The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has issued an emergency authorization to use chloroquine and hyrdoxychloroquine to treat patients with COVID-19, the disease caused by the 2109 novel coronavirus.
In a letter to the Department of Health and Human Services, the FDA’s Chief Scientist, Rear Admiral Denise Hinton, wrote that the potential benefits of treatment with these drugs outweigh the potential risks. She based that conclusion on “limited in vitro and anecdotal data” available from use of the drugs in other countries, and the fact that the novel coronavirus has created a national public health emergency.
The letter outlines specific circumstances in which chloroquine and hyrdoxychloroquine may be administered to COVID-19 patients.
Some doctors were already prescribing the anti-malarial drugs before the FDA’s letter was released on March 29, 2020. But whether it turns out to be reliably effective or safe remains to be seen.