United States approves use of malaria drugs to treat COVID-19

Grant Boone
March 31, 2020

The Food and Drug Administration has approved five rapid test kits and a more accurate 5-minute test from a USA manufacturer which detect COVID-19 infections, Director General Eric Domingo announced Monday.

Doctors in France will now be able to treat COVID-19 patients after Didier Raoult, a renowned physician who specializes in infectious diseases, announced a new clinical trial's results.

Swiss newspaper SonntagsZeitung reported on Sunday that Novartis Chief Executive Vas Narasimhan said his Sandoz generics unit's malaria, lupus and arthritis drug hydroxychloroquine is the company's biggest hope against the coronavirus.

Pharmaceutical company Sandoz has donated 30 million doses of Hydroxychloroquine to the USA government, president Donald Trump told reporters. Now, a new study will test whether the drug can prevent COVID-19 transmission. The doses of chloroquine phosphate, which can also be used to treat malaria and certain liver infections, was donated by Bayer Pharmaceuticals, a German company.

A day earlier, Trump said that malaria medicine Hydroxychloroquine is being administered to 1,100 coronavirus patients in NY, exuding confidence that the drug, touted as a "game-changer" by him, might give some incredible results in the fight against the disease that has infected over 163,000 people in the country. For some COVID-19 patients, it can take up to 28 days to recover, if at all they did.

More stay-at-home activities are coming to Pokémon Go for all players
The developer has promised that there will be a new way for players to enjoy such events but didn't go into the details about it. Niantic's original mission was to create a game that would incentivise players to go out, exercise and socialise.

"It was not done in a controlled clinical trial".

On Monday, Hanoi Chairman Nguyen Duc Chung ordered the city's Health Department to set up 10 teams and arrange 10 quick Covid-19 test stations around the Bach Mai Hospital to carry out mass testing in the context of the hospital becoming the country's main Covid-19 hotspot with 25 infections. "If it doesn't, then people should avoid unnecessary risks from taking the drug".

The USD 9.5 million trial looking at post-exposure preventive therapy for COVID-19 is part of a USD 125 million initiative launched by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Wellcome Trust, and Mastercard to speed development and access to therapies against COVID-19.

Currently, the health ministry allows 21 medical facilities around the country to carry out Covid-19 tests, in addition to the three approved by the World Health Organization.

The FDA earlier warned against using rapid test kits as these could give a "false negative" result.

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