Bahrain among first countries to use Hydroxychloroquine to treat coronavirus

Researchers at the Microbiology Research Facility work with coronavirus samples as a trial begins to see whether malaria treatment hydroxychloroquine can prevent or reduce the severity of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, Minnesota, US, March 19, 2020. (Reuters)

Bahrain was one of the first countries in the world to administer Hydroxychloroquine to treat active coronavirus cases, the Chairman of the Supreme Council of Health, Head of the National Taskforce for Combating the coronavirus, Sheikh Mohamed bin Abdullah Al Khalifa said.

Hydroxychloroquine “is reported to have had a profound impact when used to treat the symptoms exhibited by active COVID-19 cases,” state news agency BNA reported.

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The Kingdom first used the drug on 26 February, following the registration of its first case on 24 February.

There are 225 active coronavirus cases, four deaths, and 190 discharged in Bahrain as of Wednesday, according to the ministry of health.

Hydroxychloroquine

Hydroxychloroquine is both an anti-malarial and an anti-inflammatory used to treat auto-immune disorders such as lupus and rheumatoid arthritis, but it has been tried with some success against the illness caused by the new coronavirus.

It’s being embraced because there are no approved vaccines or treatments against the highly contagious respiratory illness, so even the most ill patients largely receive only supportive care such as breathing assistance.

US President Donald Trump last week called on US health regulators to expedite potential therapies aimed at treating COVID-19 amid the fast-spreading coronavirus outbreak, pointing specifically to Gilead Sciences Inc’s experimental antiviral drug Remdesivir and the generic antimalarial drug hydroxychloroquine.

In Brazil, the clinical trial of hydroxychloroquine, which is being led by the Albert Einstein Hospital in Sao Paulo in conjunction with other Brazilian hospitals, began on Monday and is testing the effectiveness of the drug in combination with the antibiotic azithromycin on patients with COVID-19.

Trump and Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro have promoted hydroxychloroquine and the related chloroquine as potential treatments for coronavirus infections as they try to assuage concerns over the virus and shield their economies from the fallout.

In India, the government banned on Wednesday the exports of hydroxychloroquine and other formulations of the malaria drug while it is being tested for an illness that has sickened about 459,000 people worldwide.

- With Reuters

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