Dr. Anant Patil writes on drugs chloroquine, hydroxychloroquine, and azithromycin, all three of which have been under the spotlight now, for their roles in the treatment of COVID-19.
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Chloroquine is a well-established anti-malarial drug with anti-inflammatory action. It is also used in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis and lupus erythematosus. Its anti-viral role came into discussion again recently in the context of COVID-19. The antiviral action of chloroquine is suggested to be because of increase in endosomal pH and interference with the terminal glycosylation of cellular receptors of SARS-CoV. [1,2] In line with the postulated mechanism, results of in-vitro studies suggest role of chloroquine in the control of 2019-nCoV infection. [2,3]
The anti-viral and anti-inflammatory activities of chloroquine make it a promising option for the treatment of COVID-19 pneumonia.  A recently published systematic review also suggests that there is sufficient pre-clinical rationale and evidence on the effectiveness of chloroquine for the treatment of COVID-19 and safety from long-term clinical use in other indications. This justifies the clinical research on chloroquine in COVID-19.