US fast-tracking antimalarials to treat coronavirus

WASHINGTON (HRNW) – The US is fast-tracking antimalarial drugs for use as a treatment against the new coronavirus, President Donald Trump said Thursday, following encouraging early results in France and China.

Chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine have not been given a formal green light in the US to fight the pandemic, but the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said it would work with domestic makers to expand production as it studied their efficacy.

The news came as Senate Republicans unveiled a $1 trillion emergency relief package to combat the economic turmoil caused by the virus — which must now be examined by so-far skeptical Democrats, who want to include direct financial aid to individuals, before a date can be set for a vote.

The two drugs mentioned Thursday are already approved for malaria, lupus and rheumatoid arthritis, and doctors in the US may prescribe any drug they believe is appropriate medically.

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