Chloroquine treatment in early stages of Covid-19 gives promising results, according to the Director General of the National Agency for Food & Drug Administration & Control (NAFDAC), Prof. Christianah Mojisola Adeyeye.
What this means is that, individuals who presents with the infection in there early stages, if given the chloroquine treatment in the appropriate dose & duration, the drug would prevent the disease from progressing to advance stages & having possible complications of the disease.
What is Chloroquine?
Chloroquine is an antimalarial drug, that is produced from quinine (from the bark of the cinchona tree). It can also be used to treat Systemic Lupus Erythematosus and Rheumatoid arthritis.
How would It Help treat COVID-19 Patients?
Initially, back in March 2020, when Chloroquine was touted as a potential cure for Covid-19, researchers believed that the drug might reduce how long the symptoms of COVID-19 would last as well as the time when people with the disease remain contagious.
Chloroquine had initially showed promises in various laboratory tests, where the drug as well as redemsivir successfully killed the virus, but at the moment, we do not know If it kills the virus in the human body. What we do know, is that people who were treated with chloroquine in the early stages of the infection with Covid-19 had better recovery rates.
Note this that Chloroquine does not prevent you from Contracting the disease, hence, you should not go and start taking Chloroquine as a form of prevention if you do not have the disease. Just like other drugs, Chloroquine also has its own toxic and side effects.
What do we mean by Early Stages?
The novel Covid-19 is a new strain of the family of coronaviruses, and hence, not much was know of the disease at the initial period. It has now been understood that the infection by the Covid-19 virus occurs in 4 distinct stages which are;
- Pre-exposure stage: At this point, the individual would have no symptoms, just like every other person.
- Early Stage: during this stage, the individual would be showing mild to moderate symptoms of the disease like; Fever or chills, Cough, Fatigue, Muscle or body aches, Headache, loss of taste or smell, Sore throat, Congestion or runny nose, Nausea or vomiting, Diarrhea.
- Severe Stage: individuals in this stage would show more life threatening symptoms such as; shortness of breath or struggling to breathe, confusion, unable to wake up or remain awake, Persistent pain or pressure in the chest, dark discoloration of the lips or face.
- Post infection stage: At this stage, the individual has recovered from the disease.
What Stage is Chloroquine Effective?
Chloroquine is more effective when given at the 2nd stage (early stage) of the disease, where the person is still having mild to moderate symptoms.
In the Individuals who received it, the drug would prevent the disease from progressing to the severe stage.
There are other drugs that are also effective at other stages of the disease, according to the NAFDAC DG.
Side Effects of Chloroquine
Like we mentioned earlier, Chloroquine has a lot of side effects, and hence, you should not take the drug if you do not have the disease, and when you do, it should be taken under supervision from a doctor.
Chloroquine can cause unwanted effects like; headache, stomach upset, stomach pain, poor appetite, hair loss, itching or skin rash.
Other serious effects of chloroquine are; ear & eye problems like blurred vision, trouble heating or seeing, muscle weakness, convulsions, heart & breathing problems, drowsiness & vomiting.
It can also cause you infections by suppressing the immune system (soldiers of the body).