Donald Trump urges PM Modi to release anti-malarial drug to fight COVID-19

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Washington, April 4: US President Donald Trump has said that he has requested Prime Minister Narendra Modi to release the Hydroxychloroquine tablets ordered by the US to treat the growing number of coronavirus patients in the country after India recently banned the drug for exports.

Trump said he spoke to Prime Minister Modi on Saturday morning and made a request to release Hydroxycholoroquine — an old and inexpensive drug used to treat malaria — for the US.

“I called Prime Minister Modi of India this morning. They make large amounts of Hydroxychloroquine. India is giving it a serious consideration,” Trump said at his daily news conference at the White House on Saturday.

India’s Directorate General of Foreign Trade on March 25 banned the export of Hydroxychloroquine but said that certain shipments on humanitarian grounds may be allowed on a case-by-case basis.

With more than three lakh confirmed cases of coronavirus infection and over 8,000 fatalities, the US has emerged as the global epicentre of the deadly coronavirus disease to which there has been no cure. Trump said he would appreciate if India releases the amount of Hydroxychloroquine that the US has ordered.

“And I said I would appreciate if they (India) would release the amounts that we ordered,” he said, without mentioning that quantity of Hydroxychloroquine that has been ordered by US companies from India.

Scientists across the world are racing against time to find either a vaccine or a therapeutic cure to the virus that has so far killed more than 64,000 people and infected 1.2 million in more than 150 countries.

Based on some initial results, the Trump administration is banking heavily on using Hydroxychloroquine for the successful treatment of coronavirus.

Following a quick provisional approval from the US Food and Drug Administration last Saturday, the malaria drug along with a combination of some other drug is being used in the treatment of about 1,500 COVID-19 patients in New York, the epicentre in the US.

According to Trump, the drug is yielding positive results. If successful, he told reporters that it would be a gift from heaven.

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