US regulator gives anti-malaria drugs emergency approval to treat coronavirus
A limited emergency-use authorization for two antimalarial drugs touted as game-changers by President Donald Trump has been issued by the US Food and Drug Administration to treat coronavirus patients.
In a statement published Sunday, the US Department of Health and Human Services detailed recent donations of medicine to a national stockpile – including chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine, both being investigated as potential COVID-19 treatments.
It said the FDA had allowed them "to be distributed and prescribed by doctors to hospitalized teen and adult patients with COVID-19, as appropriate, when a clinical trial is not available or feasible."
Trump said last week that the two drugs could be a "gift from God," despite scientists warning against the dangers of overhyping unproven treatments.
HYDROXYCHLOROQUINE & AZITHROMYCIN, taken together, have a real chance to be one of the biggest game changers in the history of medicine. The FDA has moved mountains - Thank You! Hopefully they will BOTH (H works better with A, International Journal of Antimicrobial Agents).....— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 21, 2020
Many researchers including Anthony Fauci, the United States' leading infectious disease expert, have urged the public to remain cautious until larger clinical trials validate smaller studies.
Two US medical bodies – the National Institutes of Health and the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority – are currently working to plan such trials.
Some in the scientific community fear Trump's endorsement of the medicines could create shortages for patients who need them to treat lupus and rheumatoid arthritis, diseases for which they are approved.
The US has more than 140,000 novel coronavirus cases and 2,489 deaths, according to a tracker maintained by Johns Hopkins University.
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