On Sunday , the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) authorized emergency-use for two anti-malaria drugs that health officials believe may help combat COVID-19 coronavirus.
The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) issued a statement that the authorization will allow a donation of 30 million doses of hydroxychloroquine sulfate and 1 million doses of chloroquine phosphate to the Strategic National Stockpile.
HHS also stated that the products will be "distributed and prescribed by doctors to hospitalized teen and adult patients with COVID-19, as appropriate, when a clinical trial is not available or feasible."
The Hill reports:
President Trump has repeatedly touted the anti-malaria drugs as a possible coronavirus "game changer," despite warnings from health officials that not enough is known about their effects on COVID-19. Dr. Anthony Fauci, the government’s top infectious disease expert, said during a press briefing earlier this month that much of what is known about the drug is based on "anecdotal reports."
"It was not done in a controlled clinical trial, so you really can’t make any definitive statement about it," he said.
Hydroxychloroquine sulfate and chloroquine phosphate are oral prescription drugs typically used to treat malaria and other diseases, HHS noted. The department acknowledged that there are no approved treatments for COVID-19 but said that "both drugs have shown activity in laboratory studies against coronaviruses."
The department said that clinical trials are still needed to "provide scientific evidence that these treatments are effective."
"Scientists in America and around the world have identified multiple potential therapeutics for #COVID19, including chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine," HHS Secretary Alex Azar tweeted. "Trump is taking every possible step to protect Americans from the coronavirus and provide them with hope."
Scientists in America and around the world have identified multiple potential therapeutics for #COVID19, including chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine. President Trump is taking every possible step to protect Americans from the coronavirus and provide them with hope.
— Secretary Alex Azar (@SecAzar) March 30, 2020
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