With the growing cases of Coronavirus around the world, many people are now at a cross-road as medical experts work towards finding a permanent cure for the pandemic. But in the absence of a definite cure, many conspiracies have been going around about drugs that could potentially cure the virus.
A lot of people were introduced to Chloroquine after the US president, Donald Trump said the US Food and Drug Administration, FDA has approved the drug for treating COVID-19. But the FDA countered him by saying that “there are no FDA-approved therapeutics or drugs to treat, cure or prevent COVID-19.” The agency only admitted that it was currently taking Chloroquine and a series of other drugs through clinical trials.
Nonetheless, many people began jumping on Chloroquine as an elixir for Coronavirus, such that the price of the drug has now skyrocketed. But experts are warning the public to desist from taking the antimalarial drug.
The head of clinical care for the World Health Organization Emergencies Program, Janet Diaz, had said at a press conference in February, that WHO was involved in clinical trials for some other drugs like lopinavir and ritonavir as well as remdesivir.
“For chloroquine, there is no proof that that is an effective treatment at this time,” Diaz said. “We recommend that therapeutics be tested under ethically approved clinical trials to show efficacy and safety.”
Trump’s recommendation which came some weeks after Diaz’s instruction was in contradiction to WHO’s directive.
Addressing the issue, the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, NCDC has warned Nigerians not to engage in self-medication with chloroquine as it can lead to death.
“WHO has NOT approved the use of chloroquine for #COVID19 management. Scientists are working hard to confirm the safety of several drugs for this disease. Please DO NOT engage in self-medication. This will cause harm and can lead to death,” it warned.
The Director-General of the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), Mojisola Adeyeye said NAFDAC is not approving Chloroquine for the treatment of COVID-19, even as the agency approves the production of the drug for clinical trials.
“NAFDAC is not approving Chloroquine as a product that can be used for Coronavirus. Therefore the medicine is being approved just for the clinical trials,” she said.
Adeyeye further advised Nigerians to avoid using Chloroquine, not even for treating malaria. The drug which is rarely prescribed to patients comes with adverse side effects that could cause death if taken in overdose.
“Nobody should use chloroquine as anti-malaria because of the resistance that has been proven to develop in the past after the use of chloroquine in the population.”
Meanwhile, scientists at the Kaiser Permanente Washington Research Institute in Seattle, US on Tuesday began administering the first stage of a potential COVID-19 vaccine to some volunteers. Other organizations in China and Germany are also close to finding a definite cure for the pandemic.