UAE uses hydroxychloroquine, remdesivir to treat coronavirus: Health official

A lab technician inspects filled vials of investigational coronavirus treatment drug remdesivir at a Gilead Sciences facility in La Verne, California, US, March 11, 2020. (Reuters)

The UAE uses hydroxychloroquine and remdesivir drugs as part of the coronavirus treatment protocols in healthcare facilities in the country, said Dr. Amer al-Sharif, chairman of Dubai’s COVID-19 Command and Control Centre on Thursday.

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.

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On April 18, the UAE started importing millions of hydroxychloroquine pills from India.

Remdesivir, an antiviral drug which previously failed as a treatment for Ebola, is being tried against COVID-19 because it is designed to disable the mechanism by which certain viruses, including the new coronavirus, make copies of themselves and potentially overwhelm their host's immune system.

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) had granted on May 1 emergency use authorization for Gilead Science Inc's drug remdesivir. The US FDA had also granted on March 28 emergency use authorization to allow hydroxychloroquine to be used to treat hospitalized patients with COVID-19.

Other coronavirus treatments in the UAE include using plasma transfusions from recovered patients.

Dubai’s Health Authority (DHA) launched on Wednesday three clinics to collect convalescent plasma from recovered COVID-19 patients.

The DHA stressed the importance of the convalescent plasma treatment because it could speed the recovery of patients by 85 to 90 percent.

Al-Sharif also said that the UAE has one of the highest COVID-19 recovery rates in the world thanks to the country’s increased testing, early diagnosis and integrated healthcare system.

There 6,930 recovered COVID-19 patients in the UAE representing 32.9 percent of the total 21,084 confirmed cases of infection in the country.

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Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 10:02 - GMT 07:02
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