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KU doctors say malaria drug benefits for coronavirus unclear

Doctors are using drug at KU
New York reports first coronavirus-related death in state
Posted at 7:38 PM, Mar 23, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-24 11:15:37-04

KANSAS CITY, Kan. — Doctors at the University of Kansas Health System say the impact of a drug called hydroxychloroquine, or chloroquine, on the coronavirus is unclear.

Doctors Steve Stites and Dana Hawkinson said they are using the drug at KU to treat patients in some instances.

President Donald Trump has lauded the potential of the drug commonly used to treat malaria in combination with azithromycin, also known as a Z-Pak.

Trump also spoke about a man who was near death and said goodbye to his family before being treated with the drug.

According to the New York Post, the Florida man is now recovering.

However, the KU doctors said there isn't a clear benefit despite anecdotal evidence and a very small published study. The drug also is not FDA-approved.

The doctors said a KU multi-disciplinary group is working on therapeutics to help shorten the course of the COVID-19 illness and make it less severe.

However, according to the Daily Wire, other doctors, medical professionals and scientists have called for chloroquine's wider use.

But the KU doctors also said other physicians who regularly prescribe the drug have warned against side effects and dosage issues.

According to CNN, Nigeria also has reported three overdoses of the drug.

The Arizona Republic also reported a man died and his wife is in critical condition after the couple self-medicated with chloroquine phosphate, an additive commonly used to clean fish tanks.