Despite FDA warnings, President Donald Trump said that he is taking anti-malarial drug hydroxychloroquine to fight against COVID-19. The Food and Drug Administration has warned several times and has cautioned against the use of hydroxychloroquine. “Hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine have not been shown to be safe and effective for treating or preventing COVID-19,” the FDA warned. These antimalarial drugs may cause risk of heart rhythm problems and many other side effects.
Trump said that he has been taking the drug for about a week and a half. He also avoided many other steps recommended by public health experts such as wearing masks. His Vice President Mike Pence’s press secretary, Katie Miller has tested positive for coronavirus on May 8. On Monday, Trump received a test and has shown a negative result. The President shows this as evidence that hydroxychloroquine is effective against coronavirus. The White House physician, Dr. Sean Conley, said in a statement released through the White House press office that, “after numerous discussions with Trump about the evidence for and against using hydroxychloroquine, we concluded the potential benefit from treatment outweighed the relative risks.
“ Trump also claimed that essential workers, including doctors and nurses, were taking the drug to prevent the virus infection. Recently, the White House has tightened the safety precautions after two aides tested positive for the COVID-19 and three members of the coronavirus task force entered quarantine over concerns they attended meetings with one of the staff members diagnosed with the virus. The United States is the world’s most serious hotspot of COVID-19, surpassing 1.5million confirmed cases and 90,000deaths.
Can hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine be used to treat against COVID-19?
Hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine are two drugs that are currently under study as possible treatments against coronavirus. Hydroxychloroquine, also known as Plaquenil is an anti-malarial drug and is useful in treating several forms of malaria, lupus erythematosus, and rheumatoid arthritis. But its mechanism is still unknown and there is not enough data at this time to prove that hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine work against COVID-19. The FDA has issued a warning for serious heart-related side effects if these drugs are taken. Now, the world is facing a huge shortage of these drugs, which means that people are normally taking them to manage their health. Recently, various studies have shown that both hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine have antiviral properties against SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. These medications worked by interfering with the chemical environment of human cell membranes.
This blocked the virus from entering and multiplying inside the cells. A medication working in vitro does not always mean that it will work once inside a human body. Based on these findings, hospitals worldwide have begun using hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine for patients with COVID-19. On March 28, 2020, the FDA issued an Emergency Use Authorization that allows providers to request a supply of hydroxychloroquine or chloroquine for hospitalized patients with COVID-19 who are unable to join a clinical trial. Serious side effects that may cause due to the intake of hydroxychloroquine are:
- Blurred vision
- Heart diseases
- Hearing loss
- Swelling of your skin
- Sore throat
- Muscle weakness
- Hair loss
- Mental health effects
Dr. Rick Bright, the former director of a federal agency in charge of vaccines was removed from his post after resisting Trump’s administration that makes these harmful drugs widely available. The FDA has warned consumers from buying the drug from pharmacies without a doctor’s prescription.