Trump calls on India to release potential drug Covid-19

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President Donald Trump has called on India to issue orders for hydroxychloroquine, an antimalarial that has been identified as a potential treatment for coronavirus, while New Delhi has tightened export restrictions to counter the increase infections.

Trump said that in a phone call to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday, he asked for more drugs because the country had made “large quantities” of them.

“I said I would appreciate it if they would disclose the amounts we ordered and give them serious thought,” said Trump during a briefing at the White House this weekend. He reiterated his claim that hydroxychloroquine would be a game-changer despite a lack of concrete evidence of its effectiveness.

Trump said the U.S. government is working to make the drug available to coronavirus patients, even though it has not yet been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. “We will distribute it via the strategic national stock,” said Mr. Trump. “We also get it from various places and other countries. “

Although there is no evidence that it works against the coronavirus, India has given priority to supplying the drug for its own use as it has an increasing number of cases that threaten to overwhelm its health system underfunded. According to Johns Hopkins University, the second most populous country in the world, with 1.37 billion people, has reported nearly 3,600 coronavirus infections with 99 deaths since Sunday – triple its workload last week.

The discovery of oversized events – including at the headquarters of the Islamic missionary movement Tablighi Jamaat in New Delhi – raises fears that its swift action to bring the country under control is not enough to smooth the curve.

The Indian Council for Medical Research has recommended that the antimalarial, which is also used to treat lupus and rheumatoid arthritis, be used as a preventative medication for people at high risk for Covid-19 such as healthcare workers .

On March 25, India limited exports with a few exceptions, including for orders with full prepayment and for humanitarian reasons. But on Saturday, the Ministry of Commerce and Industry issued a circular banning all exports of hydroxychloroquine and hydroxychloroquine formulations. . . without any exceptions ”. In a separate notice published the same day, it also imposed restrictions on the export of diagnostic kits. The ministry did not respond to a request for comment.

Sudarshan Jain, of the Indian Pharmaceutical Alliance in Mumbai, said that a total ban had been put in place to stop speculative buying as companies rushed to place orders.

“There was new demand as a Covid-19 product and suddenly there was speculative demand from all over the world,” said Mr. Jain. “The government is trying to take stock and develop a policy.” Pharmaceutical companies are in “dialogue” with the government in the next steps, added Jain.

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