India bans export of drug touted by Trump as potential coronavirus treatment

India bans export of drug touted by Trump as potential coronavirus treatment
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India has banned the export of a malaria drug touted by President TrumpDonald John TrumpPelosi eyes end of April to bring a fourth coronavirus relief bill to the floor NBA to contribute 1 million surgical masks to NY essential workers Private equity firm with ties to Kushner asks Trump administration to relax rules on loan program: report MORE as a "game changer" in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic.

The country's Director General of Foreign Trade said in a statement Wednesday that exports of hydroxychloroquine and formulations made from it would be immediately prohibited.

However, existing contracts of the drug will still be filled and other countries can make a request for the drug on humanitarian grounds, which will be assessed on a case-by-case basis.

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Hospitals in the U.S. have bought the drug at a rapid pace since Trump last week sung its praises as a possible treatment against COVID-19.

Other areas of the world where the virus is prominent, including Europe, China and South Korea, have also used the drug to treat coronavirus patients, Fortune reports.

However, health officials have warned that there is currently no concrete scientific evidence that the drug actually works against the coronavirus.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and one of the key members of the White House coronavirus task force, has pushed back against Trump's assertions that the drug is a "game changer," saying that more tests and trials need to be run.

A small, controversial study of 40 patients being treated for COVID-19 in France showed that when combined with the antibiotic azithromycin, hydroxychloroquine helped rid the patients of the disease. But health experts have widely disputed the results, criticizing the design of the study.

In the U.S., there are over 60,000 confirmed cases of the virus and more than 800 deaths, according to John Hopkins University.