What is Hydroxychloroquine medicine and how it could be a game changer

  • Confirmed cases of COVID-19 infection cross 12 lakhs around the globe with the number of deaths reported nearing 70,000.

  • The malignant virus invades more than 200 countries and the demand for drugs and medical equipment surge fast.

  • The anti-malarial drug Hydroxychloroquine is seen as a game changer in treating COVID-19 infection. Here are the basics of this life-saving drug you must know.
In a recent conversation with the Prime Minister of India, Donald Trump, the American President requested India to supply them huge quantities of Hydroxychloroquine. Addressing the press, Trump also warned of retaliation measures if India declined the request as it did to other countries in the face of perceiving a demand for the drug with the cases mounting up in the country too.

What is Hydroxychloroquine medicine

Hydroxychloroquine can be described as a racemic mixture comprising of R and S enantiomer. We can compare Hydroxychloroquine with chloroquine, an aminoquinoline. This is a commonly prescribed medicine in treating uncomplicated malaria, rheumatoid arthritis, systemic lupus erythematosus, and chronic discoid lupus erythematosus. Hydroxychloroquine is also used to address the prophylaxis of malaria in places where chloroquine resistance is unlikely. Developed during World War II as a derivative of quinacrine, this drug is said to have much lesser side effects. The FDA approved this drug on 18 April 1955.

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In the face of COVID-19 pandemic, the FDA has sanctioned an emergency authorization for hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine. This authorization gives room for the unapproved use of these drugs in treating the COVID-19 cases in the light of the critical public emergency seen around. The effectiveness of hydroxychloroquine in remedying the COVID-19 infection is yet to be proved though this drug is administered in the treatment in a large scale as on date.

The American experiment

Towards the end of March 2020, the US Food and Drug Administration provisionally approved the use of hydroxychloroquine in treating COVID-19 patients. Since then, the medical community in New York has been administering this drug to the novel coronavirus infected patients in combination with some other drugs. This experiment with hydroxychloroquine happening in the epicenter of the US has given a hint to Trump, the American President that this anti-malarial drug could be a game changer in treating COVID-19 infection. He said that this drug was giving successful results and if the trend continued, it would be a gift from heaven. The country had then quickly stocked up about 29 million doses of hydroxychloroquine besides asking India to supply the drug to them.

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India’s policy on hydroxychloroquine supplies to the world

Last month, India had imposed a ban on the export of hydroxychloroquine. However, India is most likely to life the ban and clear the pending international orders for the drug after meeting the local requirements. It is also said that after perceiving the humanitarian situation of the COVID-19 scenario, the Department of Pharmaceuticals and Ministry of External Affairs will decide whether to fulfill the pending international orders for hydroxychloroquine.

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India lifts partial ban on hydroxychloroquine medicine
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