As researchers and doctors around the world scramble to develop a vaccine, cure or treatment for Covid-19, people are barely hanging on to the edge of a precipice by their fingernails.
In such a moment, US President Donald Trump is touting two malaria drugs – chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine – as game-changers in the fight against Covid-19.
Following Trump's advice, an Arizona man and his wife drank fish tank cleaner – as its name carried the word "chloroquine" – to protect themselves from coronavirus.
The result was that the man died and his wife was hospitalised, NBC News reports.
Covid-19 has thus far infected more than a million people worldwide and killed more than 70,000.
So the question on everyone's mind now is: When will a coronavirus cure be ready?
The Chinese authority, last month described the Avigan tablet, an influenza medicine developed by a group firm of Fujifilm Holdings, as very safe and clearly effective.
Fujifilm on March 31 announced the start of phase-three clinical trials of Avigan and committed to increasing its production.
Now, as several companies like Fujifilm are trying to develop a coronavirus vaccine, the finish line is around at least 12 to 18 months away, Clinical Geneticist Professor Gareth Baynam says.
The phase-three clinical trials are, "a randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled study of thousands of people," to evaluate safety and efficacy of the medicine which can take up to four years.
After a successful third phase, comes the regulatory review when the government "approves new vaccines, reviews the trial data and other information," Baynam says.
The World Health Organization (WHO), however, plans to find a cure earlier than the predicted time frame.
The WHO recently launched Solidarity – an international trial to help find an effective treatment for Covid-19. More than 70 countries confirmed their participation in the trial while some others are joining it.
The trial will compare treatment options – of: remdesivir, lopinavir-ritonavir, interferon-beta-1a, chloroquine, and hydroxychloroquine – against standard of care to assess their effectiveness against Covid-19, the WHO says.
Except for these drugs, the Solidarity trial will add other drugs based on emerging evidence.
Could Solidarity trial treatments be the answer?
Remdesivir was successful in treating Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (Mers-CoV) and Sars which are also caused by coronaviruses. Remdesivir was previously tested as an Ebola treatment as well.
Licenced for HIV treatment, lopinavir–ritonavir's effectiveness in coronavirus treatment – including Mers-CoV and Sars – is yet to be proven. While some studies showed that this combination could be an effective treatment for Covid-19 patients, the WHO considers the studies inconclusive.
Prescribed for malaria and rheumatology conditions, chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine could be effective in the fight against pneumonia caused by Covid-19, showed some studies in France and China.
And interferon-beta-1a is used to treat multiple sclerosis.
Meanwhile, the WHO has cautioned physicians and medical associations from recommending or administering these unproven treatments to Covid-19 patients or as self-medication.
However, the WHO claims that, "while randomised clinical trials normally take years to design and conduct," the Solidarity trial will cut the time by 80 percent.
However, it is not just the WHO or Fujifilm that have joined the race to find a Covid-19 cure. About 35 companies and academic institutions are racing to create such a vaccine, the Guardian reports.
Among them is a collaborative study led by the Monash University's Biomedicine Discovery Institute. The institute's study found that ivermectin – a traditional treatment for head lice, scabies, river blindness, threadworm, and whipworm – could be an effective treatment for Covid-19.
The study says that ivermectin reduced Covid-19 viral RNA, present in the cell culture, by 99.8 percent within 48 hours and led to the loss of "essentially all viral material."
Following the findings of the Melbourne-based University, and the Arizona death, Australia cautioned its people from rushing out to pharmacies or supermarkets to buy lice treatments.
Dr Daniel Brooks, medical director of the Banner Poison and Drug Information Center, said: "Given the uncertainty around Covid-19, we understand that people are trying to find new ways to prevent or treat this virus, but self-medicating is not the way to do so."
The Arizona woman who lost her husband has now warned others to listen to medical professionals for the best coronavirus advice. "Be careful and call your doctor," she said.