IAS Gyan

Daily News Analysis


15th January, 2024 Health


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Picture Courtesy: www.cidrap.umn.edu

Context: During the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, hydroxychloroquine, an antimalarial drug, was touted as a potential "miracle cure" by some, including former US President Donald Trump. This led to a surge in its use and hoarding globally.


Initial Hype and Concerns

  • Hydroxychloroquine, an antimalarial drug, gained attention as a potential treatment for COVID-19, with some considering it a "miracle cure."
  • Former US President Donald Trump and other world leaders promoted the drug, leading to a surge in global sales and hoarding.

Research and Warnings

  • The World Health Organization (WHO) conducted trials on hydroxychloroquine but found no clinical improvements in COVID-19 patients, leading to a recommendation against its use.
  • The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) also warned against the use of hydroxychloroquine, and the WHO discontinued its trials.

New Study Linking Hydroxychloroquine to Deaths

  • A recent study, published in the journal Biomedicine & Pharmacotherapy, suggests a possible link between hydroxychloroquine and 17,000 deaths.
  • The researchers caution against repurposing drugs in a panic and highlight the need for better evidence-based approaches during a pandemic.

Safety of Hydroxychloroquine

  • Hydroxychloroquine is generally considered safe, but the risk and effects may vary when given preventively to a large number of healthy people.
  • The drug was initially administered to suppress cytokine storms, an overreaction of the immune system in COVID-19 patients.

Previous Concerns and Studies

  • Earlier studies showed patients treated with hydroxychloroquine were more likely to experience irregular heart rhythms.
  • A 2020 study published in The Lancet raised concerns about the drug's safety, but it was later retracted due to inconsistencies in the data.


●It is a medication used to prevent and treat malaria, a mosquito-borne illness. It also has applications in treating certain autoimmune diseases like lupus and rheumatoid arthritis.

● It is a synthetic derivative of chloroquine, another antimalarial drug. It works by interfering with the parasite's life cycle within the red blood cells. In autoimmune diseases, it suppresses the overactive immune system, reducing inflammation and pain.

● It helps manage symptoms like skin rashes, joint pain, and fatigue in lupus. It can relieve joint pain, swelling, and stiffness associated with rheumatoid arthritis.

Must Read Articles:

COVID variant BA.2.86: https://www.iasgyan.in/daily-current-affairs/covid-variant-ba286

MALARIA: https://www.iasgyan.in/daily-current-affairs/malaria-2


Q. What is Hydroxychloroquine primarily used to treat?

A. Diabetes

B. Malaria

C. Hypertension

D. Influenza


Answer: B


Hydroxychloroquine is an antimalarial drug used to treat and prevent malaria. While it has been studied for other conditions, its primary indication is malaria treatment.