A drug used to treat malaria is showing promise against coronavirus, according to the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation (OMRF), which says scientists are working diligently to test the drug as a possible treatment for COVID-19.
A recent study abstract published in PubMed Journal stated the efficacy of chloroquine phosphate as a potential treatment for the current spread of COVID-19. The study outlined that in clinical trials in China, chloroquine, an FDA-approved drug for the treatment of malaria, was effective and safe in dealing with COVID-19 associated pneumonia in a lab dish. This triggered a spread of anticipation throughout the world about a possible treatment for the pandemic virus.
Judith James, M.D., Ph.D., vice president of Clinical Affairs at OMRF, says that she has found chloroquine phosphate highly effective in treating patients with lupus, an autoimmune disease, and explains how the drug may work in people with COVID-19.
“When malaria gets into a cell, if you change the pH with a drug like chloroquine phosphate, the malaria can’t live,” she says, according to Oklahoma TV station KFOR. “The same goes for a virus like COVID-19. If you change the pH, the virus cannot assemble, and if can’t assemble, it can’t affect you.”
James, an immunologist and rheumatologist, explains that using preexisting drugs is the best way to fast track a treatment for the virus.
“That would be really exciting, because it’s a drug that already has FDA approval, and it is readily available,” she says. “If it works, it might treat COVID-19 almost instantly.
However, many experts are quick to remind that human trials are needed before chloroquine phosphate can be touted as am answer.
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