Hungary bans export of malaria drug that may cure coronavirus

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Hungary banned the export of a stock of approximately 4.4 tons (4 tonnes) of chloroquine on Wednesday, the active ingredient in several commercially available medicines originally used for the treatment of malaria, but which has so far proven to be effective in reducing the harmful effects of coronavirus, daily Magyar Nemzet writes.

According to information by economics daily Világgazdaság, the compound can yield some 20 million tablets, enough for the treatment of up to 2.2 million people.

The Hungarian National Institute of Pharmacy and Nutrition published the ban on its website, with the following justification:

“With regard to [the fact that] the use of the active compound hydroxychloroquine-sulfate and medicines produced with it could be necessary for curing COVID-19 cases, their export could result in supply disruptions that could hinder the treatment of COVID-19 cases, which is vital for the protection of Hungarian citizens’ health and lives.”

The ban is effective for six months.

Chloroquine is produced in Hungary by Alkaloida Vegyészeti Gyár Zrt, a subsidiary of India’s SUN Pharmaceutical Industrial Ltd. Alkaloida is one of the major global suppliers of chloroquine.

In a study conducted on a limited number of coronavirus patients in Marseilles, France, Dr. Philippe Gautret and his team showed that after administering the drug named Delagil (with chloroquine as its active ingredient), 70 percent of patient became virus-free within six days.

Title image: Doctors take on protective suits before they enter the isolation room at the care unit of the new COVID-19infected patients inside the Koranyi National Institute of Pulmonology in Budapest, Hungary, Wednesday, March 25, 2020. (Zoltan Balogh/MTI via AP)

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