BH CORRESPONDENT, Washington/New Delhi: It’s no secret that one of President Donald Trump’s aces in fighting the COVID-19 pandemic in the US is in the use of anti-malaria drugs. In absence of a vaccine, the closest medicine that can help is hydroxychloroquine, the low-cost drug used for curing malaria patients.
And a desperate Trump wanted to get his hands on as much he could from one of the world’s largest manufacturers of it — India.
After sweet talking Prime Minister Narendra Modi into releasing the banned for export by India hydroxychloroquine consignment, Trump took an extra step of suggesting ‘retaliatory measures’ against India if the job was not done. Well, India conceded to the US request and contributed a major chunk of the 29 million doses of hydroxychloroquine bought by the US.
Obviously, a relieved Trump said he acknowledged that Prime Minister Narendra Modi was “great” when he sought his help to allow the sale of the anti-malaria drug to treat the growing number of COVID-19 patients in America.
Trump and Prime Minister Modi spoke over the phone last week where the latter had requested Modi to lift the hold on the American order of hydroxychloroquine, of which India is the major producer.
Hydroxychloroquine has been identified by the US Food and Drug Administration as a possible treatment for the COVID-19 and it is being tested on more than 1,500 coronavirus patients in New York.”I bought millions of doses (of hydroxychloroquine). More than 29 million. I spoke to Prime Minister Modi, a lot of it (hydroxychloroquine) comes out of India. I asked him if he would release it? He was Great.
“He was really good,” Trump told Sean Hannity of the Fox News on Monday night.
“You know they put a stop because they wanted it for India,” Trump said responding to a question on the usage of hydroxychloroquine.
India on Tuesday allowed the export of hydroxychloroquine to the US, which has emerged as the global hotspot of COVID-19.
During the interview, Trump described hydroxychloroquine as a powerful malaria drug.
The drug is being tested on hundreds of coronavirus patients in New York. “But there are a lot of good things coming from that,” Trump said.
“Lot of people are looking at it and saying, you know I don’t hear bad stories, I hear good stories. And I don’t hear anything where it is causing death,” said Trump.