The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has authorised the emergency use of hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine — two age-long anti-malaria drugs — for treatment of patients with coronavirus.

The authorisation was issued in a letter on Saturday but the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) acknowledged the FDA’s directive in a statement on Sunday.

“Anecdotal reports suggest that these drugs may offer some benefit in the treatment of hospitalized COVID-19 patients. The safety profile of these drugs has only been studied for FDA approved indications, not COVID-19,” HHS said in the statement.

The statement also quoted the agency as saying the drugs can be “donated to the Strategic National Stockpile to be distributed and prescribed by doctors to hospitalized teen and adult patients with COVID-19, as appropriate, when a clinical trial is not available or feasible”.

The move comes after President Donald Trump had canvassed for the use of chloroquine for the treatment of coronavirus — despite the fact that there is little scientific evidence that the drug is effective in treating COVID-19.

Search for COVID-19 vaccines has continued across the globe with medical experts estimating that it could take months before it could get cure for the killer virus.

The US remains one of the worst-hit countries in the world by the pandemic with over 2,000 said to have died of the virus.

On Saturday, the country recorded the first-ever infant death from the coronavirus after it claimed the life of a child younger than a year old in Illinois.



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