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Chloroquine: how the substance will be used to fight coronavirus

Understand what chloroquine, a substance that will be subjected to studies and tests and be used against the coronavirus

THE chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine are used for the treatment against malaria, rheumatism, inflammation in the joints and lupus, can help fight the coronavirus COVID-19, according to a conclusive study published in the French scientific journal BioScience Trends.

The research was done in Marseille, in southern France, in 24 patients diagnosed with COVID-19. Six days after having started taking the antimalarial drug, the virus would have disappeared in 75% of cases. THE chloroquine and the hydroxychloroquine act as an anti-inflammatory causing more air to be released from the lungs, so the patient would be able to breathe better. The drug also acts as a decongestant.

The result is promising, but it still needs to be scientifically proven. Three researchers tested the effectiveness of chloroquine and the hydroxychloroquine in hospitals in Beijing, Shanghai and Wuhan, where was the primary epicenter of pandemic of the new coronavirus. Doctors followed more than 100 patients with COVID-19. The results demonstrate that chloroquine was more effective in these patients than in the group that received other medications.

According to previous studies, the chloroquine and the hydroxychloroquine they improve the functioning of the lungs and help to stop the evolution of pneumonia, one of the most severe conditions of the disease. According to the researchers, a treatment of 500mg of chloroquine per day, for 10 days, would be enough to eliminate the virus.

In the United States the president Donald Trump asked the country's health agency to approve the use of this malaria remedy to treat COVID-19. Donald Trump's order was given to the head of the FDA (Food and Drugs Administration), the body that regulates food and medicine in the United States.

Initial studies on the use of chloroquine

Here in Brazil, the Ministry of Health informed that initial studies demonstrate that the use of chloroquine and the hydroxychloroquine can be promising. According to the Secretary of Science and Technology of the Ministry of Health, Denizar Vianna the data are promising. There is a biological plausibility that this mechanism makes sense. Only studies are still insufficient. Only studies in vitroThis means that they were not done on patients, they are bench tests, but this signals a promising drug.

However, the Secretary warns that the chloroquine and the hydroxychloroquine should be tested in better elaborated studies that are already underway, mentioning that the WHO conduct a multicenter study with some drugs that they consider promising, including the therapeutic class of chloroquine so that there is the possibility of recommending clinical therapeutic protocols.

Chloroquine will only be purchased by prescription

Anvisa classified chloroquine-based drugs as controlled to contain consumption and shortages.Minister Luiz Henrique Mandetta at a press conference on the use of chloroquine in the treatment of COVID-19Photo: Divulgao / Isto

To control supply, Anvisa decided to frame the chloroquine and the hydroxychloroquine as drugs for controlled use. The measure serves to avoid the shortage of these drugs on the market, harming patients for whom their recommended use.

In an interview with the newspaper O Globo, hematologist Patrcia Gonalves recalls the risk of self-medication because chloroquine and the hydroxychloroquine are components of medications in which a number of potentially serious side effects, such as ocular changes, anemia, medulla aplasia, agranulocytosis (severe drop in white blood cells) and drop in platelet count.

Rheumatologist Haim Maleb also explains that disinformation, without medical guidance, is very dangerous. ?Patients who really need to suffer, because the medicine is irreplaceable. With the lack of the medicine, the disease can return to activity, the risk can be fatal. ?

Anvisa also released a technical note informing about the medicine, highlighting the indications that are already approved for its use. She reinforces that for new therapeutic indications, structured clinical studies are necessary, which demonstrate safety and efficacy to combat, in the case of chloroquine, the new coronavirus.

Sources: Olhar Digital, CCIH, O Globo, G1, Anvisa