Could chloroquine treat coronavirus? 5 questions answered about a promising, problematic and unproven use for an antimalarial drug
After the initial outbreak of MERS in 2012, scientists conducted random screens of thousands of approved drugs to identify one that might block MERS infection. Several drugs, including chloroquine, showed the ability to block coronaviruses from infecting cells in vitro. But these drugs were not extensively pursued because ultimately they did not show enough activity to be considered further.
Should I start taking them to ward off coronavirus?
Absolutely not. Chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine have not been appropriately evaluated in controlled studies, not to mention that they have numerous and, in some cases, very deadly side effects.
No one should take a drug that has not been proven to be safe and effective for a disease or condition for which it is not approved. There are just so many issues that can arise, from side effects to serious toxicity and death due to possible interactions with other medications and other underlying health conditions.
So until these or any drugs have been shown to be effective against SARS-CoV-2 in clinical trials and have been approved by the FDA, no one should be self-medicating.