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5 Apr, 2020 04:12

‘What do you have to lose?’ Trump touts anti-malaria drug as Covid-19 cure, urges India to lift export ban

‘What do you have to lose?’ Trump touts anti-malaria drug as Covid-19 cure, urges India to lift export ban

Praising the anti-malaria drug hydroxychloroquine as a potential cure for Covid-19 and claiming he would take a pill himself, if infected, US President Donald Trump has urged Indian PM Narendra Modi to lift a ban on its exports.

The federal government has already accumulated some 29 million doses of hydroxychloroquine in its national stockpiles, and is seeking to acquire more, even though the drug's effectiveness against Covid-19 is still being tested and remains questionable. 

“After a call today with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, India is giving serious consideration to releasing the hold it put on a US order for hydroxychloroquine,” Trump announced at a White House coronavirus task force briefing.

Also on rt.com In search of a coronavirus killer: Can existing drugs really turn the tide in the Covid-19 pandemic?

Drawing fresh criticism for irresponsibly promoting an untested and potentially even dangerous treatment, a passionately optimistic Trump insisted that Covid-19 patients must have a choice.

What do you have to lose? Take it. I really think they should take it... try it, if you'd like.

“I may take it,” added Trump, who has previously tested negative twice for the coronavirus. He immediately clarified, however, that he will “have to ask my doctors about that” first.

It is not the first time that various drugs usually used to treat malaria have received high-profile promotion as a potential “game changer” against the coronavirus infection by everyone from US President Donald Trump and the US Department of Health to Russian medical specialists. The resulting panic-buying and shortages for those who use them to treat other conditions, including lupus and rheumatoid arthritis, forced the Indian government to halt the export of hydroxychloroquine last month, with no end date in sight. 

The drugs, which suppress the immune system, like hydroxychloroquine, are often seen as potentially helpful against Covid-19 because the virus over-stimulates an immune response which can cause organ failure. Yet, they appear to be ineffective against the virus itself.

Also on rt.com India BANS export of anti-malaria drug touted by Trump as potential Covid-19 cure

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