The Coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic is ravaging many continents across the world. Comparatively Africa has recorded less cases and incidence of death. The Director of the World Health Organization (WHO), Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, has however warned African countries to take the necessary precautions while there is still time as the pandemic could hit the continent harder.
But while African countries are finding the best ways to contain the Covid-19, fake news seems to be getting in the way of the response to the pandemic. Viral and sensational headlines amidst misleading figures from unknown sources are on the rise.
One such viral message is that chloroquine has been approved as cure for COVID 19. The fact-checking team at the Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA) subjected this to critical scrutiny and verification and concludes this message is misleading.
Tweets such as above circulated the internet after the President of the United States, Donald Trump, touted Chloroquine as an effective treatment for Covid-19.
“It’s been around for a long time, so we know if things don’t go as planned it’s not going to kill anybody…It’s shown very, very encouraging early results, and we’re going to be able to make that drug available almost immediately,” President Trump had said during one of his addresses at the White House.
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Soon after this statement, reports emerged from Nigeria indicating that many have received Trump’s message with some kind of excitement and were ready to self-medicate should they experience any of the symptoms of Covid-19. This has led to the abuse of the drug resulting in chloroquine poisoning.
FACT: The WHO has not yet approved chloroquine to treat COVID-19. A March 20 report on its website indicate that it is currently organizing a ‘Solidarity Trial’ to test four different drugs or its combinations to see its efficacy. Chloroquine happens to be one of those drugs. It writes:
“The Solidarity trial will test four different drugs or combinations – remdesivir, a combination of two drugs, lopinavir and ritonavir, the two drugs plus interferon beta, and chloroquine – and will compare their effectiveness to what is called standard of care — the regular support hospitals treating COVID-19 patients use now.”
Dr. Stephen Hahn, commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the United States have warned the public against using any form of chloroquine not approved by a medical expert.
“The chloroquine phosphate used for treating aquarium fish is not the same as the FDA-approved chloroquine being studied as a possible treatment for #COVID19. Do not take any form of chloroquine unless prescribed to you by a health care provider & obtained from legitimate sources.”
While you are here, check out the latest statistics on Covid-19 in Africa below: