Coronavirus: Dr. Tam cautions against untested drugs after Trump’s chloroquine comments

Clay Curtis
March 24, 2020

In its press release, Banner Health advised against "the use of inappropriate medications and household products to prevent or treat COVID-19".

On Sunday, the man and his wife, both in their 60s, took chloroquine phosphate, an additive commonly used to clean fish tanks, and within 30 minutes experienced effects that required admittance to a nearby Banner Health facility. His wife is in critical care.

Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Commissioner Dr. Stephen Hahn told "Tucker Carlson Tonight" Monday that preliminary data shows that the anti-malarial drugs touted by President Trump can help in treating coronavirus patients, but stopped short of a formal recommendation.

After six days, no patients given hydroxychloroquine plus azithromycin had virus detected in swabs from the back of the nose, versus 57% of those given the malaria drug alone and 12.5% of some other patients who received neither drug. "That being said, we need more safety and more efficacy data, particularly the effective side of this drug, to make a final determination about the effectiveness". Chloroquine has been used to treat malaria in parts of Africa where the disease is endemic.

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India so far has 341 confirmed cases of the coronavirus, as per the Health Ministry, while four people have died due to the highly contagious virus.

The drugs can cause heart rhythm problems, severely low blood pressure and muscle or nerve damage.

Officials warned people not to take the drugs to treat coronavirus symptoms unless it has been specifically prescribed by their doctor.

"Chloroquine is an extremely toxic drug with a bad side effect profile".

According to a report by the Associated Press, Hydroxychloroquine curbed coronavirus' ability to enter cells in lab tests, which was reported by researchers last week in the journal Nature Medicine. But no drug has been approved to treat COVID-19, and a vaccine is estimated to remain at least a year away.

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