Is anti-malaria drug effective in fighting the coronavirus?

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MACON, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) –Earlier this week, President Donald Trump said he has been taking an anti-malaria drug, daily for the past week and a half. According to the President, the drug can help stop the spread of COVID-19.

Hydroxychloroquine is an anti-malaria drug used on patients with Rheumatoid arthritis or lupus.

Macon Pharmacist Matthew Frazier, says there are a number of on-going clinical trials to see if the drug is effective in fighting the coronavirus.

“I dont believe they are writing for it right now especially for prophylactic dosing,” said Frazier.

Frazier explains current lab tests show the anti-malaria drug contains anti-viral and anti-inflammatory activity. 

“More anti-viral than anti-inflammatory,” added the pharmacist.

He says that’s why the drug is being looked at under a microscope, because anti-viral medicines are used to treat to viral infections.

Frazier says you can not get Hydroxychloroquine over the counter, and it has to be prescribed by a doctor.

The pharmacist explains that he has patients who take the drug and says they are fine. Frazier says the drug can result in serious side effects in people who have heart problems or those with one or more diseases at the same time.

“Life-threathening arrhythmias, eye problems, and also some G.I issues as well,” said the pharmacist.

Frazier says when in doubt, always refer to your doctor.