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COVID-19: Public warned against unapproved drugs

Rwanda Food and Drugs Authority (FDA) has warned the general public against taking unapproved drugs for treating COVID-19.

The drugs include Chloroquine, Hydroxychloroquine and Azithromycin which the Authority said were not yet approved for treating COVID-19.


“They are not yet approved for the management of COVID-19 by the competent authorities in Rwanda nor by the World Health Organization (WHO),” a statement released by FDA reads in part.


It explained that research on appropriate treatment and vaccine for COVID-19 are still on-going in some countries.


“You will be informed on updates in due time,” the authority said.

In Rwanda, FDA explained, some of these medicines are used in the treatment of other diseases.

“Therefore, the use of those medicines off-label is prohibited and are only dispensed under medical prescription,” adds the notice.

Pharmacies were requested to adhere to good dispensing practices.

FDA also advised the general public to adhere to the measures put in place by the government of Rwanda to fight the spread of COVID-19.

Who is developing the vaccine?

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation launched the COVID-19 Therapeutics Accelerator for developing therapies and medicine to treat COVID-19 earlier in March.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla joined in and contributed $25 million. The accelerator started with $120 million in seed capital.

Medical and academic institutions are also investing in developing the vaccine. Among them is Moderna US, a biotech based in Cambridge that may be the early frontrunner in getting its test-vaccine to humans.

Prominent institutes such as Oxford University, Imperial College London, Johnson & Johnson in UK and USA, BioNTech in Germany, CanSino Biologics in China and Migal Galilee Research Institute in Israel are involved.

The WHO has also warned countries not to treat Covid-19 patients with unproven medicine amid the scramble to find the cure.

“We need global coordination for the development of a COVID19 vaccine. WHO stands ready to convene a scientific advisory mechanism of the highest quality to drive this forward,” said WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom on Twitter.

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