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Novartis to donate 130m doses of chloroquine to fight coronavirus

Novartis to donate 130m doses of chloroquine to fight coronavirus
March 21
17:45 2020

Novartis, a Swiss multinational pharmaceutical company, says it will donate 130 million doses of hydroxychloroquine, a malaria drug, to fight coronavirus.

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In a statement, the company said the effort is subject to approval by regulatory bodies, including the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

This development is coming a few days after US President Donald Trump said the malaria drug has been approved for use against coronavirus — a claim refuted by the FDA.

There is an ongoing 1,500-person trial, led by the University of Minnesota, US, to see whether hydroxychloroquine can prevent or reduce the severity of coronavirus symptoms.

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Chloroquine is also used to treat lupus and rheumatoid arthritis at Novartis’ Sandoz unit in the US.

“Novartis is supporting ongoing clinical trial efforts, and will evaluate needs for additional clinical trials,” the statement read.

The company said it has 50 million doses in store, and that it hopes to produce another 80 million by the end of May for donation.

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Other companies producing malaria drugs have donated doses of their drugs for potential use against coronavirus.

Bayer AG has donated three million tablets of the malaria drug Resochin, while Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd said it would donate more than six million doses of hydroxychloroquine sulfate tablets.

TheCable had reported how Nigerians in Lagos and Abuja scrambled for the malaria drug at stores after Trump’s remarks.

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