The World Health Organization (WHO) has decided to closely monitor the research being carried out in Pakistan to ascertain the efficacy of an anti-malarial drug for treating COVID-19 patients.
Recently, Getz Pharma, Pakistan’s only WHO-approved manufacturing facility, partnered with the University of Health Sciences (UHS) Lahore to support the research projects including the clinical trials of hydroxychloroquine, anti-malarial medicine believed to be effective against COVID-19.
CEO and MD Getz Pharma, Khalid Mahmood, said:
Under this initiative, we are supporting the University of Health Sciences, Lahore, for research that includes clinical trials of the hydroxychloroquine. The virus is mutating as it moves from one population. There is a need to examine the coronavirus in Pakistan more. This initiative would help on all these lines and lead to better results and other initiatives.
A lot of uncertainty has revolved around the effectiveness of hydroxychloroquine. While the US President Donald Trump has been touting hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine to be potent against the disease, a recent clinical trial to determine the effectiveness of chloroquine in Brazil was halted after 11 patients involved in the trial died due to arrhythmia, a complication in which the heart either beats too quickly or too slowly.
Both of these drugs are closely related to each other. However, hydroxychloroquine is the one that has been used widely during the COVID-19 pandemic.
If Getz Pharma and UHS could prove that hydroxychloroquine is indeed effective against the coronavirus, WHO can possibly push the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for emergency approval of the drug.