Former US president Donald Trump Credit: File image

New Delhi: Just a day after the “retaliation” threat made by US President Donald Trump, he told Sean Hannity of Fox News on Monday night that after speaking with PM Narendra Modi (“He was Great. He was really good”), a sizeable chunk of the 29 million doses of hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) was brought to the US.

Hydroxychloroquine, which is an old and inexpensive drug that is used to treat malaria, is now seen as a viable therapeutic solution by Trump to coronavirus. The drug is known to tame the overactive immune system and has been on the use since the 1940s to prevent and treat malaria and to treat rheumatoid arthritis and lupus. It’s sold in generic form and under the brand name Plaquenil in the United States. Doctors also can prescribe it off label for other purposes, as many are doing now for COVID-19.

India, which manufactures 70% of the world’s supply of HCQ, banned the export fearing the reduction of stocks which might be needed to treat the second most populous country of the world if need and case of the pandemic arise. But after a comprehensive assessment of the availability of medicines for all possible scenarios, the Union government had largely lifted the restrictions in export.

By Tuesday night, a total of four lakh Americans tested positive for COVID-19 and fatalities were more than 12,850. “I bought millions of doses (or hydroxychloroquine). More than 29 million. I spoke to Prime Minister Modi, a lot of it (hydroxychloroquine) comes out of India. I asked him if he would release it? He was Great. He was really good,” said Trump in a telephone interview with Hannity on Fox News.

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