Sanofi to donate potential coronavirus treatment drug to 50 countries for testing

100 million Hydroxychloroquine doses will be given to 50 countries

PARIS — Pharmaceutical giant Sanofi says it is donating 100 million doses of a malaria drug being tested for use as a treatment against the new coronavirus.

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In a statement Friday, the company said the hydroxychloroquine doses will be given to 50 countries. The company said it also is ramping up production, aiming to quadruple is capacity to manufacture the drug.

Sanofi said it “will continue to donate the medicine to governments and hospital institutions if ongoing clinical studies demonstrate its efficacy and safety in COVID-19 patients.”

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But the company also cautioned that hydroxychloroquine has “several serious known side effects” and tests are so far inconclusive over its safety and efficacy in treating COVID-19.

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It said that “while hydroxychloroquine is generating a lot of hope for patients around the world, it should be remembered that there are no results from ongoing studies, and the results may be positive or negative.”

United States President Donald Trump has been among the drug’s proponents, tweeting that hydroxychloroquine plus an antibiotic could be “one of the biggest game changers in the history of medicine” and should “be put in use immediately.”

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