Chloroquine, a 70-year old treatment for malaria, is being touted as a potential treatment for the deadly coronavirus these days. As per reports, a research professor in France has reported successful results from chloroquine for coronavirus, with early tests suggesting it can stop the virus from being contagious in just six days.
US President Donald Trump also asserted on Thusday that the Food and Drug Administration (US FDA) had just approved the decades-old malaria drug to treat patients infected by the coronavirus.
What exactly is chloroquine?
Chloroquine is used for indications such as lupus, malaria and arthritis. It appears to be able to block viruses from binding to human cells and getting inside them to replicate. It also stimulates the immune system.
Why Indian companies are in focus?
According to reports, Indian companies are in focus on account of chloroquine. IPCA Labs’ Active Pharmaceutical Ingredient (API) for chloroquine is approved by the US Food and Drug Administration.
Around 12 companies have USFDA approval to manufacture the drug in the US. Indian companies whose final drug formulation is approved by USFDA includes Cadila, IPCA, Lupin and Laurus Labs. A few companies that sell the drug in India are Cadila, IPCA and Torrent.
On chloroquine drug, Pankaj Patel of Zydus Cadila - I said, “We have been watching this very carefully and we have geared up ourselves to produce more quantity. We are very confident that if need be, we would be able to ramp up production further to make sure that supply would be available for the people who need that drug."
"Our manufacturing is dependent on only local raw materials, so we are not dependent on any imported inputs and as a result we should be able to supply these drugs in sufficient quantity," added.
On Thursday, India reported its fourth coronavirus death while the total COVID-19 cases rose to 195. In Jaipur, a combination of drugs was given for the first time to an elderly Italian couple currently undergoing treatment for COVID-19 at the SMS hospital.
Does chloroquine work against coronavirus?
Doctors in France have claimed that patients have successfully been treated with the drug chloroquine, according to a Telegraph report. Doctors in Australia and China have also seen promising results with the drug and hope to start a trial within the next few weeks, the report said.
However, the drug is still being studied if it can be used for mild to moderate COVID-19 and if it can reduce viral load shedding and duration of symptoms.
On Thursday, US President Donald Trump said chloroquine is still being considered for study by USFDA for use against COVID-19, as the number of cases nationwide continues to increase. No approved treatments or vaccines have, however, been yet found out for Covid-19.
USFDA is also studying drugs such as Remdesivir (antiviral drug), Sarilumab (arthritis) and plasma therapy.
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First Published: IST