Surprisingly or unsurprisingly, on the back of Donald Trumps continued promotion of hydroxychloroquine, the US Food and Drug administration has said that it will allow the use of antimalarials, such as hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine for the treatment of COVID19. The additional indication was approved on April 7 under emergency use authorization (EUA). This comes in spite of lack of hard evidence that it works.
The FDA’s take on all of this is as follows: “FDA encourages the conduct and participation in randomized controlled clinical trials that may produce evidence concerning the effectiveness of these products in treating COVID-19. FDA is issuing this EUA to facilitate the availability of chloroquine phosphate and hydroxychloroquine sulfate during the COVID-19 pandemic to treat patients for whom a clinical trial is not available, or participation is not feasible.” -full version can be found below.Final-HydroxyChloroquine-and-ChloroquineLOA
The Lancet medical journal has written “Regulators split on antimalarials for COVID19“, whilst the Science magazine is more bolshie and reports: the EUA “undermines FDA’s scientific authority because it appeared to be a response not to scientific evidence, but to fervent advocacy of the drugs by Trump and other political figures“.
Be what may, the anti-malarials do not come without their risks; around 1% of us may be at risk of drug-induced QT prolongation, which can cause sudden cardiac death. And like toilet rolls, on the same day as the announcement, due to a significant surge in demand the FDA lists both of its drugs on the drug shortages webpage.
Cry. Laugh. Learn. Move on.