United States President, Donald Trump on Monday revealed that he has been on the anti-malarial drug, hydroxychloroquine to prevent being infected with coronavirus.
Mr Trump said this at the White House following a roundtable with representatives from the restaurant industry.
“You’d be surprised at how many people are taking it, especially the frontline workers before you catch it. The frontline workers, many, many are taking it. I happen to be taking it. I happen to be taking it, hydroxychloroquine,” Mr Trump said.
He advised that people should be allowed to use hydroxychloroquine to prevent the virus.
“A couple of weeks ago, I started taking it. I’ve heard a lot of good stories. And if it is not good, I will tell you, right. I’m not going to get hurt by it. It has been around for 40 years for malaria, for lupus, for other things.”
Mr Trump had on March 19, also courted controversy when he announced that the U.S. had approved the anti-malaria drug, chloroquine, for use as treatment regimen against the virus.
His statement was, however, quickly countered by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
He also attracted controversy when he subtly suggested the ingestion of bleach as a possible cure for the ailment. He later said he said he was misinterpreted.
In Nigeria, the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) had ordered the immediate manufacturing of chloroquine for possible clinical trials.
It had, however, urged against self medication.
The Director-General of the agency, Mojisola Adeyeye, had said the old antimalarial is being repurposed for the possible clinical trial treatment of the virus.
Meanwhile, the American Food and Drug Administration has cautioned against the use of hydroxychloroquine for COVID-19 treatment “outside of hospitals or clinical trials due to the risk of heart problems.”
“Hydroxychloroquine has not been shown to be safe and effective for treating or preventing COVID-19,” the FDA warned.
Hydroxychloroquine is FDA-approved to treat or prevent malaria as well as autoimmune conditions such as lupus and rheumatoid arthritis.
COVID-19, which has claimed thousands of lives across the globe, currently has no vaccine or specific medical treatment as experts say a patient’s immune system plays a large role in his or her recovery.