Arizona man dies after taking chloroquine for coronavirus

U.S. President Donald Trump has been enthusiastic about the potential of the malaria drugs chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine in treating the disease. However, the drug can be lethal in doses that exceed the doctor's guidance, and a couple from the Phoenix area subsequently self-medicated with a form of chloroquine used to clean aquariums, citing the President's information on the matter as the cause of their decision.

Around 20 minutes after taking the drug the couple felt "dizzy and hot", and she started vomiting.

"I saw it sitting on the back shelf and thought, 'Hey, isn't that the stuff they're talking about on TV?'" the woman, who didn't want to be named, told NBC News.

The woman who asked to remain anonymous told NBC News that she recognized the name of the drug because she'd used it previously to treat her koi fish.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has already approved chloroquine phosphate as treatment for other conditions and is now testing whether it should be used for COVID-19.

Right after that press briefing, the FDA issued a statement clarifying that although the drugs are under investigation for treating COVID-19, they should not be used for that goal until they've been thoroughly tested in clinical trials. During normal times it's not a good idea, but during a global pandemic, when people are scared and might try to self-medicate, it can be deadly.

Trump has called chloroquine and the closely related hydroxychloroquine potentially important in the fight against Covid-19.

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As of 1700 GMT on Friday, more than 5,300 people have died around the world and more than 140,000 infected. Zhao has taken to Twitter in the past to angrily counter global criticism of China's handling of Uighurs.

Some of the ones used to treat the disease include experimental antiviral drug remdesivir, which was originally developed to combat Ebola, a HIV-drug combination, malaria drug chloroquine and antiviral drug favipiravir, which China has approved for use for Covid-19.

Trump also shared an article with his millions of followers from the New York Post about a man with a confirmed case of COVID-19 claiming hydroxychloroquine "cured him".

The study Trump refers to comes from Marseille, France, in which 30 patients were treated with hydroxychloroquine for 10 days combined with azithromycin, an antibiotic.

Last week Mr Trump said chloroquine "may work, may not work" but that he "felt good" about it and the United States government has ordered "millions of units" of the drug. "I.have said I'm not disagreeing with the fact anecdotally they might work, but my job is to prove definitively from a scientific standpoint that they do work", Fauci, who serves on the White House coronavirus task force, said.

In a tweet on Friday, the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control and Prevention similarly urged the public not to take chloroquine for COVID-19 as it has not been approved after people were poisoned, according to officials in Lagos.

Banner Health advised medicos not to prescribe chloroquine to patients who aren't hospitalised.

  • Ismael Montgomery