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India bans export of malaria drug touted as possible Covid-19 cure

The Indian government has outlawed the export of hydroxychloroquine, a drug many believe may be a cure for Covid-19. 

The drug is already being used in Poland and Indonesia to treat the coronavirus, with Elon Musk and President Donald Trump among those who have strongly recommended it be fast-tracked for clinical trial.

The most recent directive from New Delhi will bolster the growing suspicion that there may be some truth in claims that the anti-malarial tablet is effective.

The Indian Ministry of External Affairs will allow deals in progress and humanitarian exports to proceed, subject to their approval, but all other new deals have been prohibited, with no end date indicated.

“The export of Hydroxychloroquine and formulations made from Hydroxychloroquine… is prohibited with immediate effect,” the Ministry of Commerce and Industry said on Tuesday.

The Indian Council for Medical Research has made clear its support for the drug’s use, recommending it as a preventative medication for people who have had contact with carriers of Covid-19.

“Hydroxy-chloroquine is found to be effective against coronavirus in laboratory studies and in-vivo studies,” the council claimed.

Although the evidence surrounding the drug’s effectiveness is not conclusive, a number of reports of overdosing have already emerged in countries such as Nigeria and the United State.

A man in Arizona died, whilst his wife is in intensive care, after the pair self-medicated on chloroquine phosphate following President Trump’s press conference about the drug.

In Nigeria three people were hospitalized after poisoning themselves with chloroquine following  media reports about the drug.

India yesterday entered a 21-day lockdown of all its 1.34 billion citizens, despite only recording 606 confirmed cases and ten deaths.

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