Taranjit Singh Sandhu, ambassador of India to the United States, announced the news in a Twitter post on April 12, confirming that the “consignment of hydroxychloroquine from India arrived at Newark airport today,” as the country supports its “partners in the fight against COVID-19.”
The arrival of the consignment of hydroxychloroquine comes as CCP deaths in the United States surpassed 2,000 on Friday, the highest daily tally to date, with the largest numbers in and around New York City. Its tally has now overtaken Italy’s with 532,879 confirmed cases and 20,577 deaths attributed to the disease so far.
India, which manufactures 70 percent of the world’s supply of hydroxychloroquine, agreed on April 7 to lift an earlier ban on the export of the drug following a telephone conversation between U.S. President Donald Trump and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Trump had said at a previous press conference that India could face retaliation if it failed to lift the ban and release the 29 million doses of the drug it had ordered for its medical stockpile.
The Economic Times of India reports that India has a production capacity of 40 tonnes of hydroxychloroquine every month, implying 200 million tablets of 200 mg each and noted that as the drug is used for auto-immune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis and lupus, manufacturers have good production capacities that can also be ramped up.
Following their conversation, Trump thanked Modi on Twitter for moving to lift the ban on exports, adding that the decision will “not be forgotten.”
“Extraordinary times require even closer cooperation between friends. Thank you India and the Indian people for the decision on HCQ. Will not be forgotten! Thank you PM Modi for your strong leadership in helping not just India, but humanity, in this fight!” Trump wrote.
Modi later retweeted the President’s words, writing, “fully agree with you President @realDonaldTrump. Times like these bring friends closer. The India-US partnership is stronger than ever. India shall do everything possible to help humanity’s fight against COVID-19. We shall win this together.”
Trump has previously advocated the use of hydroxychloroquine to treat the CCP virus, touting it as a “game changer” in the fight against the disease. It is currently being prescribed by doctors in the United States, France, and Bahrain, while India has recommended it for health care workers.
Despite showing promising results, health officials have warned the public to remain cautious until larger clinical trials validate smaller studies, including Dr. Anthony Fauci, the United States’ leading infectious disease expert and a member of the White House coronavirus task force.
Speaking at a White House news conference on March 20, Fauci said data on the drug so far “was not done in a controlled clinical trial. So you really can’t make any definitive statement about it,” and that only such studies would determine if the drug was truly safe and effective.