With minimal evidence, Trump asks FDA to study malaria drugs for coronavirus

Physicians worldwide have been administering a variety of medicines to find something to help COVID-19 patients, including two malaria drugs, chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine. Physicians in China, South Korea, and France have reported these medications appear to help, although they have not gone through large clinical trials for this use yet.

Physicians worldwide have been administering a variety of medicines to find something to help COVID-19 patients, including two malaria drugs, chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine. Physicians in China, South Korea, and France have reported these medications appear to help, although they have not gone through large clinical trials for this use yet. FDA has not approved any drugs for use in the treatment of coronavirus. FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn, MD, says President Trump requested the agency to examine the use of chloroquine to fight the coronavirus, and that it was setting up a large clinical trial to evaluate the drug. Some U.S. hospitals are already using anti-malarial drugs for coronavirus patients, and laboratory studies have found that they prevent the coronavirus from invading cells, potentially helping to prevent or limit the infection. However, the drugs are not safe for people who suffer from heart arrhythmia or have an impaired liver or kidneys. The University of Minnesota is conducting a study in which people who live with a coronavirus patient are being given hydroxychloroquine to determine if it can prevent the infection. Hahn adds that FDA was allowing COVID-19 patients to use remdesivir, a not-yet-approved antiviral drug made by Gilead. Such so-called "compassionate use" programs allow patients to take unapproved, experimental drugs if they have no other options.