KAMPALA – The Director of Health Services, Ministry of Health, Henry Mwebesa has revealed that the recently three discharged patients who had tested positive to Coronavirus were treated using the controversial hydroxychloroquine drug, that was used in the 90s and early 2000s to treat malaria.
Mwebesa made the revelation through his Twitter handle noting, “The patients we are discharging today were on hydroxychloroquine and erythromycin actually.”
His remarks were in response to a question posed by one of his followers, Brandon Ndoni who asked Government to clarify on controversy sorrounding use chloroquine usage asking, “The WHO, Europe (bar France) are yet to authorize use of Antimalarials Hydroxychloroquine, Chloroquine in treating Covid-19 pneumonia
US’s FDA approved it’s trial.
INQUIRY. Is UG practicing this trial, how effective is it?”
It should be recalled that on Saturday, the Ministry of Health discharged 3 COVID-19 patients from Entebbe Grade B hospital who had successfully been treated and since tested negative for the disease.
Hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine are oral prescription drugs that have been used for treatment of malaria and certain inflammatory conditions and although they have been fronted as treatment to Coronavirus, the World Health Organisation has denied existence of evidence to back up this claim.
The Center for Disease Control and Food and Drugs Administration (FDA) recently authorised use of the drug and noted that Hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine are under investigation in clinical trials for pre-exposure or post-exposure prophylaxis of SARS-CoV-2 infection, and can be used treatment of patients with mild, moderate, and severe COVID-19. However, approval of the drug is pending investigation.
The decision by Ministry of Health to use chloroquine comes at the time, WHO revealed that the world will have to wait for at least 18months before Coronavirus vaccine is confirmed for use.
Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director General of WHO during a press briefing in Geneva Switzerland said that the vaccine is still at least 18 months away and urged Governments to use therapeutics to treat patients and save lives.
Tedros said that over 45 countries are contributing to the trial & more have expressed interest and defended delay in confirming the drug stating that the history of medicine is strewn with examples of drugs that worked on paper, or in a test tube, but didn’t work in humans or were actually harmful.
He defended the long period with which the world has to wait for the vaccine citing an example of the most recent Ebola epidemic, where some medicines that were thought to be effective were found not to be as effective as other medicines when they were compared during a clinical trial, “We must follow the evidence. There are no shortcuts.”