Malaria drug offers potential treatment for COVID-19

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Chloroquine, a drug used to treat malaria, a disease carried by mosquitos, is a potential treatment for coronavirus patients.

Amid the first human trials for a COVID-19 vaccine, President Donald Trump announced in a press briefing on Thursday that chloroquine, a treatment drug for malaria, was approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as a treatment for COVID-19 and would soon be available to the public as a prescription.

“We’re going to be able to make that drug available almost immediately,” Trump said.

However, Trump’s words were not entirely accurate.

While the FDA did approve of chloroquine for use in clinical trials, there was no mention of the drug being close to ready for public use.

“What’s also important is not to provide false hope. We may have the right drug, but it might not be in the appropriate dosage form right now, and it might do more harm than good,” said Dr. Stephen Hahn, an FDA commissioner.

With no guarantees at being a successful combatant of COVID-19, chloroquine also brings many potential side effects.

The most common side effects of improper usage of this drug range from headaches to gastrointestinal issues to even hair loss. Yet, some of the more severe side effects can include seizures and even death.

Trump, however, believes that since this drug has been available as a ready treatment for malaria for many decades, nothing will go awry.

“The nice part is [chloroquine] has been around for a long time, so we know that if things don’t go as planned, it’s not going to kill anybody,” Trump said.

The logic that Trump has used to form his conclusion is based on the past successes and longevity of chloroquine treating malaria. But what Trump didn’t seem to take into consideration was the fact that malaria is caused by a parasite, whereas COVID-19 is a virus.

Still, with the crisis of the coronavirus shaking the nation, both the FDA and the government are working to develop an effective vaccine for COVID-19 quickly.