The UAE is set to import 5.5 million tablets of the anti-malarial medicine hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) from India for the treatment of COVID-19 patients.
”Under the guidance of UAE leadership, UAE embassy India succeeded in obtaining the approval of the Indian government to export adequate quantities of Hydroxychloroquine to UAE,” the UAE Embassy in New Delhi tweeted.
”The first shipment of medicine, currently on its way to the UAE, includes 5.5 million pills for treatment of patients with COVID-19. We highly appreciate the cooperation of the Indian government in facilitating the procedures for obtaining the necessary approvals,” the mission added.
— UAE Embassy-Newdelhi (@UAEembassyIndia) April 18, 2020
The UAE has recorded 6,302 cases of the coronavirus, 37 deaths, and 1,188 recoveries.
India is planning to send the anti-malarial drug to over 55 countries hit hard by COVID-19. A vital player in the global pharmaceutical market, many countries including the US and China have depended on India for pharmaceutical ingredients and finished drugs long before the outbreak of the pandemic.
Multiple countries have attested to the effectiveness of the anti-malarial chloroquine and HCQ drugs to treat COVID-19 patients and have begun stockpiling the medications. A group of Arab countries, including Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and Morocco, have decided to incorporate the drugs into national COVID-19 treatment.
US President Donald Trump’s frequent promotion of HCQ is causing an increased demand for the drug with the United States. The demand has grown despite the FDA’s disapproval of it as a treatment for COVID-19, and despite the White House infectious disease expert Anthony Fauci insisting the drug’s effectiveness in treating the virus is inconclusive.
HCQ has become a controversial COVID-19 treatment option due to its side effects. Some COVID-19 patients who received a large dose of the drug have developed an irregular heartbeat, which may expose them to other heart problems. Other patients have developed diarrhea and signs of potential liver damage.
COVID-19 researchers have stressed the need to conduct additional studies using larger numbers of patients in order to determine the drug’s risks and benefits.