Nigeria has warned about cases of chloroquine poisoning after this famous anti-Malaria drug was hailed as a potential cure for COVID-19. It should be noted that earlier, US President Donald Trump saw potential in this medication to treat the Coronavirus, while Tesla CEO Elon Musk tweeted that "Maybe worth considering chloroquine for C19."

Despite the unnecessary promotion for this anti-malaria drug, health officials in the West African nation confirmed on Sunday, March 22, that two Nigerians were taken to hospital in Lagos following complication from the overdose of the anti-Malaria drug.

Poisonings from anti-malaria drug

The Nigeria Center for Disease Control (NCDC) cautioned citizens from self-medicating with chloroquine. It should be mentioned that the drug is still not as safe as a medication because it is still undergoing testing for safety and effectiveness.

Later, NCDC wrote on Twitter that "WHO has NOT approved the use of chloroquine for #COVID19 management. Scientists are working hard to confirm the safety of several drugs for this disease. Please DO NOT engage in self-medication. This will cause harm and can lead to death."

Senegal goldmines
Representational picture Jacqueline Gerson, Duke University

A senior health assistant to the governor of Lagos, Oreoluwa Finnih, told people in Nigeria that they should not panic and use the anti-malaria medication. As reported by Bloomberg News, Finnih said "Chloroquine is still in a testing phase in combination with other medication and not yet verified as a preventive treatment or curative option."

As of now, Nigeria has reported 30 COVID-19 cases that infected 339,259 people all over the world.

Chloroquine as a potential COVID-19 drug

Recently in a White House briefing, Trump mentioned that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved the drug used to treat malaria, rheumatic diseases and other conditions to treat patients with new Coronavirus.

But later, FDA clarified in a statement that it did not approve any drug which would be used as a cure for the Coronavirus. The statement also added that "there are no FDA-approved therapeutics or drugs to treat, cure or prevent COVID-19," as its safety and effectiveness have not been proven with regard to the new Coronavirus.

On Saturday, March 21, Trump tweeted that "HYDROXYCHLOROQUINE & AZITHROMYCIN, taken together, have a real chance to be one of the biggest game-changers in the history of medicine." In the tweet, it was also mentioned that the FDA has "moved mountains" and that hopefully the treatment will be "put in use IMMEDIATELY."