India Allows Export Of Anti-malaria Drug To Treat Covid-19 After US Urges

The Government of India has temporarily lifted the ban on the export of anti-malarial drug hydroxychloroquine, which is touted as effective in the treatment of the coronavirus.

It comes a day after US President Donald Trump warned of retaliation if India does not release the medicine.

Trump spoke to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday seeking supplies.

“I spoke to him [Modi] Sunday morning, called him, and I said we’d appreciate your allowing our supply to come out. If he doesn’t allow it to come out, that would be OK, but of course, there may be retaliation. Why wouldn’t there be?” Trump told reporters during a press briefing at the White House on Monday.

“It has been decided that India would licence paracetamol and HCQ in appropriate quantities to all our neighboring countries who are dependent on our capabilities,” said Indian foreign ministry spokesman Anurag Srivastava in a statement on Tuesday.

“We will also be supplying these essential drugs to some nations who have been particularly badly affected by the pandemic,” he added.

India’s Commerce Ministry last month had prohibited the export of Hydroxychloroquine and formulations made from it in order to preserve domestic stocks.

The export ban came a day after the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) warned against the experimental usage of hydroxychloroquine for COVID-19.

The United States and some other countries are using Hydroxychloroquine as a life-saving measure against the coronavirus, but there is no conclusive scientific evidence that the tablets can cure the infection from the novel pathogen.

U.S. hospitals are stockpiling Hydroxychloroquine after Trump called the drug a “game changer” in the treatment of the coronavirus.

India is one of the major manufacturers of the medicine.

Hydroxychloroquine is used to prevent and treat acute attacks of malaria. It is a chemotherapeutic agent that acts against erythrocytic forms of malarial parasites.

It is also used to treat discoid or systemic lupus erythematosus and rheumatoid arthritis in patients whose symptoms have not improved with other treatments.

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