France has now officially sanctioned the malaria drug chloroquine as a potential coronavirus treatment for patients infected with the novel coronavirus. In the U.S. President Donald Trump has also been touting the use of chloroquine and a couple of other anti-malarial drugs to fight the deadly virus.

"This ensures continued treatment of patients who have been treated for several years for a chronic condition with this drug but also allows a temporary authorization to allow certain patients with coronavirus to benefit from this therapeutic route," France 24 English quoted Jérôme Salomon, France's director-general of health.

Also, the U.S.FDA has acted fast to make the unproven treatment available to thousands of COVID-19 patients in New York, despite the fact the following facts:

  • the drug has not been thoroughly tested
  • the initial results are just anecdotal
  • Critics warn of potentially life-threatening side effects

Such hype about chloroquine being effective in treating COVID-19 patients is also causing a run on supplies for patients with Malaria and Lupus for whom the drug is really meant for.

Doctors in France will now be able to treat COVID-19 patients after Didier Raoult, a renowned physician who specializes in infectious diseases, announced a new clinical trial’s results. According to that, 78 out of 80 coronavirus patients recovered within 5 days after being treated with chloroquine- which is considerably quicker than the usual 14 days. For some COVID-19 patients, it can take up to 28 days to recover, if at all they did.

“Hydroxychloroquine and the combination of lopinavir/ritonavir may be prescribed, dispensed and administered under the responsibility of a doctor to patients affected by COVID-19, in the healthcare establishments which take charge of them, as well as for the continuation of their treatment if their condition allows it and with the authorization of the initial prescriber, at home,” Trustnodes quoted Oliver Veral, the Minister of Health.

In the U.K., the government has prohibited the use of chloroquine outside of the trial but that position is now probably untenable since they have to explain why they aren’t providing treatment as France.

It is hoped that, once general COVID-19 treatment is given, especially at its early stages, the situation can be contained in nations like China or South Korea, Trustnodes mentioned.