Vietnam and the UK are conducting a clinical trial to assess the safety and effectiveness of chloroquine in Covid-19 treatment, the British embassy in Vietnam said in a statement on April 27.
The trial is jointly conducted by Vietnam’s Ministry of Heath, Ho Chi Minh city Hospital for Tropical Diseases and the UK’s Oxford University Clinical Research Unit (OUCRU) in the context that Covid-19 has spread worldwide and it is urgent to find a treatment.
Director of the OUCRU Guy Thwaites said that if this study proves chloroquine is an effective treatment for Covid-19, it can be deployed to treat millions of people around the world at a reasonable cost.
Chloroquine was developed by the Germans in the 1930s. The drug was initially used to treat malaria. According to the Drug Administration under Vietnam’s Ministry of Health, chloroquine is also used to treat other diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis and lupus erythematosus.
British Ambassador to Vietnam Gareth Ward said the Covid-19 treatment with chloroquine could help slow down the global pandemic and reduce treatment time in hospitals.
Nguyen Ngo Quang, deputy director of the Department of Science, Technology and Training, stressed the Vietnam Health Ministry's view that this is the right approach to find new methods and drugs to treat Covid-19.
Some countries, including the US and China, have used chloroquine to treat Covid-19 patients. However, others have also stopped due to its side effects. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has removed the information on their web site about how to prescribe hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine to treat the novel coronavirus.
As of April 29, the UK has recorded 161,145 Covid-19 patients and 21,678 deaths from the disease, while Vietnam’s Covid-19 caseload has stood at 270, with 222 having fully recovered and no deaths reported.