FDA Approves Malaria Drugs for COVID-19 Treatment – Update 2

It is a start, maybe. Remdesivir is being touted as a potentially more effective drug.

The Chinese had reported there were several pharmaceuticals which appeared to work also and in particular drugs for malaria, Chloroquine and HydoxyChloroquine. I had mentioned this earlier in the week (or even earlier) in a post and then again in two separate comments.

One small clinical test (preliminary trial with 24 -36 patients) in France had positive results recently as reported March 17, 2020. HydoxyChloroquine Would Be Effective According to Professor Roault of the IHU in Marseille,” after the first limited Test as reported by EN24 on March 17, 2020. With the use of the antibiotic Azithromycin to treat pneumonia a bacterial infection resulting from the virus infection, the test results were ~75% positive.

Remdesivir appears to have worked in a limited number of cases also. An issue which we are missing is bacterial infection following viral infection. The Chinese followed up their treatment using Chloroquine and HydroxyChloroquine (decades old drug) with antibiotics for Strep. The French study instead uses Azithromycin for treatment of the resulting pneumonia, etc. Although the French clinical test had a success rate of 75%, they are calling for a larger load testing. For Italy, it may present an opportunity sooner than Remdesivir.

And today, Trump is back on the air: Malaria Drug for Coronavirus Has Been Approved by FDA (?)

President Donald Trump announced Thursday the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved hydroxychloroquine—a drug used to treat malaria, rheumatic diseases and other conditions—for COVID-19.

As the COVID-19 pandemic spreads around the world, scientists are scrambling to identify treatments that may be effective against the disease. Hydroxychloroquine—a common derivative of chloroquine—is among those touted as most promising by some experts.

HydoxyChloroquine Would Be Effective According to Professor Roault of the IHU in Marseille after the first limited Test,” EN24, March 17, 2020

Donald Trump Says Malaria Drug for Coronavirus Has Been Approved by FDA, Newsweek, Aristos Georgiou, March 19, 2020

Update 3/19:  As Trump claimed HydoxyChloroquine was approved, FDA Head Steven Hahn countered Trump’s claim, stating the president had “directed the FDA to take a closer took” at whether the drug could help people with coronavirus. Indicating the FDA had not approved HydoxyChloroquine for use on a Coronaviral disease/disorder yet, Mr. Hahn called for large clinical trials to ascertain HydoxyChloroquine’s  effectiveness in treatment.

FDA contradicts Trump on status of potential coronavirus drug,” Financial Times, Demetri Sevastopulo (Washington) and Hannah Kuchler (New York), March 19, 2020

Update 3/20: Robert Waldman – “MDs can prescribe chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine for Covid 19 right now. The FDA doesn’t and can’t regulate off label prescriptions. Large trials (with young subjects) might be OK, but that does NOT mean Drs should wait for the results before prescribing hydroxychloroquine. It has known side effects which are mild except if it is taken continuously for years (anti malaria profilassi). I think the current evidence is enough that it should be given to everyone who is not in the trials’ control group. I am quite confident of this and know of no arguably valid argument against doing so.”

Robert’s Comment is true and something I did not think of while writing.