Despite India banning all exports of hydroxychloroquine, a malaria drug that United States President Donald Trump has repeatedly touted as a “game-changer” in the fight against COVID-19, several world leaders including Trump have reached to Prime Minister Narendra Modi for the supply of the medicine.
US President Donald Trump said he has requested Prime Minister Narendra Modi to supply hydroxychloroquine tablets that can be used to treat COVID-19 patients in his country, which now has the highest number of cases in the world.
"I called Prime Minister Modi of India this morning. They make large amounts of Hydroxychloroquine. India is giving it serious consideration," Trump said at his daily news conference at the White House on Saturday.
With Brazilian President Bolsonaro, PM Modi discussed the global situation in the wake of the pandemic. After PM Modi, Bolsonaro also tweeted in Portuguese about his discussion with the Prime Minister, saying he requested the latter for support in the continuity of the supply of pharmaceutical inputs for the production of hydroxychloroquine.
Neste sábado, em contato com o Primeiro-Ministro da Índia, @narendramodi , solicitei apoio na continuidade do fornecimento de insumos farmacêuticos para a produção da hidroxicloroquina. Não mediremos esforços para salvar vidas. 🇧🇷🤝🇮🇳 pic.twitter.com/v03Bvti40R— Jair M. Bolsonaro (@jairbolsonaro) April 4, 2020
Members of the SAARC bloc and Indonesia and the UAE have requested India to lift the export ban on hydroxychloroquine, as they stare at a shortage of the drug primarily used for rheumatoid arthritis and long-term autoimmune disease lupus. According to reports, several other European countries have also requested India for the supply of hydroxychloroquine.
In the last few days, PM Modi has held a series of telephonic conversations over the COVID-19 pandemic with several world leaders, including Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, UK's Prince Charles, French President Emmanuel Macron and Kuwaiti Prime Minister Sheikh Sabah Al-Khaled Al-Hamad Al-Sabah.
India's Directorate General of Foreign Trade on March 25 banned the export of Hydroxychloroquine but said that certain shipments on humanitarian grounds may be allowed on a case-by-case basis.
Based on some initial results, the Trump administration is banking heavily on using Hydroxychloroquine for the successful treatment of coronavirus. Two days after the US President's tweet, the Indian Council of Medical Research on March 23 recommended that the drug be reserved in India only for healthcare workers, and persons caring for COVID-19 patients in households.
The protocol was then approved by the Drug Controller General of India (DGCI) for restricted use in emergency situations "Hydroxychloroquine is found to be effective against coronavirus in laboratory studies and in-vivo studies. Its use in prophylaxis is derived from the available evidence of benefit as treatment and supported by preclinical data," the DGCI's advisory said.
On March 28, Raman R Gangakhedkar, head of epidemiology and communicable diseases at ICMR, said a reduction in the viral load was observed in patients treated with hydroxychloroquine. He later added that the drug to be given only to doctors and contacts of lab-confirmed COVID-19 cases.
(With PTI inputs)