Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 4 April 2020

Coronavirus: US man dies after self-medicating with chloroquine

President Donald Trump touted a similar anti-malaria medicine as a cure for Covid-19, but experts say there is insufficient evidence to support its use

Chloroquine, left, and hydroxycloroquine have been touted as cures for Covid-19 by US President Donald Trump, despite a lack of evidence supporting his claim. AFP
Chloroquine, left, and hydroxycloroquine have been touted as cures for Covid-19 by US President Donald Trump, despite a lack of evidence supporting his claim. AFP

A man in the US died after ingesting chloroquine phosphate, a fish tank cleaning product that contains the same additives as an antimalarial medicine touted by US President Donald Trump as a treatment for coronavirus.

Chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine, which is commonly used to treat malaria, rheumatoid arthritis and lupus, have not been approved by the US Food and Drug Administration for Covid-19 patients.

Mr Trump said the drugs were potential game changers in the fight against the virus.

The man was in his sixties and from Phoenix, Arizona. His wife, also in her sixties, is in a critical condition after also taking the chemical, said Banner Health, the healthcare system that treated the couple.

The wife told NBC news that they saw Mr Trump “on every channel”, and that he said that “that this was safe”.

“Trump kept saying it was basically pretty much a cure,” she said.

Another American Rio Giardinieri, 52, told US media he was cured of Covid-19 after being given hydroxychloroquine.

He said doctors had told him he was so ill he had no options left for treatment, but he asked for it to be used and soon recovered.

Sales of both drugs have increased in the US as hospitals rush to make sure they have plentiful supplies if trials prove the medicine to be a safe and effective treatment for treatment.

Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases in the US, has downplayed the existence of a cure.

He said many drugs were being tested to see whether they might lessen the severity of the disease and that the best medical tool doctors can hope for is a vaccine, believed to be a year to 18 months away from completion.

On Monday, Jordan announced it was beginning a clinical trial of hydroxychloroquine in patients with coronavirus, with clinical trials also being conducted in the US, Europe and China.

But health officials in Nigeria have issued a warning about chloroquine after three people in the country overdosed on the drug.

Updated: March 24, 2020 06:53 PM

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