Turkey’s Science Board is examining the possible effects of hydroxychloroquine on COVID-19 patients in the face of claims that the drug may cause some complications, Professor Ahmet Demircan, a member of the board, has said.
“This is a new disease and when the outbreak began, hydroxychloroquine was the only drug available. It has been long used in malaria treatment. Assertions against this particular drug have not yet been scientifically substantiated. It is too early to draw conclusions as more scientific research is needed,” according to Demircan, who is also the rector of Gazi University in Ankara.
He noted that there is a possibility that hydroxychloroquine may cause cardiac arrhythmia. “If it is used together with antibiotics, the drug’s side effect on heart may amplify, which is what we already knew. That is why we closely observe the patients who are administered those together,” he added.
The country’s Science Board is assessing the effects of hydroxychloroquine, according to Demircan.
The science body is collecting data regarding the drug’s side effects from the World Health Organization (WHO) as well as across Turkey, he said.
“We will have a clearer picture after the examination of those data. Depending on the findings, we will either recommend the use of the drug in fewer doses or replace it with alternative drugs,” Demircan said.
He also said that the Health Ministry will start to run antibody tests on different professions, including health care workers and professions at risk.