With hydroxychloroquine being touted as a game changer in the fight against coronavirus by US President Donald Trump, the anti-malarial drug has seen a surge in demand across the globe. But recent reports claim that the French government has reported at least 43 cases of heart ailments when hydroxychloroquine was administered to coronavirus patients.
The incidents reported in France have raised questions about the safety of coronavirus patients who are given the unproven medicine hydroxychloroquine.
France has so far recorded 100 incidents related to health issues after experimental drugs were administered to coronavirus patients since late March. Out of 100, 82 patients' condition was termed as serious and three patients had to be revived.
Of the 100 patients, half were administered hydroxychloroquine and the other half HIV antivirals lopinavir-ritonavir. Among those who were given anti-malarial drug hydroxychloroquine, at least 43 patients suffering form coronavirus complained of heart-related ailments, France's national drug-safety agency Agence Nationale de Sécurité du Médicament (ANSM) stated.
Trump had warned India against banning the export of hydroxychloroquine that he promoted as an effective medicine for coronavirus, before any approval based on proper studies.
The US has stocked 29 million doses of the drug.
Cases of chloroquine poisoning were reported from Nigeria in March after people started taking the drug following Trump's claim of hydroxychloroquine being the game changer.
The French agency ASNM stated that hydroxychloroquine must be used only in hospitals and under close supervision of medical practitioners. It also stated that it was dangerous to use it for any other ailment other than for which it was developed.
Hydroxychloroquine is approved to be used to treat malaria, lupus and rheumatoid arthritis.
At least 15 centres in the US are studying the use and application of hydroxychloroquine as a cure for coronavirus. CNN Health reported that at least six of the research centres are of the opinion that it will take months before the results of the study are out, whereas Trump's claim is that the results will be clear in days.
Accordingly, doctors and researchers conducting clinical trials at Henry Ford Health System targeting 3,000 participants have sought four months to complete the study. The results of the trials being conducted at New York University and the University of Washington on 2,000 subjects are expected to be out by July.