Haufiku consults WHO on Trump's 'miracle drug'

Former health minister Bernhard Haufiku says Namibia is not about to jump on the bandwagon of using hydroxychloroquine as a treatment for Covid-19.

30 July 2020 | Health

OGONE TLHAGE

WINDHOEK



Former health minister Bernhard Haufiku has consulted the World Health Organisation on the effectiveness of hydroxychloroquine, a malaria drug that has been touted as a miracle drug in the treatment of Covid-19 by United States president Donald Trump.

This follows a recent claim by Texas-based doctor Stella Immanuel, who said the drug had prevented Covid-19 deaths.

“I have sent a note to some of my contacts at WHO in Geneva this morning (on Tuesday) to hear their view on the video clip (of Immanuel) that went viral on social media,” Haufiku said.

According to The Daily Beast, Immanuel has also claimed in the past that alien DNA is being used in medical treatments.

The publication wrote that she allegedly has a history of making claims that gynaecological problems like cysts and endometriosis could be due to sexual relations with demons and witches in people's dreams.

Immanuel made her claim around hydroxychloroquine while appearing in front of the US Supreme Court in Washington, DC. The video in which she made the claim has since been removed from Facebook, YouTube and Twitter.



Uses

Hydroxychloroquine, an old medication with serious side effects, has been punted as a miracle drug by Trump and Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro.

The use of hydroxychloroquine to treat Covid-19 patients has not been endorsed by the WHO. Trump has insisted that this is because he is championing its use to treat Covid-19.

Speaking during a webinar hosted this week, Haufiku said he neither supported or rejected the claims made by Immanuel.



Solidarity Trial

“All I know is that hydroxychloroquine was part of the WHO list of medications that were undergoing clinical trials in a large study called the Solidarity Trial,” Haufiku said.

“Most of these medicines, including hydroxychloroquine, have been studied as repurposed drugs, meaning the medicines were originally produced for a different illness.”

According to Haufiku, the Solidarity Trial's preliminary reports indicated that hydroxychloroquine was too toxic to patients and therefore it was withdrawn by the WHO on the recommendation of the panel of experts who served as a safety review board for the trial.



Prevention better than cure

“The ministry of health may also have inquired already on the matter and possibly has some information that they may share with the public in this regard, so let us be patient and hear more views from the scientist and experts,” Haufiku said.

“In the meantime, let us continue to do the basics in preventing infection,” he added.

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