Reports that antimalarial drugs chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine could be used to prevent and cure the coronavirus (Covid-19) have received a caution from medical experts.
Malawi, as many other countries globally, continues to experience a surge in Covid-19 cases and deaths with the current statisc showing the country has registered 3 858 cases of coronavirus, 107 deaths and 1 760 recoveries.
Doctors are urging caution over claims that widely-available antimalarial drugs could be a “magic bullet” to prevent and cure Covid-19. And the medicines can – if used rashly – have serious side effects.
In quotes reported by The Nation, Malawi’s leading daily, medical experts have dismissed claims that chloroquine cures Covid-19.
Malawian cardiologist based in the United Kingdom (UK), Dr Martin Mwaiponya, dismissed the claim, arguing chloroquine studies in the UK and Brazil were discontinued because the drug lacked promise as a cure or prevention for Covid-19.
“Among patients hospitalised with mild-to-moderate Covid-19, the use of hydroxy-chloroquine alone or with azithromycin, did not improve clinical status in 15 days as compared with standard care,” he said.
Dr Adamson Muula, professor of public health and epidemiology at the University of Malawi’s College of Medicine, also dismissed claims that chloroquine cures coronavirus.
He said: “Currently, there is no evidence that hydroxy-chloroquine will achieve what the doctor says is capable of achieving. That evidence does not exist. So, it will be grossly inappropriate for a health worker to be promoting unproven medicines.
“The situation may change, though, as more evidence is gathered. So we will keep our eyes and ears open.”
Dr Amir Khan, a medical doctor and lecturer at University of Leeds School of Medicine and University of Bradford in the UK also warned against the use of hydroxy-chloroquine, claiming it has fatal side effects.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) has said “there is currently no proof” that hydroxychloroquine is a treatment or a preventative measure against Covid-19.
The WHO said: “The misuse of hydroxy-chloroquine can cause serious side effects and illness and even lead to death.”Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :