Pharmacists warn against malarial drugs as cures for coronavirus

Press/Media: Research


Pharmacy experts at the University of Huddersfield are urging caution over claims that widely-available antimalarial drugs could be a "magic bullet" to prevent and cure COVID-19. And the medicines can - if used rashly - have serious side effects. 

The authors chart the excitement in press and social media over claims that CQ and HCQ could be effective CoViD-19 treatments.  But they also report how this had led to hoarding and therefore shortages of the drugs – available over the counter in some countries.

There have been reports of deaths in some parts of the world because of inappropriate self-use of CQ.  And while the drugs have a good safety record, they can have seriously adverse side-effects, including loss of vision and fatal cardiovascular problems.

In another article published in the British Medical Journal, Dr Merchant analyses a World Health Organisation trial of four potential treatments for CoViD-19. The article – also freely available online – is an 11-point analysis of the project.  Dr Merchant acknowledges that “the launch of WHO’s Solidarity Trial came as good news for many, the public in general and clinicians in particular who are at the frontline to manage these crises”.

But he provides a detailed critique of the drugs that are and are not included in the WHO trial. 

And he concludes that: “There are as many as seven variants of human coronavirus that have been reported and there have been reports of CoV-2 being further genetically evolving during the current CoViD-19 outbreak.  If the global Solidarity Trial will not offer all drug options/combinations across the world in a single co-ordinated trial, we fear that the data from different countries may not be directly comparable to draw any meaningful comparison”.

Period30 Apr 2020 → 19 May 2020

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