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‘I may take it’: Trump urges India to lift ban on export of anti-malaria drug questionably touted as Covid-19 cure

Touting the anti-malaria drug hydroxychloroquine as a potential cure for Covid-19 and saying he would take it himself despite the risks, US President Donald Trump has urged PM Narendra Modi to lift a ban on its exports from India.

The federal government already accumulated some 29 million doses of hydroxychloroquine in its national stockpiles, and is seeking to acquire more, even though the drug's effectiveness against Covid-19 is still being tested and remains questionable.

“After a call today with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, India is giving serious consideration to releasing the hold it put on a US order for hydroxychloroquine,” US President Trump announced at the White House coronavirus task force briefing.

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Drawing fresh criticism of irresponsibility for promoting an untested and potentially even dangerous treatment, passionately optimistic Trump insisted that Covid-19 patients must have a choice.

What do you have to lose? Take it. I really think they should take it… try it, if you'd like.

“I may take it,” added Trump, who had previously tested negative for the coronavirus twice. He immediately clarified, however, that he will “have to ask my doctors about that” first.

Here is Trump giving potentially deadly medical advice in bizarre, hushed tones pic.twitter.com/acOCdJ9I9M

— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) April 4, 2020

It is not the first time that various drugs usually used to treat malaria receive high-profile promotions as a potential “game changer” against the coronavirus infection by everyone from US President Donald Trump and the US Department of Health to Russian medical specialists. The resulting panic-buying and shortages for those who use them to treat other conditions, including lupus and rheumatoid arthritis, forced the Indian government to halt the exports of hydroxychloroquine last month, with no end date in sight.

The drugs, which suppress the immune system, are seen as potentially helpful against Covid-19 because the virus over-stimulates immune response which can cause organ failure. Yet, they appear to be ineffective against the virus itself.

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A policeman stands guard next to barricades during 21-day nationwide lockdown to limit the spreading of coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in New Delhi, India, March 25, 2020. © REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui
India BANS export of anti-malaria drug touted by Trump as potential Covid-19 cure

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