France bans use of anti-malaria drug hydroxychloroquine for Covid-19

French doctors are no longer allowed to use hydroxychloroquine to treat COVID-19 cases, according to new government rules Wednesday, after two French advisory bodies said the drug could pose serious health risks.

The use of hydroxychloroquine has been banned in France
The use of hydroxychloroquine has been banned in France AFP

Use of the drug, normally a treatment for rheumatoid arthritis and lupus, has proven controversial after some prominent doctors and even US President Donald Trump began backing it during the coronavirus outbreak, despite a lack of sufficient trials on its effectiveness.

Even President Donald Trump said he had just finished taking a two-week course of the drug, a medication he has vigorously promoted as a preventative or curative treatment for the coronavirus, as evidence piles up that the drug may cause more harm than good.

The president defended his decision to take, and talk about, the unproven treatment in the interview, amid Food and Drug Administration warnings against using the drug for COVID-19 outside of hospital settings because of a risk of serious heart problems.

Hydroxychloroquine is an antimalarial drug that is often used to treat lupus and rheumatoid disease. There are no approved treatments for COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus.

Earlier this week, the World Health Organization has said it is suspending trials on the controversial drug. The UN health body said its experts needed to review all available data before proceeding with tests on the drug.

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