Coronavirus: “Anecdotal” Claims Create Shortage of Malaria, Lupus Drugs

  • According to Dr. Fauci, Trump’s reference to the remedy was anecdotal and not really based on facts.
  • However, people are panic buying and stockpiling the drugs, creating a shortage for lupus and malaria patients.
  • Nigeria has reported an upswing in chloroquine poisoning cases after the recent Trump pronouncement.

People are buying antimalarial drugs, chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine, in massive quantities as the Covid-19 crisis spurs panic-buying and self-medicating. The problem emerged following US President Donald Trump’s recent suggestion that antimalarial drugs had some of the prerequisite properties needed in Covid-19 treatment.

Chloroquine is a medication primarily used to prevent and treat malaria in areas where malaria remains sensitive to its effects. Chloroquine is also occasionally used for amebiasis that is occurring outside the intestines, rheumatoid arthritis, and lupus erythematosus.

Although the assertion has been debunked by the government’s top disease expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci, many continue to follow the president’s unconfirmed claim. Fauci has underlined that there’s no proof supporting the theory, but many are still buying the drugs as a precautionary measure and creating a shortage that is currently affecting Malaria and Lupus sufferers.

According to the immunologist, Trump’s reference to the remedy was anecdotal and not really based on facts. He clarified that it was a hypothetical look at elixirs with the potential to treat the disease. “Many of the things out there are what I have called anecdotal reports,” Dr. Fauci stated during a session with reporters on Friday. “The information that you’re referring to specifically is anecdotal. It was not done in a controlled clinical trial, so you really can’t make any definitive statement about it.”

Fauci stressed that his role as a scientist was to present facts and not jump to conclusions. He said that the president, on the other hand, was in a position to put forward hopeful solutions. According to Dr. Anna Valdez, who has been taking hydroxychloroquine for 15 years, the medication that has helped her lead a normal life is no longer available due to the upsurge in demand.  She posted her pleas on Twitter.

“Please do not misuse hydroxychloroquine. This med is critical for people who have SLE, like me. I was told today that my prescription cannot be filled because the suppliers are completely out. Now I do not have the meds I actually need for an incurable disease I actually have.”

Hydroxychloroquine (HCQ), sold under the brand name Plaquenil among others, is a medication used for the prevention and treatment of certain types of malaria. Other uses include treatment of rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, and porphyria cutanea tarda.

Rising Chloroquine Poisoning Cases in Nigeria

Nigeria has reported an upswing in chloroquine poisoning cases after the recent Trump pronouncement touting it as a promising drug against coronavirus. Health officials in the country have already warned the public against abusing the drug and using it as a treatment for Covid-19.

In Lagos, chloroquine prices have spiked by about four times. Locals report that pharmacists are involved in driving demand and promoting it as a cure for coronavirus. Chloroquine has for a long time now been used in some countries in Africa to treat malaria, and is readily available in many pharmacies. The mutation of the disease and emergent resistance is, however, causing it to be phased out.

The World Health Organization says no drug has been approved for use against coronavirus. According to Dr. Michel Yao, a program director for the organization in Africa, “any medication should be based on evidence. We don’t have yet any evidence from any of these trials that would allow WHO to do a formal recommendation.”

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Samuel Gush. W

Samuel Waweru is a Technology, Entertainment, and Political News writer at Communal News.

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