More foreign allies embrace anti-malarial drugs touted by Trump for coronavirus

France and Italy are latest to allow doctors to use chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine to treat COVID-19

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Woman takes selfie in front of Eiffel Tower in March 2020
Woman takes selfie in front of Eiffel Tower in March 2020
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Last Updated:
March 30, 2020 - 6:25pm

France and Italy are the latest American allies to approve the use of  the anti-malarial drugs hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine to treat some patients infected with the coronavirus as nations around the world race to combat the pandemic. 

Professor Didier Raoult, a French infectious disease specialist who has been involved in studies of whether certain drugs can successfully treat coronavirus victims, praised the move.

"As part of the health emergency, hydroxychloroquine may be prescribed to treat COVID-19. thanks to @olivierveran for listening," the French medical professional wrote according to a Twitter translation.

In the United States, hydroxychloroquine has long been approved by the Federal Drug Administration to treat malaria and lupus and has recently received emergency approval to treat coronavirus patients in the U.S., as researchers race to find a vaccine.  

In a recent study, patients in France were treated with hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin and many patients saw improvement. 

"In 80 in-patients receiving a combination of hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin we noted a clinical improvement in all but one 86-year-old patient who died, and one 74 year- old patient still in intensive care unit," the abstract states.

That study has come under some criticism for its small size and numerous clinical trials are underway to test the theory in greater detail. In the meantime, Italy told doctors it could use the drugs and have them covered under the country's health plan. Bahrain, Brussels and South Korea are other nations who have recommended or approved use.