There has been a spike in chloroquine poisoning cases in Nigeria after U.S. President Donald Trump praised the anti-malaria drug as a possible cure for the new coronavirus.
Trump’s statement sparked a rush to buy chloroquine and a less toxic related pill called hydroxychloroquine. There were reports of high demand for the drugs in Nigeria, which led to shortages in pharmacies.
Oreoluwa Finnih, a senior health assistant to the governor of Lagos, said that Nigeria’s center for disease control had sent out a tweet stating that the World Health Organization has not approved the drug for COVID-19.
Finnih said this during an interview with Bloomberg after two people in Nigeria were hospitalized for overdosing on the drug.
On March 21, President Trump tweeted about yet another unproven combination of drugs, hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin, claiming that when the two are taken together, it could be “one of the biggest game-changers in the history of medicine.”
He further added that the drugs will be put to use immediately due to the fact that people are dying, and to push his point, he cited a report in a scientific journal that involved not more than 20 patients. However, the trial was not a controlled clinical test.
“I feel good about it that is all it is. Just a feeling,” Trump said recently when questioned about the use of the drugs.
“You know, I’m a smart guy. I feel good about it. And you’re going to see soon enough,” he added.
However, Anthony Fauci, the government’s top infectious disease expert, emphasized that Trump’s claims were all based on anecdotal evidence.
On March 29, the Food and Drug Administration issued emergency authorization for experimental coronavirus treatments using chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine despite inconclusive clinical proof regarding their effectiveness, according to Forbes.
Listen to GHOGH with Jamarlin Martin | Episode 70: Jamarlin Martin Jamarlin goes solo to discuss the COVID-19 crisis. He talks about the failed leadership of Trump, Andrew Cuomo, CDC Director Robert Redfield, Surgeon General Jerome Adams, and New York Mayor de Blasio.
“The WHO’s position is clear. 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,” Dr. Michael Yao, the Africa emergency response program manager for the World Health Organization, told CNN.
“It is difficult for us to recommend at this stage that any of the medicine can be of use for the treatment of coronavirus.”