Malaria Treatment Drug works Against Wuhan Virus in Lab Setting
An old malaria and autoimmune drug is showing promise as a potential treatment for COVID-19 – although health officials are urging caution until clinical trials are done.
The drug, hydroxychloroquine, sold under the brand name Plaquenil, was reported March 9 in Clinical Infectious Diseases journal to be effective at killing the virus in laboratory experiments. In a letter in Cell Discovery Wednesday, the study’s authors, mainly from the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Wuhan, wrote, “(W)e predict that the drug has a good potential to combat the disease.”
Repurposing established drugs like Plaquenil — which was approved in 1955 — may be a quick, safe and economical way to attack emerging illnesses. In this vein, specialists have adapted long-standing leprosy and alcoholism drugs, for example, for patients suffering another global epidemic: Lyme disease.