Scientists around the world are using two drugs to treat coronavirus patients - chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine. But whereas these drugs may be successful in treating Covid-19, it impacts heavily on heart related problems.
A preliminary study out of Brazil on the use of chloroquine diphosophate to treat patients with Covid-19 symptoms ended early after several patients died and researchers found that a high dose of the drug was associated with a severe type of arrhythmia, or irregular heartbeat, reports CNN.
Currently, there is no treatment for Covid-19 approved by the US Food and Drug Administration -- but the agency has issued an emergency use authorization for chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine to treat patients hospitalized with Covid-19.
World Health Organization officials also said on Monday that they are "eagerly awaiting" the outcomes of studies evaluating the use of chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine as possible Covid-19 treatment options, but until then they cannot ban these drugs on this dire moment of crisis.
The researchers wrote in their trial that while the chloroquine drug has been safely used for more than 70 years for malaria, using it at high dosages to treat Covid-19 "might be toxic" and they called for more research into the drug.
After the trial of Brazil, hospitals in Sweden have been cautioned against using the drugs for Covid-19 and American cardiology groups have urged doctors to be aware of "potential serious implications" when used for people with existing cardiovascular disease.