Bahrain and Belgium report their hospitals are successfully treating coronavirus patients with the anti-malaria drug hydroxychloroquine touted by President Trump as a possible breakthrough in the pandemic.
The Kingdom of Bahrain’s Supreme Council of Health chairman said his country was among the first to use the drug and that its impact has been “profound,” according to the Bahrain News Agency.
Dr. Shaikh Mohamed, who leads the National Taskforce for Combating COVID-19, was also quoted by the news agency as saying hydroxychloroquine was administered according to the same regimens as those used in China and South Korea.
The first COVID-19 case in Bahrain was reported on Feb. 21, and hydroxychloroquine was first administered to patients showing virus symptoms on Feb. 26.
Bahrain has 419 deaths as a result of the virus, behind Croatia with 442 deaths worldwide, according to the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Research Center.
Hydroxychloroquine is used to prevent and treat malaria and is administered to patients with rheumatoid arthritis or lupus.
Meanwhile in Europe, another U.S. ally, Brussels, is reporting similar early success with the same drug and is taking steps to ensure its availability for the sickest coronavirus patients.
“Using the limited stocks of these medicines for unnecessary or unjustified preventive treatments jeopardizes the availability of these medicines for patients who need them: chronic patients and hospital patients seriously affected by Covid-19,” Belgium’s Federal Agency for Medicines and Health Products said this week.
Belgium, like the United States, has begun a longer-term clinical trial on the efficacy of using Hydroxychloroquine to treat COVID-19 patients.