Several hospitals in the United States continue to use malaria drug hydroxychloroquine in the treatment of COVID-19 positive patients, a media report said.
Medical publication, MDedge on Friday reported that hydroxychloroquine (HCQ), the malaria drug, is currently the first-line therapy and Tocilizumab the second-line medication for people hospitalized with polymerase chain reaction-confirmed COVID-19 infection in the Yale New Haven Health System, which operates hospitals across Connecticut.
Hydroxychloroquine is first-line at Yale because in-vitro data shows potent inhibition of the virus and possible clinical benefit, which is about as good as evidence gets at the moment, Indian American cardiologist Nihar Desai told the medical publication. "It's cheap, it's been used for decades, and people are relatively comfortable with it," he added.
"We are trying to do the best we can. One hopes we never have to go through anything like this (coronavirus pandemic) again," Desai told MDedge. His home institution, Yale New Haven Hospital, is almost half full with COVID-19 patients, at more than 400, the report said.
On Friday, US Food and Drug Administration gave emergency use authorization (EUA) for the use of investigational anti-viral Remdesivir for the treatment of COVID 19 patients. HCQ was the first drug to receive EAU from FDA for the treatment of COVID-19 patients.
US President Donald Trump has been an advocate of use of HCQ, which has reportedly cured patients in New York and several other place. Reports indicate that the malaria drug has been effective during the initial phases of a person being infected by coronavirus but poses a danger to those having heart ailments. At the request of Trump, India had exported 50 million tablets of hydroxychloroquine to the United States.