US to introduce malaria and HIV meds as Covid-19 treatment

US to introduce malaria and HIV meds as Covid-19 treatment

US President Donald Trump says he is slashing red tape in order to get potential treatments for Covid-19 in the hands of patients.

Trump says an existing treatment for malaria called Chloroquine and its derivative Hydroxychloroquine, and an experimental HIV medicine Remdesivir, could soon be available for patients suffering from the coronavirus to try.

The President says new research shows they may hold unique promise as potentially effective treatments for Covid-19.

"Today I want to share with you exciting progress that the FDA is making with the private sector as we slash red tape like nobody has ever done it before," said Trump.

"I've directed the FDA to eliminate outdated rules and bureaucracy so this work can proceed rapidly, quicklyand, I mean, fast. And we have to remove every barrier."

However, this plan might not be as easy as Trump hopes.

According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) commissioner Stephen Hahn treatments will still have to go through existing protocols before they can be made available to Covid-19 patients.

Remdesivir is still being tested on patients in clinical trials in the US and China, while Hydroxychloroquine has not even begun clinical trials which typically take a number of years to complete.

Trump has also signed a new bill, called the Family First bill, which provides paid sick leave and paid medical leave for those affected by Covid-19.

Further, US Vice President Mike Pence has announced that the Government is working on making more ventilators accessible to coronavirus patients.

"We've literally identified tens of thousands of ventilators that can be converted to treat patients," says VP Pence.

"And we remain increasingly confident that we will have the ventilators that we need as the Coronavirus makes its way across America."

Updated 9:52am AEDT on 20 March 2020.

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