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What are Hydroxychloroquine, Chloroquine and how much do these potential coronavirus drugs cost?
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The science behind chloroquine
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Purchase access Subscribe now. But when taken in incorrect doses, it has dangerous side effects, including death. Even when taken correctly, it can cause stomach distress and vision damage. Hydroxychloroquine is considered a generally safer alternative, though in rare cases it can damage the heart. Doctors in Nigeria have reported cases of poisonings with chloroquine, which is widely available without prescription in many countries. But officials at the U. But it said it was working with researchers to determine whether chloroquine can be used "to treat patients with mild-to-moderate COVID to potentially reduce the duration of symptoms, as well as viral shedding, which can help prevent the spread of disease.
Small-scale studies in China and France have shown some positive effects of chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine in reducing both the duration and symptoms of COVID in combination with an antibiotic called azithromycin. Researchers and clinicians in the U. But Juurlink stresses that the evidence so far is anecdotal, rather than the scientifically rigorous, randomized and controlled clinical studies that are normally used over several years in the development and approval of drugs.
Juurlink said a vaccine is a year or 18 months away but that data gathered worldwide could point to safe and effective treatments within a month or two.
What is hydroxychloroquine?
We will look back a year from now and marvel at how much was done in such a short time, but we are just at the beginning of it all. The key right now is preventing and slowing the spread of the virus to give researchers and clinicians the time to develop treatments to minimize symptoms and get people out of hospital faster. Drug-maker Novartis has vowed to donate up to million doses of hydroxychloroquine to support the global pandemic response.
Teva Pharmaceutical Industries said it plans to donate more than 10 million tablets of hydroxychloroquine to hospitals in the U.
Could an old malaria drug help fight the new coronavirus?
Bayer also said it would donate three million tablets of its chloroquine phosphate drug, sold under the name Resochin. Concerned about a run on the drugs amid shortages reported in the U. For those living with lupus, a chronic autoimmune disease, hydroxychloroquine is proven to reduce mortality by 50 per cent, prevent disease flares and cardiovascular complications, and reduce the need for hospitalization, according to a press release from Lupus Canada.
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