Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Uganda has halted the use of hydroxychloroquine as studies to determine the drug’s effectiveness in treating COVID-19 are ongoing.
The drug has been used to treat some positive cases of the disease at some treatment facilities like Entebbe General Hospital. It was used in combination with antibiotics like azithromycin and painkillers where needed. But its use was stopped by the World Health Organisation after it was found to be ineffective in treating both mild and severe forms of the disease.
Lt. Col. Dr Henry Kyobe, an epidemiologist and also the COVID-19 incident manager says that they have also resorted to monitoring all people who test positive for the disease. The new approach will now focus on the use of Vitamin C in combination with zinc and azithromycin to manage cases.
“The he argument behind the hospitalization of patients is to make sure that we monitor them so that they do not slip into severe illness and if they do to make sure we can deal with the cases first,” he said.
Since drug trials into possible COVID-19 treatments begun, only two drugs have shown any kind of promise. Remdesivir which was initially developed for Ebola Virus disease has shown that it can help patients recover faster by reducing their recovery period by four days. The other is dexamethasone which can stop mortality in severe cases.
Another drug that is being tested and has shown promise is a cholesterol-lowering drug Fenofibrate which researchers say helps the body burn carbohydrates, reducing the fat accumulating inside the lung cells and stopping the virus from reproducing.
In May 2020, the health ministry said it would not stop using the drug based on recommendations from elsewhere. According to the ministry of health, despite the promise shown by other treatments, they will not use either Remdesivir or Dexamethasone to manage the disease.
Dr Misaki Wayengera, an epidemiologist and also the head of the COVID-19 Scientific ministerial committee says that none of the countries cases needs any of treatments. “We are carrying out our own studies so that we do not depend on studies elsewhere but also our cases are mild and we do not need the drugs. They are useful in severe cases,” he said.
As of yesterday, Uganda had a total of 1,077 recovered patients.