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Kenyans cautioned against “irrational use” of untested Covid-19 drugs

Author: Ayuen Panchol | Published: Friday, March 27, 2020


The Kenyan government has warned against the “irrational use” of drugs touted as a treatment for Covid-19.

The warning comes after Kenyan medics expressed concern over a spike in demand for the drugs.

They are chloroquine, hydroxychloroquine, azithromycin, which are sold only on a prescription basis.

However, citizens have managed to bypass this and access the drugs, Kenyan media reports.

Health officials attribute the high demand for the drugs on misleading information from US President Donald Trump, who claimed the drugs had shown positive results in treating the Covid-19 virus.

“Please note that irrational use of this hydroxychloroquine may lead to irreversible blindness which is detrimental to the health of the general public,” warns Dr. F. M. Siyoi, CEO of Pharmacy and Poisons Board in a statement.

On 20 March 2020, President Donald Trump touted the medication form of chloroquine as a possible treatment for the virus.

Four days later, an elderly Arizona man died after he ingested chloroquine phosphate in an apparent effort to stave off Covid-19, BBC reported.

His wife, who also used the drug is reportedly in a critical condition.

In Nigeria, three people had overdosed on the drugs while self-medicating. As per the country’s health officials, the three were hospitalized and are receiving treatment.

Currently, WHO is organizing the solidarity clinical trial to create data that can be leveraged to decide which treatments are most effective, if they decrease mortality and hospital stays.

It will have five arms: one standard of care; one Gilead Sciences’ remdesivir; one a combination of lopinavir/ritonavir; another a combination of lopinavir/ritonavir/interferon beta; and the fifth of chloroquine, according to reports. Ten countries are participating to date.

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