Covid-19: Trump calls Modi, asks to release US order of hydroxychloroquine

The Food and Drug Administration has approved the use of hydroxychloroquine on a limited basis to treat coronavirus.

US President Donald Trump has said that he has requested Prime Minister Narendra Modi to release the amount of Hydroxychloroquine ordered by the United States, a medicine in short supply that could help with facing the Covid-19 pandemic.

Trump said he called Modi on Saturday morning and told him: "I'd appreciate if they would release the amounts that we ordered and they are giving it serious consideration."

He held out hope of the ban being released because "they make large amounts of hydroxychloroquine, very large amounts, frankly."  

About India's ban on its export, Trump said, "They hold (the medicine) because they have 1.5 billion people."

On March 25, India banned the export of hydroxychloroquine, which is used primarily to treat malaria and lupus.

India's Directorate General of Foreign Trade on March 25 banned the export of Hydroxychloroquine but said that certain shipments on humanitarian grounds may be allowed on a case-by-case basis. 

Trump, who has been promoting the use of hydroxychloroquine as a preventive and a therapeutic drug for Covid-19, said that he might try it himself.

"I may take it, and I may have to ask my doctors about that," he said.

There has been a run on the medicine in the US because of the reports of its efficacy against coronavirus.

Responding to the shortages, New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal, anAIndian American, has ordered its sale restricted to only those with a diagnosis and a patient record.

"Stockpiling and hoarding drugs, and inappropriate prescribing for friends and family, is unacceptable." he said.

When Trump spoke at the daily briefing of the White House Coronavirus Task Force in Washington, the number of those in the US affected by the virus had reached 311,357, an increase of 34,196 since Friday, according to Worldometers.com. The total number of deaths from the virus was 8,452.

Trump's recommendation for the use hydroxychloroquine has faced opposition from the media, some of which have labelled it "dangerous." 

 

Trump pointed out that it has been used widely to treat malaria and lupus but also said that the therapy should not be used by those with heart problems.

The Food and Drug Administration has approved the use of hydroxychloroquine on a limited basis to treat coronavirus. 

Following a quick provisional approval from the US Federal Drug Administration last Saturday, the malaria drug along with a combination of some other drug is being used in the treatment of about 1,500 COVID-19 patients in New York.

According to Trump, the drug is yielding positive results. If successful, he told reporters that it would be a gift from heaven.

Despite the political opposition, a Democratic Party leader, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, was the first to ask for it and has started a pilot programme to test hydroxychloroquine with about 1,000 people.

The state is the epicentre of the pandemic in the US with 114,775 cases, anAincrease of 11,299 since Friday, and a total toll of 3,565 deaths, according to Worldometer. 

 

Now Trump wants to widen its use to others who want to try it, even as a preventive while a vaccine is being developed against Covid-19, a process that can take more than a year.

He said that according to a study people who had lupus andA were taking the medicine haven't been catching the virus.

"May be it's true, may be it's not, by don't you investigate that," he challenged the skeptic reporters.

Trump said, "There are also other studies with the malaria, that the malaria (high incidence) countries have very little (cases because of) people that take this drug for malaria, which is very effective for malaria that those countries have very little of this virus."

The chief scientist on the Coronavirus Task Force, Anthony Fauci, has taken a hands off approach pointing out that there have been no clinical trial results as yet to prove its efficacy on a scientific basis while saying that doctors could prescribe it in consultation with their patients. 

A randomised study of 62 patients who received either a placebo or hydroxychloroquine at the Renmin Hospital of Wuhan University showed that those getting the medication recovered faster.

A study in France found that a combination of hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin had reduced theAvirus in Covid-19 patients.

Scientists across the world in particular in the US are racing against time to find either a vaccine or a therapeutic cure to the virus that has so far killed more than 64,000 people and infected 1.2 million in more than 150 countries.



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