial and more have expressed interest and defended the delay in confirming the drug stating that the history of medicine is strewn with examples of drugs that worked on paper, or in a test tube, but didn't work in humans.

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