19 March 2020
Washington: The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the United States (US) has approved an anti-malaria drug to be used as a treatment against COVID-19, informed President Donald Trump on Thursday.
Briefing media at the White House today, Trump said the US would be able to make the anti-malaria drug available "almost immediately" and that "it's been approved."
A drug called Chloroquine or Hydroxychloroquine a common malaria drug and also used for strong arthritis has shown very encouraging results, he added.
Trump said that the drug has been around for a long time and therefore it is safe. One can be sure if something goes wrong it will not kill anybody.
"The drugs are out now essentially approved for prescribed use and I think it could be very exciting, it could be a game changer and maybe not but based on what I see it could be a game changer. They are very powerful," he added.
However, several media reports claimed that the FDA has not approved chloroquine for use in treating coronavirus yet. According to Forbes, the FDA took a more measured approach to the possible use of the drug.
Stephan Hahn, head of the FDA, said, "We are looking at everything that's coming across our desks as possible treatment options for coronavirus."
A study published by Nature this week found that Hydroxychloroquine, a less toxic derivative of chloroquine, was effective in stopping a COVID-19 infection in vitro.
Trump, however, said the FDA has had "very encouraging early results" in tests on Covid-19.
The US has reported at least 7,701 coronavirus cases and 118 deaths so far.