The Food and Drug Administration on Sunday (FDA) issued an emergency use authorization for a pair of anti-malaria drugs as health officials work to combat the rapid spread of the novel coronavirus.
The Health and Human Services Department (HHS) said in a statement that the authorization would allow 30 million doses of hydroxychloroquine sulfate and 1 million doses of chloroquine phosphate to be donated to the Strategic National Stockpile. The doses of hydroxychloroquine sulfate were donated by Sandoz, while the chloroquine phosphate was developed by Bayer Pharmaceuticals.
The products will be “distributed and prescribed by doctors to hospitalized teen and adult patients with COVID-19, as appropriate, when a clinical trial is not available or feasible,” HHS said.
President Trump has repeatedly touted the anti-malaria drugs as a possible coronavirus “game changer,” despite warnings from health officials that not enough is known about their effects on COVID-19. Dr. Anthony Fauci, the government’s top infectious disease expert, said during a press briefing earlier this month that much of what is known about the drug is based on “anecdotal reports.”