US FDA looking at malaria drug chloroquine as part of coronavirus efforts
Doaa A.Moneim, , Friday 20 Mar 2020

The US Food and Drug Administration is looking into chloroquine, a drug used to treat malaria and other diseases, as a possible treatment for the symptoms of the new coronavirus, it said in a statement.

“The FDA has been working closely with other government agencies and academic centers that are investigating the use of the drug chloroquine, which is already approved for treating malaria, lupus and rheumatoid arthritis, to determine whether it can be used to treat patients with mild-to-moderate COVID-19 to potentially reduce the duration of symptoms, as well as viral shedding, which can help prevent the spread of disease,” reads the statement.

It said that studies are underway to determine the efficacy in using chloroquine to treat the new coronavirus.

US President Donald Trump has directed the FDA to continue its work with the public and private sector to ensure the availability of potentially safe and effective life-saving drugs to patients who are in desperate need, including those infected with COVID-19, according to the statement.

The FDA said that it will engage with domestic manufacturers to ramp up production of this product to mitigate any potential supply chain pressures.

“If clinical data suggests this product may be promising in treating COVID-19, we know there will be increased demand for it. We will take all steps to ensure chloroquine remains available for patients who take it to treat severe and life-threatening illnesses such as lupus,” the state body said.

It added that while there are no FDA-approved therapeutics or drugs to treat, cure or prevent the new coronavirus, there are several FDA-approved treatments that may help ease the symptoms from a supportive care perspective.