Coronavirus: UAE gets 5.5 million hydroxychloroquine pills from India

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The United Arab Emirates’ embassy in New Delhi said on Saturday it succeeded in obtaining the approval of the Indian government to export adequate quantities of hydroxychloroquine to the UAE to be used in treating coronavirus patients.

“The first shipment of medicine, currently on its way to the UAE, includes 5.5 million pills for treatment of patients with COVID-19. We highly appreciate the cooperation of the Indian government in facilitating the procedures for obtaining the necessary approvals.”

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The UAE confirmed a total of 6,302 coronavirus cases and 37 deaths as of Friday, according to the Ministry of Health.

The UAE had said on Sunday it has been using chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine to successfully treat COVID-19 patients amid the coronavirus outbreak.

Initial studies have shown success in using the anti-malarial and anti-inflammatory drugs in treating the illness caused by the new coronavirus, UAE Ministry of Health Spokeswoman Dr. Farida al-Hosani had said last week.

Also, Dubai's health authority (DHA) said on Sunday it will start this week treating critical coronavirus patients using plasma from recovered patients, after the clinical efficacy of the treatment has been proven.

The Director of Dubai Health Care Corporation at the Dubai Health Authority, Dr. Younis Kazim, said the authority has introduced a protocol for this type of treatment in its hospitals and private health sector hospitals in Dubai, as part of the measures to contain the spread of the coronavirus and accelerate the treatment of patients.

Dr. Kazim added that the DHA outlined rules and guidelines to specify who can make based plasma donations and who is eligible to receive this treatment.

Plasma is the liquid part of the blood which carries cells and proteins through the body, when taken from a convalescent – someone who has recovered from an illness – it contains antibodies that can fight said illness.

“Doctors believe the plasma of patients who have completely recovered from COVID-19 is rich in antibodies that can fight off the virus. When such plasma is injected into another person with the disease, it will recognize the virus as something to attack,” Dr. Kazim added.

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