Kenyan health officials have announced the experimental use of the anti-malarial drug hydroxychloroquine in tandem with the antibiotic azithromycin to treat COVID-19 in the country.
Director General of the Ministry of Health, Patrick Amoth, said the combination of drugs was being used on a trial-basis to treat a novel coronavirus patient currently being held in the intensive care unit of Aga Khan Hospital in the capital Nairobi.
Amoth stressed to reporters that the drugs were not to be thought of as a proven cure for the virus, but rather as an experimental course of treatment to explore further.
The pairing of drugs garnered widespread attention after US President Donald Trump tweeted about them on March 21, asserting that “hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin, taken together, have a real chance to be one of the biggest game changers in the history of medicine,” in an apparent reference to the COVID-19 pandemic.
HYDROXYCHLOROQUINE & AZITHROMYCIN, taken together, have a real chance to be one of the biggest game changers in the history of medicine. The FDA has moved mountains – Thank You! Hopefully they will BOTH (H works better with A, International Journal of Antimicrobial Agents)…..
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 21, 2020
The drug combination remains an unproven method to treat the virus but one that is continuing to be researched in China, France, Kenya and elsewhere.