Fake news has been circulating about drugs that can allegedly be used against the new coronavirus and one that is under spotlights is chloroquine.
“You have to buy this product, keep it with you and use it in case you get the disease. It has been found that this virus is sensitive to chloroquine. At a dose of 500 mg/day, the product can treat coronavirus infection and help you recover,” someone says. But this has not been scientifically proven.
“Chloroquine is a drug that has been used for the treatment of malaria in Cameroon. Because of resistance of plasmodium and undesirable side effects, it has been withdrawn from the market,” explains Dr. Christian Foh Mengo, a pharmacist in Yaoundé. The drug is a derivative of quinine, marketed years ago in the country under the name Nivaquine.
“For now ... I think it's too early to say whether it's effective for an affected patient. I think there is a connection because when there was the SARS episode (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome, a contagious and sometimes fatal respiratory disease caused by a coronavirus, ed), Chloroquine had proven to be effective,” says Dr. Christophe Ampoam, Vice-President of the National Order of Pharmacists of Cameroon (ONPC).
“However, there is no reliable data on humans, even less for prevention. If it proves to be effective, the pharmacological data should be determined to be evaluated for registration,” he added.
Several clinical trials are underway to find a treatment for the new coronavirus. But these have not yet been validated by experts, including those from the World Health Organization (WHO).
“Some Western, traditional or domestic remedies may provide comfort and relief from the symptoms of Covid-19, but there is no evidence that current drugs can prevent or cure the disease. WHO does not recommend self-medication with any medication, including antibiotics, to prevent or cure Covid-19,” WHO warns
Patricia Ngo Ngouem