CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC UPDATE: STOP HOARDING CHLOROQUINE

By Akin Ojumu

Based on the misinformation that Chloroquine has been approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Government for the treatment of Coronavirus, Chloroquine has suddenly become an essential commodity scarce to find in pharmacy stores across Nigeria. The moment they heard the fake news, the descendants of Shylock started hoarding Chloroquine in large quantities.

Nothing delights me more than bursting the bubble of the hoard mongers.

There is no clinical evidence that Chloroquine is effective in the prevention, treatment or cure of Coronavirus. What we know about Chloroquine and Coronavirus comes from anecdotal evidence from China suggesting that in certain individuals with COVID-19, the use of chloroquine resulted in the amelioration of their symptoms and a quicker recovery. Likewise, several research studies have shown that Chloroquine has an inhibitory effect on the growth of Coronavirus in vitro i.e. in test tube cell cultures.

The mechanism of action of Chloroquine on Coronavirus is not fully understood. However, numerous research studies have suggested that Chloroquine reduces the acidic environment in which Coronavirus thrives. This reduction in acidity (aka alkalinization) weakens the glycoprotein cell wall (i.e. outer covering) of the Coronavirus. With a weakened cell wall, the Coronavirus is unable to grow and replicate, and thus it dies.

Based on these findings, researchers all over the world initiated human clinical trials to determine the safety and efficacy of Chloroquine in the treatment of Coronavirus. Typically, these clinical trials run for a period between one to two years. And the results won’t be available until after the clinical trials are completed. So, we do not know what those results will indicate at this time. We hope it works, but we do not yet know that it will.

To those who have begun hoarding Chloroquine, you need to stop the greed. The FDA has not approved Chloroquine for the prevention, treatment or cure of Coronavirus. And there is still no known treatment or cure for Coronavirus.

What you must do if you do not want to catch the bug, is to embark on social distancing by; working from home if you can, steering clear of large gatherings and not go out if you don’t have to, avoiding eating or drinking at bars, restaurants, and Mama Put (food courts), staying at home if you are sick.

Furthermore, you must practice good hygiene at all times by; washing your hands with soap for 20 seconds especially after touching any frequently used item or surfaces, avoiding touching your face, coughing or sneezing into a tissue or your cough cup (i.e. inside of your elbow), disinfecting frequently used items and surfaces as much as possible.

Remember, be calm, be informed, be vigilant, be prepared, be safe.

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