No Medicine for Coronavirus. But Chloroquine Gives Some Hope

A health worker sanitizes her hands before putting on a mask. Photo: WHO
A health worker sanitizes her hands before putting on a mask. Photo: WHO

Although the world’s top pharmaceutical companies are working to develop a medicine for the coronavirus (a.k.a. COVID-19), at present there is no such vaccine or medication that can cure this disease.

Yet, there is a hope. Scientists believe that Hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) or chloroquine, usually sold under the brand name Plaquenil among others, can be helpful until the actual drug is developed for COVID-19.

Chloroquine is specifically used for the prevention and treatment of certain types of malaria. Now, it is also being used as an experimental treatment for coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19).

While chloroquine may have certain side effects such as vomiting, headache, changes in vision, and muscle weakness, initial tests show that on a dose of 600mg, 90% of infected COVID-19 patients tested negative in just 6 days.

As President Donald Trump has also shown his confidence in chloroquine to treat coronavirus, companies such as Bayer, Novartis, Mylan, and Teva have planned to deliver tens of millions of tablets.

Although the poor countries such as India, Pakistan, Bangladesh are showing lesser number of cases, their data is not authentic because there are hardly any test facilities in these countries to know the actual number of coronavirus cases.

Meanwhile, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), as on March 21, China has the maximum number (81,416) of coronavirus cases, followed by Italy (47,021), Spain (19,980), Iran (19,644), Germany (18,323), U.S. (15,219), and France (12,475).

Although the poor countries such as India (258), Pakistan (495), Bangladesh (24) are showing lesser number of cases, their data is not authentic because there are hardly any test facilities in these countries to know the actual number of coronavirus cases.

In fact, each of these countries has thousands – if not hundreds of thousands – coronavirus patients who are not being counted and who are not being given any treatment.

So far, according to WHO, 267,013 confirmed coronavirus cases and 11,201 deaths have been recorded in 184 countries of the world.

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Rakesh Raman