US regulator approves limited use of malaria drugs for coronavirus

US President Donald Trump earlier touted the two antimalarial drugs chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine as game-changers against coronavirus. (AFP file photo)
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Updated 30 March 2020

US regulator approves limited use of malaria drugs for coronavirus

  • President Donald Trump earlier touted the two antimalarial drugs touted as game-changers

WASHINGTON: A limited emergency-use authorization for two antimalarial drugs touted as game-changers by President Donald Trump has been issued by the US Food and Drug Administration to treat coronavirus patients.
In a statement published Sunday, the US Department of Health and Human Services detailed recent donations of medicine to a national stockpile — including chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine, both being investigated as potential COVID-19 treatments.
It said the FDA had allowed them “to be distributed and prescribed by doctors to hospitalized teen and adult patients with COVID-19, as appropriate, when a clinical trial is not available or feasible.”
Trump said last week that the two drugs could be a “gift from God,” despite scientists warning against the dangers of overhyping unproven treatments.
Many researchers including Anthony Fauci, the United States’ leading infectious disease expert, have urged the public to remain cautious until larger clinical trials validate smaller studies.
Two US medical bodies — the National Institutes of Health and the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority — are currently working to plan such trials.
Some in the scientific community fear Trump’s endorsement of the medicines could create shortages for patients who need them to treat lupus and rheumatoid arthritis, diseases for which they are approved.
The US has more than 140,000 novel coronavirus cases and 2,489 deaths, according to a tracker maintained by Johns Hopkins University.


India says it will ‘peacefully resolve’ border stand-off with China

Updated 9 min 15 sec ago

India says it will ‘peacefully resolve’ border stand-off with China

  • Development follows US President’s mediation in the dispute
  • Stand-off began in the first week of May when a scuffle broke out near Pangong Tso Lake

NEW DELHI: After weeks of a border stand-off between Indian and Chinese soldiers in the Himalayan region of Ladakh, New Delhi on Thursday announced it would resolve the matter diplomatically.

“India is engaged with China to peacefully resolve the matter. At the same time we remain firm in our resolve to ensuring India’s sovereignty and national security,” the Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

The development follows US President Donald Trump’s mediation in the dispute. In a Twitter post on Wednesday, Trump said, “We have informed both India and China that the United States is ready, willing and able to mediate or arbitrate their now raging border dispute.”

The stand-off began when a scuffle broke out near Pangong Tso Lake in the first week of May. According to Indian reports, Chinese troops set up dozens of tents on the Indian side of the Line of Actual Control (LAC).

A few days later, a Chinese patrol was stopped by Indian guards near the Nathula Pass in the Indian state of Sikkim. A troop build-up in the Ladakh and Sikkim areas followed the incidents. Reports suggested that 10,000 Chinese soldiers were sent to the border.

While New Delhi was still blaming China last week for “hindering” Indian patrols at the border, its Foreign Ministry announced on Thursday that “the two sides have established mechanisms both at military and diplomatic levels to resolve situations which may arise in border areas peacefully through dialogue and continue to remain engaged through these channels.”

Foreign policy experts say that in the absence of any concrete information it is difficult to comment on whether any resolution is actually taking place.

“The whole region of Ladakh is undefined, there is no agreed LAC, in some areas they respect each other’s position, and in some areas they don’t, which is the crux of the problem,” Prof. Srikanth Kondapalli, of Jawaharlal Nehru University in New Delhi, told Arab News.

“Geopolitical interests of both countries are at the center of the conflict,” Kondapalli said, “For India Ladakh is linked to its sovereignty. India has so many ongoing projects in that area. For China its ambitious China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) passes not far away from the region and connect to the Gwadar port in Pakistan. Besides, once American troops leave Afghanistan and a new regime takes over Kabul this might have its implications in the region.”

Manoj Kewalramani, of the Bangalore-based think tank The Takshashila Institution, said that from a geopolitical perspective both sides need stability at this time and the current situation on the border is not helping either of them.

“Beijing is facing challenges on many fronts, an economic slowdown, tensions with the US, international anger amid the pandemic, protests in Hong Kong, etc.,” he said. “Likewise, New Delhi’s interests lie in managing the COVID-19 outbreak at home and focusing on reviving the economy.”