The US has approved the anti-malarial drug chloroquine for use as a treatment against the new coronavirus, President Donald Trump said Thursday.
“We’re going to be able to make that drug available almost immediately, and that’s where the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) has been so great,” Trump told reporters.
“They’ve gone through the approval process — it’s been approved. They took it down from many, many months to immediate. So we’re going to be able to make that drug available by prescription.”
The President of the United States said the existing drug, which was previously approved for other uses, had shown ‘tremendous promise’ in treating Covid-19, which has infected more than 10,000 Americans and killed at least 176.
He said apart from chloroquine, another drug called Remdesiver had also shown promise in treating the symptoms coronavirus, giving hope that the worst symptoms of Covid-19 could be treated while scientists race to develop a vaccine to prevent the virus.
Remdesivir was designed as a general anti-viral drug around a decade ago and was intended as a possible treatment for Ebola. While unapproved, it is now being fast-tracked to some Covid-19 patients to see if it could help ease symptoms of the disease, which include pneumonia so severe it can cause extreme difficulty with breathing.
Offering an update on the pandemic in the White House on Thursday, Trump said: ‘We think we have some good answers and we’ll find out soon.
“(We are) working on scaling clinical therapies to access drugs that have shown some really good promise.
“We’ve had some really good promise. That’s for immediate delivery. The Food and Drug Administration has also approved compassionate use for drugs approved for other users.”
Trump explained that the FDA had also agreed to bend its usual rules to allow unapproved treatments that had shown promise abroad to be fast-tracked for US patients.