FDA Authorizes Use of Malaria Drugs for Coronavirus

Mairead McArdle

The Food and Drug Administration on Sunday granted an emergency authorization for two drugs, which are typically prescribed to treat malaria, to be used as treatments for the coronavirus.

The emergency-use authorization is for two oral prescription drugs, hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine, which are used primarily to treat malaria, but are now being investigated by federal agencies, including the National Institutes of Health and the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority, as possible treatments for the coronavirus.

The Health and Human Services Department announced Sunday that 30 million doses of hydroxychloroquine sulfate and one million doses of chloroquine phosphate have been donated.

The FDA will allow the drugs “to be distributed and prescribed by doctors to hospitalized teen and adult patients with COVID-19, as appropriate, when a clinical trial is not available or feasible.”

“Let’s see how it works,” Trump said Sunday. “It may, it may not.”

Hydroxychloroquine has been tested on patients in a small coronavirus clinical trial and produced inconclusive but promising results. Trump said 1,100 patients are getting hydroxychloroquine treatment in New York City, the epicenter in the U.S. of the coronavirus pandemic.

As of early Monday morning, the coronavirus has infected more than 143,000 people in the U.S. and at least 2,513 people have died from the respiratory illness.

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