Hydroxychloroquine Highly Politicised In US, India Widely Uses: White House Official

Navarro said a day earlier four doctors at the Detroit Hospital System filed a request for emergency use authorization for hydroxychloroquine.

New Delhi: A senior White House official in the United States has said that the use of hydroxychloroquine to treat coronavirus patients has become highly politicized but it is used extensively in India.

The officials also asserted that the latest research showed the malaria drug is highly effective in early stages of COVID-19.

“It’s the politicization of this medicine by the mainstream media and portions of the medical community that somehow made this a battle between President Trump and them and created this undue fear and hysteria over a drug, a medicine that has been used for over 60 years relatively safely and is regularly prescribed to pregnant women if they are going to a malaria zone,” White House Office of Trade and Manufacturing Policy Director Peter Navarro told reporters.

“The idea that this is a dangerous drug is just silly, but if you ask the American people based on the media’s coverage of it, that is kind of the state of play right now,” he said.

Navarro said a day earlier four doctors at the Detroit Hospital System filed a request for emergency use authorization for hydroxychloroquine. The request was for three things.

“One, for early treatment use in a hospital setting. Number two, treatment between a doctor and his patient in an outpatient setting. Three, not just as a therapeutic but also as a possible prophylaxis for preventative use,” he said.

This request to the FDA comes on the heels of the publication of their study in the Journal of Infectious Diseases last week that showed an astonishing 50 percent reduction in the mortality rate for patients taking hydroxychloroquine, Navarro said.

The official said if he were to show any kind of symptoms, he would first ask his doctor whether hydroxychloroquine is appropriate.

Hydroxychloroquine, based on the science in articles like the one that originally appeared in 2005 in the Journal of Virology, works in a therapeutic way by raising the alkalinity of your cells which slows the replication of the virus and also can kill the virus, he said.

It also has an anti-inflammatory effect, which is why it is used for rheumatoid arthritis, and the drug can therefore also help manage what is called the cytokine storm, he said.

The latest request to the FDA also comes on the heels of two decisions by the FDA over the last several months to shut down hydroxychloroquine.

“The first was what is called a black box warning, the second was a withdrawal of an EUA and what I can tell you as someone who works with the Health and Human Services Department and FEMA to manage the stockpiles of hydroxychloroquine the FDA decisions that they made which I think were precipitous and based on bad science had a tremendously negative effect on two things,” he noted.

Hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) as a prophylactic has no use, concluded a study published in the Journal of The Association of Physicians of India (JAPI).

Researchers, in fact, found that the positivity rate was slightly more in people using HCQ as a prophylaxis, or preventive, than among those who were not using it.

The findings come at a time a trial to examine the preventive effects of HCQ on possible novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) cases is set to restart in the United Kingdom.

Other international studies have arrived at similar conclusions, while some in India concluded that the drug, normally used for the treatment of malaria and autoimmune disorders, can prevent the coronavirus infection.

India has recommended prophylactic use of HCQ among healthcare workers and all other frontline workers.

It has also recommended the drug’s use as a post-exposure prophylactic for family members of patients of Covid-19, particularly for immediate caregivers.

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