The Ministry of Food and Drug Safety on Tuesday cautioned against the use of the malaria treatment chloroquine for COVID-19 prevention and treatment. Recently, false information regarding chloroquine started to spread on the social media.
According to the ministry, some social media users have been sharing posts claiming that chloroquine can prevent or treat COVID-19. There are even posts inducing overseas purchase (direct purchase) or indirect purchase, or reviews reporting the effectiveness of chloroquine. As a result, there are increasing numbers of people, especially the elderly, who are buying chloroquine at pharmacies or on the internet.
Chloroquine is a prescription drug designed to treat malaria. In March, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced a test result that chloroquine was effective in treating COVID-19 and some countries, including the U.S. issued emergency use authorization for chloroquine. U.S. President Donald Trump once praised the drug, calling it a “game changer” to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
But concerns about the side effect of chloroquine have been raised in many countries. A team of British scientists found that chloroquine users had a 34% higher risk of death and a 137% higher risk of severe cardiac arrhythmia in a study of 96,032 patients infected with COVID-19. The European Medicines Agency also warned that there could be heart rate abnormalities and damage to nerve cell after taking chloroquine.
Mee-Jee Lee firstname.lastname@example.org