A Cautious Hope against COVID-19 – Hydroxychloroquine and Chloroquine

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With each passing day the increasing number of people getting infected due to the virus, has led to call for a critical demand of effective, available, and affordable drugs to end the pandemic. Thousands of medical research teams and scientists around the world are looking for medicines that would actually work and cure the patients. Although there has been no specific anti-viral treatment found, the symptoms are treated based on the patient’s clinical condition.

COVID-19 causes severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2, which is posing a serious threat to the global public health. Different types of drugs have been researched globally, some completely new and some existing, such as the ones used to treat HIV and malaria. Since there is no vaccine created to combat the disease, the doctors have been testing drugs that are known to be safe for use, whereas the new remedies are still tested in laboratories, as they are not deemed fit for human tests.

Possible Treatments for the Virus 

A Cautious Hope against COVID-19-Hydroxychloroquine and Chloroquine

While WHO (World Health Organization) has declared an international emergency, the primary concern here is the spread of the virus in the economically poor but globally connected mega-cities of Asia and Africa. As the new virus remains to be unstated, WHO has announced guidelines for cases of detection, management and prevention of further infection during health care, as well as home care facilities for people assumed to be infected with the virus.

The COVID-19 pandemic has spread out of control leading of millions of deaths and infected people around the world. All kinds of treatments have been tried by the medical experts in an effort to stop the disease from spreading further. However two existing drugs that have received attention are Chloroquine (CQ) and Hydroxychloroquine (HCQ). Although there is no clinical data to support their effectiveness against COVID-19, it has been used to treat arthritis and malaria in several countries.

So what exactly are Chloroquine (CQ) and Hydroxychloroquine (HCQ)?

Hydroxychloroquine and Chloroquine  phosphate belong to the class of antimalarial, amebicides drugs. One of the major applications of Hydroxychloroquine and Chloroquine is for the prevention and treatment of malaria. Globally, Ipca and Cadila are among the top manufacturers of these drugs. The US FDA has recently lifted import alerts on its plants, paving the way for the firms to export the drugs to the US. India is among the major manufacturers of the world’s total hydroxychloroquine production and exported worth USD51 million of Hydrochloroquine and Chloroquine and in 2019. China, being the largest manufacturer of APIs, is not producing Hydroxychloroquine because of less cases of malaria.

Global hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine market is expected to grow at a robust pace during the forecast period, with the market size expected to double in 2020. Hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine are commonly available in the market under the brand name Aralen and Plaquenil, respectively. Several other formulations of hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine are also available that are sold under different brand names. Chemically, chloroquine is 7-chloro-4-[[4-(diethylamino)-1-methylbutyl] amino] quinoline phosphate (1:2) and is used for the treatment of various diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, malaria and others.

The global hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine market are driven by the increase in prevalence of COVID-19. In 2019, the market stood at approximately US$ 140 million and is expected to reach $ 285 million in 2020. In the recent light of events, FDA issued an Emergency Use Authorization for the treatment of novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

Furthermore, the tablet is expected to dominate the market due to its cost effectiveness. Among all regions, North America is expected to witness significant growth during the forecast period in the overall hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine market owing to comparatively higher prevalence of COVID-19. Major players operating in the global chloroquine market include Ipca Laboratories Ltd, Zydus Cadila, Novartis AG, Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd., Bayer AG, Rising Pharma Holdings Inc, Abcam plc, Mylan N.V, Abbott and others

Few scientific facts have shown valuable effects of CQ and HCQ in COVID-19 patients, however the data stated are in the initial stages and not conclusive. While a precise antiviral drug against the deadly virus has still not been found, the use of existing drugs are being tested as a possible treatment for patients infected with COVID-19. Given the current insecurity of the situation, further high quality tests are required to explain the need of these medicines in the prevention of the disease.