Pharmaceutical manufacturing company NEW GPC on Wednesday announced that in response to the outbreak of novel coronavirus-2019 (COVID-19), it has ramped up production of chloroquine tablets.
In a press release, the company said that while there was no vaccine for the virus at this time and one was not expected for at least another year, chloroquine is one of the drugs that have been cited as an effective treatment for COVID-19.
The drug, NEW GPC said, has tested favourably in the US, Japan, Italy, France, and other European countries in the front line in battling the pandemic.
“Studies have shown that chloroquine blocks the viral infection by increasing the endosomal pH needed for viral attachment,” the press release said.
The release continued that typical is the report from the Deputy Head of China National Center for Biotechnology Development, Sun Yanrong.
“He said that chloroquine, an anti-malarial medication, was selected after several screening rounds of thousands of existing drugs. The studies evidenced ‘certain curative effect’ with ‘fairly good efficacy’ and patients treated demonstrated a better drop in fever, improvement of lung CT images, and required a shorter time to recover compared to parallel groups. No obvious serious adverse reactions were observed and reported in the more than 100 participants in the trials.”
Chloroquine is a 70-year-old drug, which as mentioned earlier, is used to fight malaria and autoimmune diseases. It is safe to use and relatively cheap. NEW GPC is licensed to manufacture this product and has been doing so for many years. This drug requires a doctor’s prescription.
NEW GPC is the Caribbean’s largest manufacturer of pharmaceuticals. The company has manufactured anti-retrovirals to address the HIV/AIDS pandemic and Tamiflu to treat the outbreak of bird flu. NEW GPC is US FDA approved and is licensed by the Government Analyst-Food and Drug Department.
The company noted that the production of chloroquine by the NEW GPC would give a boost not only to the fight to control the effects of the COVID-19 virus, “but also to give a boost to our local moribund economy. The company has already received its first order from the Caribbean”.
The coronavirus disease (COVID-19), which started in China in late 2019, has now been defined by the World Health Organisation (WHO) as a pandemic. Guyana has already recorded five cases.