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Coronavirus: Donald Trump says he has requested Modi to supply malaria drug hydroxychloroquine

India had suspended the exports of the drug last month.

Coronavirus: Donald Trump says he has requested Modi to supply malaria drug hydroxychloroquine
US President Donald Trump answers a question during the daily Coronavirus Task Force briefing at the White House on Saturday. | Reuters

United States President Donald Trump on Saturday said that he has requested Prime Minister Narendra Modi that India supply hydroxychloroquine tablets to fight Covid-19 infections in American patients, PTI reported. Hydroxychloroquine is used to treat malaria, and its effectiveness on Covid-19 patients is widely being speculated upon.

“I called Prime Minister Modi of India this morning,” Trump said. “They make large amounts of Hydroxychloroquine. India is giving it a serious consideration...I said I would appreciate if they [India] would release the amounts that we ordered.”

The United States has emerged as the worst sufferer of the coronavirus pandemic, with over 3,12,000 cases, according to an estimate by Johns Hopkins University.

The Indian government had on March 26 put on hold the export of hydroxychloroquine. The Centre banned the supply to ensure that enough stock of the drug was available in the market.

The Indian Council of Medical Research has authorised physicians to use the malaria drug as a potential preventive measure for Covid-19, only for asymptomatic healthcare workers who are involved in the treatment of suspected or confirmed patients of Covid-19, and household contacts who are looking after people who tested positive. The medical body, however, warned that the measure must not instil a “sense of false security” and urged all individuals to continue taking all preventive measures and practice social distancing to avoid getting infected.

India has 3,374 confirmed cases of the coronavirus as of the morning of April 5, according to the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. As many as 77 people have died.

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