India agrees to release unproven 'corona drug'

  • 2 months   ago
India agrees to release unproven 'corona drug'
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Hydroxychloroquine: India agrees to release drug after Trump retaliation threat

India has agreed to lift an export ban on a drug US President Donald Trump has called a "game-changer" in the fight against coronavirus, despite reservations from medical experts.

The decision came after Mr Trump warned of "retaliation" if India did not drop the ban on hydroxychloroquine exports.

The president has repeatedly touted the drug as a possible cure for Covid-19, despite a lack of proof.

India is one of the world's largest manufacturers of hydroxychloroquine.

 

It is unclear how much will now be exported. Anurag Srivastava, spokesperson for the Ministry of External Affairs, said on Tuesday that the "the stock position could allow our companies to meet the export commitments that they had contracted".

 

What is hydroxychloroquine?

Hydroxychloroquine is very similar to chloroquine, one of the oldest and best-known anti-malarial drugs.

But the drug - which can also treat auto-immune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis and lupus - has also attracted attention over the past few decades as a potential antiviral agent.

President Trump said that the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) had approved it for treating coronavirus, something the organization has denied. Mr Trump later said that it had been approved for "compassionate use" - which means a doctor can give a drug that is yet to be cleared by the government to a patient in a life-threatening condition.

Doctors are able to prescribe chloroquine in these circumstances as it's a registered drug.

In India, hydroxychloroquine could be bought over the counter and is fairly inexpensive, but its purchase and use has been severely restricted ever since it was named as a possible treatment for Covid-19.

However, according to India's Business Standard, manufacturers in the country have the ability to produce around 100 tonnes of the drug per month if needed - enough to treat some 70m people.

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