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New hope for coronavirus comes from an old drug

Drug has been used on malaria and arthritis.

CLEVELAND — As scientists around the world race to find a coronavirus treatment, there is promise in a new study out of Europe.

Doctors in France recently combined a drug that treats arthritis and malaria with an antibiotic and found coronavirus patients improved within days.

The name of the drug is “hydroxychloroquine” and it is sold under the brand name “Plaquenil.” When it was combined with “azithromycin,” the results were good.

“I think it’s going to be very exciting. I think it could be the game changer and maybe not,” President Trump said Thursday. “It’s a medical war and we have to win this war.”

The President went on to announce that chloroquine has been approved by the FDA to be tested in the United States on the most seriously ill patients.

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Any medications to come from it could be fast-tracked for approval.

FDA Director Dr. Stephen Hahn said the clinical trial could take a year.

“We need the data, we need the information, to make the absolute best decisions for the American people,” Dr. Hahn said. “We need to make sure that this sea of new treatments will get the right drug to the right patient at the right dosage at the right time.”

Closer to home, Dr. Michael Roizen of the Cleveland Clinic said it would be an easy enough drug to distribute.

“It’s a very inexpensive drug, it’s generic, given all the time to persons in Africa during the malaria season as a routine prophylaxis,” Dr. Roizen said.

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